English at Whytemead
Our Statement of Intent for English
At Whytemead, our English Curriculum reflects our vision; 'Through Curiosity, Collaboration and Determination, we are 'Growing Minds'.
The English curriculum will support and nurture the children's curiosity and push them to be determined to produce their best. It will teach the children the skills and knowledge required to communicate their emotions and assist in their development of individual choice. It will encourage and develop a love of books and reading, it will stimulate their interest. The children will be provided with the tools required to be determined to push themselves, collaborate with others and be ready for the next steps of their learning ladder.
Our English curriculum is centered around ambitious, stimulating, diverse, high quality texts which will support and encourage development in oracy, reading and writing. These carefully chosen texts will provoke discussion, exploration and provide motivation for all.
Reading at Whytemead
Reading is at the centre of all our English teaching at Whytemead. Our school library is well stocked and continually added to. New books are highlighted in whole school assemblies and promoted through our reading club; 'The Bookworms'. Children are encouraged to choose books that they are interested in and will motivate them to develop a love of reading as well as experience a range of genre, setting, culture and style. We offer children the opportunity to read aloud and perform to an audience through our celebration assemblies and school performances.
In EYFS, a foundation for the love of reading is developed through exploration of sharing stories, poems, rhymes and songs. The children listen to, begin to remember these and talk about words, sounds and stories. They are taught to read formally through the Read, Write Inc scheme. This provides a consistent, daily approach to the teaching of phonics. Once the children are confident in all the phonics phases, they move onto our Accelerated Reader scheme. If they are not secure in all phases, they will continue to receive phonics instruction using Read, Write Inc. For this to happen effectively, children are continually monitored and assessed to ensure rigor and impact.
When they are ready, children begin to select and read books from our Accelerated Reader scheme. They have a huge choice within their ZPD range, these have been banded according to maturity of content, vocabulary, structure, challenge and size of text. This banding provides structure to guide the continuing development of reading skills. These books are broad, diverse and aim to encourage a personal love of reading. Teachers monitor children's choices and sign post other books that may be of interest to them or offer an opportunity for the child to step out of their comfort zone and try something new!
Once the children have left the Read Write Inc scheme, the teaching of reading continues to build to ensure consistency. From year 2 to year 6, children have at least 3 dedicated, whole class guided reading lessons a week. These lessons use a range of texts including poetry, plays, non-fiction, stories. Children are given opportunities to discuss language, compare books that they have read, to talk about characters, settings or themes within their reading.
Oracy at Whytemead
At Whytemead, our curriculum reflects the importance of children's spoken language in their development across the whole curriculum. We understand that spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing. Children in EYFS begin to explore and talk about words through the Word of the Day by Vocabulary Ninja. Our English (and other) lessons include discussing new vocabulary and offer children opportunities to hear and use tier 2 and 3 words, addressing misconceptions quickly. Children will learn the skills of debate and use a range of learning opportunities across the curriculum to articulate a point of view and put across their informed argument.
We use drama to help children to develop their speaking and performance skills. They are able to put these to excellent use through performances such as nativity plays and summer productions.
Writing at Whytemead
Our English Core Text and Writing Genre spine ensures progressive coverage across our writing curriculum. The diverse texts provide stimulus for children to be inspired to write.
For children to write well, they need to be immersed in the experience. Our stimulus for this may come from our carefully chosen core texts, real experiences, drama or using non-fiction as a way of gathering information and knowledge before embarking on fiction writing. Where possible, we contextualise the teaching of grammar and punctuation to ensure that it becomes embedded in children's own writing. We use our long term plans to maintain progression and, where necessary, offer stand alone lessons to make sure that curriculum needs are met. Teachers model writing to the children and the intention of the writing opportunity is at the heart of the learning.
We encourage all children to experience the joy of writing so that they are equipped to write in all aspects of their every day lives.
Grammar and Punctuation by Genre
Spelling at Whytemead
In EYFS, spelling is taught through the Read, Write Inc phonics scheme and Vocabulary Ninja 'Word of the Day'.
Once the children are ready to leave the scheme, they learn spelling through the Vocabulary Ninja programme. This is mapped against the National Curriculum. We teach spelling daily, with each week starting a new spelling pattern, statutory words from each year group or revision of previous learning.
The week begins with a push on exposing every child to new vocabulary, linked to the spelling pattern. This may be adjusted, where necessary, for individual children. They will learn through a range of strategies. This may include, but is not limited to sorting words, rhyming words, cloze procedure, exploring adding affixes. They will also learn new words in context. At the end of the week, children will write dictated sentences using the words learnt that week.
Handwriting at Whytemead
Handwriting in EYFS is modelled using non-cursive formations by all staff. Children are taught letter formation during phonics and 'Word of the Day' learning time.
In year 1, handwriting is taught at least 3 times a week, using the graphemes taught. Correct letter formation is key as children will only be taught the cursive style once they are ready and have mastered letter formation.
From year 2, children will be taught the cursive style to join letters in a way that supports fluency, speed and style. Children who mis-form letters will have focused input. All staff will model using a cursive, joined style.
From years 3-6, children are expected to join their writing in all subjects. All staff will model using a cursive, joined style. Children's presentation and handwriting will be monitored and focused interventions used where necessary.