Our Intent for English
At SS Peter and Paul, our English curriculum is designed to develop the children’s love of reading, writing and spoken language, in order to prepare them to become competent and confident, lifelong readers for research and pleasure. 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 do this through the delivery of Story Telling Schools, which aims to develop great oral communication skills while mastering the language and ideas they need for their writing. This approach is used for both fiction and non-fiction writing.
We follow Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a complete SSP. Reading delivery through our SSP includes application with decodable books as an essential stage of the teaching sequence. We have invested in Collins Big Cat for Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, fully decodable books matched to our programme progression in Reception and Year 1. These present only words made up of GPCs learned to that point, include tricky words only as they are introduced in the programme, and are used exclusively when children are practising reading and not mixed in with books that are not fully decodable at the child’s level.
The children have three group reading practice sessions each week, focusing on decoding, comprehension and then prosody. They then take home these fully decodable reading books to practise and apply their phonic knowledge and develop these skills.
The children also choose and take home a library book for sharing.
We intend to develop reading for pleasure and encourage the children’s love of reading through many different events throughout the year, such as: Pyjamarama and World Book Day. We also partake in a whole school, whole class reading time during the day. We have text led curriculum which exposes children to different ideas and concepts within the topics we cover.
We aim to ensure that all pupils:
- decode accurately, effectively and efficiently as a result of a secure understanding of phonics principles;
- read fluently and with good understanding;
- develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information;
- acquire a wide range of vocabulary through all areas of the curriculum and develop confidence and fluency in using a wide range of vocabulary in a range of contexts;
- are able to apply their reading skills to learning across the curriculum;
- an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language;
- appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage from authors around the world, reflecting the cultural backgrounds of the community.
Within their written language, we aim that all pupils:
- become confident at speaking, using correct standard English in order to inform their language choice;
- refer to high quality models during the writing process in shared and collaborative work and use these to demonstrate how to strengthen all parts of writing, both in composition and editing;
- equip children to make informed choices about structure, grammar and vocabulary as key features of taught genres, so they apply them successfully and confidently in their own writing;
- write clearly and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.
The development of oracy skills is key to providing a rich learning environment across the curriculum for children of all ages to support them with their development of language and vocabulary. The Storytelling Schools approach allows pupils to communicate effectively through spoken language, using engaging stories which link in with the topics studied.
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.
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.