English has a key place in the education of pupils and we are following the demands of the English National Curriculum. The National Curriculum has enabled us to evaluate our provision and allowed us to be both challenging and creative. Wordsmith is the main driver behind our English curriculum. This approach enables us to engage and motivate children in their literacy learning. It also enables children to deepen their understanding of texts, offers extensive opportunities for speaking and listening and provides a meaningful context for writing whilst following the English programs of study.
At Holy Trinity we believe that literacy holds the key to a successful future, therefore we aim to develop confidence in reading, writing and communication skills. Creating a love for reading and writing is at the heart of our literacy curriculum and we strive to teach lessons that are motivating, fun and inspiring for all pupils. The texts we explore are high quality, rich and exciting and draw on a variety of genres.
At Holy Trinity we believe that the best way to ensure that pupils do well in English is to ensure that they become life-long engaged readers.
Children and staff at Holy trinity are enthusiastic readers and we endeavour to foster a love and passion for reading in our children from the outset. We hold a variety of whole school events throughout the year to encourage and develop the passion for reading.
Reading is a key part of our curriculum and to support our commitment to this all teachers dedicate time daily and weekly to teaching this invaluable skill.
A number of strategies with regards to reading are employed across the school including: Phonics, individual reading, reading for pleasure, guided reading and shared reading.
‘Reading feeds pupils' imagination and opens up a treasure-house of wonder and joy for curious minds’.
National Curriculum 2014
How we teach reading:
There are many different aspects to a comprehensive reading programme; whole class teaching of reading to develop comprehension and inspire writing, guided reading to target specific reading skills and strategies, the teaching of phonics, individual reading to build confidence and independent reading where children can use and apply skills and strategies and make purposeful reading choices.
Guided reading involves the teacher working with a small group of pupils using a text easy enough for pupils to read with the teachers’ skilful support. It offers challenges and opportunities for problem solving, but is easy enough for students to read with some fluency. Guided reading gives pupils the chance to apply the strategies they already know to new text. The goal of guided reading is being able to read a variety of texts with ease and deep understanding.
At Holy Trinity we use Bug Club Comprehension which focuses on developing children’s core comprehension skills, encouraging discussion around a stimulating array of new whole texts.
Shared reading involves the whole class and the teacher reading a text that is beyond the level pupils can read by themselves. It takes place each day in all classes.
Shared reading provides opportunities for the teacher to:
- expand vocabulary
- read fluently, with expression and confidence
- promote pleasure and enjoyment with texts
- demonstrate decoding and comprehension strategies
Reading for Pleasure
The 2014 National Curriculum for English in England emphasises ‘reading for pleasure’ – a move which is very welcome and long overdue. Recent studies (for example, Save the Children, 2014) have shown that those children who choose to read, enjoy reading and read regularly reap the benefits in many areas, not least:
- academically: language acquisition; vocabulary growth; reading proficiency; improved comprehension and understanding; ability to absorb and understand information in all subjects
- socially: gaining an understanding of people, the world, life experiences (and thereby improving relationships and creating connections with the wider world); ability to empathise; sense of humour; ability to interpret situations; making links between content of books and personal life
- areas of health: self-confidence and self-esteem; understanding emotions; develop emotional vocabulary.
Books give us pleasure. They teach us about the world now and in the past. They stimulate our imagination and our emotions.
We place a very high priority on reading for pleasure. Each class has a set of high quality vocabulary rich novels. Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) and Reading for Pleasure takes place in all classes every week.
Reading class novels to children:
We place a very high priority on reading to the children, accessing texts which they are unable to access themselves. Book discussion enables pupils to gain a deeper understanding of more challenging texts as well as developing their vocabulary. There can be few things as powerful as regularly reading to children. It has astonishing benefits for children: comfort and reassurance, confidence and security, relaxation, happiness and fun. Giving children time and full attention when reading to them builds self-esteem, vocabulary and feeds their imagination.
We aim for all pupils to leave us able to write clearly, accurately and coherently. Each half term, children study different genres of writing, considering the different audiences they may be writing for. Teachers skilfully immerse children in these different genres and support them in their planning of their writing. A weekly ‘extended writing’ lesson provides the opportunity to write at length on a regular basis both linked to the topic or with topical tasks that link with other areas of the curriculum. Writing is not, however, solely a focus in literacy lessons, children also have planned opportunities for extended writing in other subjects such as RE, Topic and Science, where, using their skills and understanding of the different styles of writing, they can apply them in context.
Handwriting is rigorously taught throughout the school focusing on pre-cursive letters in EYFS and developing to cursive script.
Speaking and Listening
Through all lessons, not just English lessons, children regularly use and develop their speaking and listening skills in a variety of independent, paired and group activities. We place a huge emphasis on this particularly in the Foundation Stage, where children develop those skills at an accelerated rate.
Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling
Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling (GPS) is taught discreetly and also interwoven into English lessons taught in a meaningful context with opportunities to apply learning across the curriculum.