English at High Street Primary Academy
Children begin to 'read' in our nursery provision. We use Letters and Sounds to structure a curriculum rich in language and books. The children are encouraged to join in with familiar stories, rhymes and songs to develop their language and recognition of key words and phrases. Towards the end of their time in nursery, children are introduced to more formal learning of letters and the sounds they make.
This learning continues in the foundation class where children access the Read Write Inc phonics scheme. Initial assessments help us to group the children according to their level of need and they are taught in small groups to learn sounds in a progressive way. Regular assessments then show when children are ready to move groups and learn more complex letter patterns and words.
Read Write Inc continues throughout year one with the expectation that children finish the scheme by the end of year one. At this point the children stop essentially learning to read and begin to read to learn. From Y2 - Y6 the children will experience a wealth and breadth or quality texts within their English lessons and the wider curriculum. We will also encourage the children to read for pleasure and every day at High Street ends with DEAR time: Drop Everything and Read. High quality guided reading lessons (ERIC - Everyone Reading in Class) support children in engaging with texts, and we teach our pupils to ask and answer questions about their reading as well as decide what their reading preferences are.
We have an extensive school library which we use to encourage home reading. Children can use this resource to choose and read texts for pleasure or to support them in learning about a particular topic such as the Vikings.
As with reading, 'writing' starts in our nursery setting. While children's hands are developing (and they are still a little clumsy) we support their development by asking them to use scissors, play dough and toys so that they can get used to gripping pencils and pens when the time comes. Children in nursery are encouraged to make marks in sand and on paper and role play using crayons, pencils and pens.
In foundation, the children begin formalised learning and practise writing letters and then stringing them together to make words, phrases and sentences. We teach cursive writing to help the children to begin joining naturally when the time is right. This approach is supported by the National Dyslexia Association as children learn to spell words using sight cues and learn the 'shape' of words which also supports spelling. When joining their writing, children can write for longer and more neatly.
Throughout the school children write daily for a range of purposes. Children learn to write in different genres and for different purposes. They learn how to write formally and informally and practise their skills for real life purposes. Great writing is celebrated weekly through our 'writer of the week' award which is awarded to one pupil per class in our Friday celebration assembly.
Children at High Street are taught 'oracy' - they are given the opportunity to learn ambitious vocabulary and are encouraged to use them in both speech and writing. Each class has 'talk rules' and use sentence stems to support their development during class discussions and during partner/group talk times. We recognise that the spoken language, and a child's ability to participate fully in a discussion/conversation, is fundamental to support their learning and develop life skills. During each curriculum session we ensure children have set words to learn and understand in order to help them become better mathematicians/historians/scientists. We ask families to support at home by adding oracy elements to our home learning menus.