The teaching of English at Hatchlands Primary School
Developing a love of stories and books, and understanding the purpose of writing for a range of audiences are some of the most important skills we can develop in children.
In Reception, it is vital that we help children to develop a passion for stories and that we encourage children to develop their early writing skills by providing opportunities for this whenever possible. There will be a daily English input for the whole class, along with a variety of opportunities for child-initiated learning. In addition, there will be directed tasks that the children complete alongside one of the adults that will be linked to the input session or the text that the children are currently exploring. We will be encouraging children to read and write in all areas of their Reception learning space, including the outdoor area and Forest School.
We will be using the Collins Big Cat reading scheme to enthuse and engage our children in a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction books. We will encourage the children to change their books regularly and will provide adult support with this initially before developing their independence in this area. Reception staff will endeavour to hear the children read as regularly as possible using the Big Cat books during the week so book bags should be in school every day. We believe that parents have an important role to play in this process – sharing books with children, reading to them, talking about books and communicating with their teacher. A reading diary is kept for each child and this is sent home each evening so that parents may record their comments. We have a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books available for children to borrow and they will also have the opportunity to borrow books from our class libraries. Parent volunteers will be welcomed into school to read with children.
The children will be taught phonics through a scheme called Letters & Sounds supported by the use of Jolly Phonics actions and songs to make it a multi-sensory approach to learning. These focused sessions gradually introduce children to letter sounds and help to develop their sight vocabulary. Letters and Sounds is divided into six phases, with each phase building on the skills and knowledge of previous learning. The children will also be taught to read and spell ‘tricky words’ across phases 2-6. When ready, children move on to the Support for Spelling programme where they learn a range of spelling patterns including prefixes and suffixes. Alongside effective use of phonics, children are encouraged to develop fluency and expression when reading as well as demonstrating appropriate comprehension. It is our aim that all children develop into lifelong readers and they receive regular individual or guided reading as well as listening to a rich diet of quality children’s literature.
There will be a strong emphasis on developing writing skills and teachers will model how to structure and organise writing so that it engages the reader. We will use the Talk for Writing approach at Hatchlands School which is designed to enable children to learn a variety of stories in great detail and then retell them through the use of actions and a visual story map. This approach of learning a text by heart and analysing it in detail helps the children to develop a toolkit of what an effective text looks like which then supports them in developing their own versions of each type of story. Providing the children with this clear structure, along with an engaging hook into the learning will give them a great start point for their own writing. Children will be provided with many opportunities to write imaginatively, record information, express themselves clearly and use adventurous and wide-ranging vocabulary. Punctuation and grammar will be taught as an integral part of this process.
Handwriting, and developing the gross and fine motor skills required for this skill will be taught regularly and we will be using the Write Dance scheme in order to support children in developing these skills. In addition, gross and fine motor development activities will permeate throughout the EYFS curriculum and daily sessions of ‘funky fingers’ will enhance the motor skill development of our children.
Key Stage one:
As the children progress into Key Stage one and beyond, reading, writing and speaking & listening will be taught in daily English lessons with an additional daily phonics session.
Teachers will continue to use quality texts and engaging hooks into learning to stimulate and engage children and give them a real purpose for writing. Links will be made with other areas of the curriculum when appropriate such as diary writing in history.
Teachers will regularly mark alongside children giving verbal feedback and the opportunity to respond to marking immediately. In this way children understand what they have done well and what their next steps are.
There will continue to be a strong focus on spoken language both within English lessons and across the curriculum. Children develop speaking and listening skills through drama, group discussions and regular use of talk partners. Talk for Writing will be a whole school approach and this has a heavy emphasis on spoken language and vocabulary development.
All staff will continue to hear children read regularly and the PM benchmark scheme will continue to be utilised. Guided reading sessions will progress from small group sessions into whole class guided reading using the RIC approach (Retrieve: Interpret: Choice).
We will continue to focus on handwriting development and an appropriate scheme will be selected and followed consistently throughout the school.