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English

Our Intent for English

We aim to ignite in our children a deep connection with language and an understanding of the importance of the spoken and written word as essential communication tools.

We intend for our children to become competent and confident, lifelong readers for research and pleasure. Therefore, we teach with passion and enthusiasm that excites, engages and enthuses children with a love for reading.

Reading

At SS Peter and Paul, we aim to give children the knowledge to:

  • decode accurately, effectively and efficiently;
  • comprehend using explicitly taught critical analysis tools and techniques; and
  • develop continuous practice, development, and refinement.

Writing

We aim to:

  • firstly encourage children to become confident at speaking, using correct standard English in order to inform their language choice;
  • model the writing process in shared and collaborative work, demonstrating how to strengthen all parts of writing;
  • equip children to make informed choices about structure, the language, grammar, vocabulary and other features that they need to know for their own writing; and
  • inspire children to take risks and be creative in their writing, beginning to think about their audience and adapting their tone accordingly.

English at SS Peter and Paul

SS Peter and Paul Catholic Primary School follows the Storytelling School's approach. High quality texts and stories are selected to engage and inspire the children. Where possible, learning across the curriculum links to the topics being studied which allows for a broad and balanced curriculum. 

Our English lessons follow a sequence in which the children hear, map, step and speak a story. The children are given opportunities to 'imitate' original stories, 'innovate' by changing aspects of the story and 'invent' their own stories using the writing skills that they develop during their time at SS Peter and Paul School. 

Lessons are planned to ensure that the children can explore and master their knowledge and understanding of the features of narrative writing and the genres of non-fiction. Grammar and punctuation is taught within our Storytelling Approach to ensure the children can relate the skills of grammar and punctuation to their own writing. Children are taught to consider the purpose and audience of their writing. 

We use the Letters and Sounds framework to plan and provide daily engaging and active phonics lessons in EYFS and KS1. In phonics, we teach children that the letters of the alphabet represent a different sound, that these can be used in a variety of ways and are put together to make words. The children learn to recognise all of the different sounds and combinations that they might see when they are reading or writing. Our phonics teaching starts in Nursery and follows a very specific sequence that allows our children to build on their previous phonic knowledge and master specific phonic strategies as they move through school. As a result, children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words that they might discover. The books that children take home from our reading schemes are chosen carefully and match with the children’s phonic ability. Throughout Early Years and KS1, we use books from a variety of schemes such as Oxford Reading Tree, Songbirds, Collins Big Cat Letters and Sounds and Word Sparks.

Here are some helpful resources to help you at this stage:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/grownups/the-alphablocks-guide-to-phonics

https://home.oxfordowl.co.uk/reading/what-is-letters-and-sounds/

As the children’s reading becomes more fluent and automatic, they are better able to make choices about the kinds of books that interest them. It is, however, extremely important that the children are reading books of appropriate level, so that they do not become frustrated or unmotivated. To help them to know what books are most suitably challenging, we use a programme called Accelerated Reader. This programme allows us to monitor and assess children’s independent reading practice. Children take a STAR test. This is a computer- based reading assessment that uses computer-adaptive technology. The questions continually adjust to the child’s responses. From this, the children are given a range in which they should read, to ensure that they are challenged but not frustrated. This is called a ‘ZPD range’. Books that children take home to read independently will all have a book level and this level will fall within the child’s ZPD range. As with everything, performance increases with practice. Research suggests that children should read for at lease 20 minutes a day.

In KS2, we teach Reading through daily whole class Reading Lessons. In these sessions, the emphasis is placed on the importance of dialogue between pupils and the teacher. Careful questioning is used to explore the text and develop the children’s comprehension skills. Children are encouraged to think critically, discuss, debate and explain their opinions. In these sessions, children also have to opportunity to apply the essential skills of: predicting, clarifying, questioning, answering and summarising. The skills for reading are carefully mapped out for each year group and progress throughout the children’s time at SS Peter and Paul.