ENGLISH AT NORTHWAY
English is a core subject and is of vital importance as the medium through which all learning takes place. An ability to read and communicate effectively, both orally and through the written word, is essential if pupils are to fulfil their potential. Language empowers children to communicate and engage with the world around them.
At Northway, we follow the National Curriculum for English. We have planned our English curriculum to teach children to speak, read and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and for a range of purposes. They will be equipped with a range of independent strategies to self-monitor and correct their speaking, reading and writing. Through carefully selected and high-quality texts, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually.
English is organised over a two-year cycle to meet the needs of our mixed age classes. Adaptitive planning and teaching meets the needs of the individual learner and prior learning is built upon. As English is both a subject in its own right and the medium for teaching, we promote fluency in the English language as it is an essential foundation for success in all subjects. Our curriculum develops pupils’ speaking, reading and writing in all subjects to support their acquisition of knowledge and command of vocabulary, as this is key to their learning and progress across the whole curriculum. In addition to discrete learning, pupils are given opportunities to consolidate and reinforce taught literacy skills within English lessons and lessons across the curriculum.
Approach to Reading
Reading is a key life-skill and teaching at Northway is driven by this. In addition to teaching children the skills to become independent and fluent readers, we aim to develop a true love of reading in children.
Children are discretely taught comprehension skills during their English lessons through a variety of high-quality fiction and non-fiction texts selected to engage and inspire. These texts include a range of genres, classic and contemporary authors, traditional stories from a range of cultures, address important ideas and themes and challenge their understanding. These are mapped out across the school and the two-year cycle to ensure coverage and progression.
In order for children to build stamina and develop pace when reading, every child reads independently, every day.
Each day, every child enjoys 'Story Time' where they are read to by an adult. Each year group has 'Treasure Trove' books which have been chosen by staff to really develop a love of stories and inspire them to read for pleasure.
Children are also exposed to a range of texts in other areas of the curriculum which are also linked to non-fiction writing during English lessons.
At Northway, the teaching of phonics and spelling has been designed to help children to become fluent, confident readers and writers as soon as possible.
Early Reading at Northway
At Northway, we use 'Bug Club Phonics'. In EYFS and KS1, children have daily phonics lessons and are taught individual letter sounds to ensure they succeed in early reading and spelling. Children take home a phonetically-decodable reading book to support what they have been taught in school. They also have access to online books and games matched to the sounds that they are learning in class.
In addition to this, children take home a 'Library Book' which they choose themselves. This book is to be shared with an adult and provides a broad and varied range of vocabulary.
Once children become confident readers, they move onto the 'Accelerated Reader' programme. Accelerated Reader is an online resource that helps teachers manage, monitor and improve?children's independent reading practice. The system is research based and proven to show results.
Children take a short Star Reader test three times a year. The level of difficulty adjusts to the children’s answers. After carrying out the test, children are given a ZPD which shows the range of books that children should read. Children then choose books based on their interests within their ZPD range and read at their own pace. After each book, children take a short quiz online. Accelerated Reader gives both children and teachers feedback based on the quiz results, which the teacher then uses to help the child set targets and direct ongoing reading practice.?
- Accelerated Reader is proven to help children become better readers.
- Accelerated Reader encourages children to read more and rewards them for their effort and achievement.
- When children read books at their appropriate level, they experience success and grow in confidence and reading stamina.
- Children can choose their own books to read. This makes reading a much more enjoyable experience as they can choose books that are interesting to them.
Reading to Spelling
In Year 2 and throughout KS2, most children continue to be taught spelling in discrete sessions using Read, Write, Inc Spelling to secure spelling patterns and apply their phonic knowledge. Read Write Inc Spelling supports the curriculum exceptionally well and aims to provide children with an advanced knowledge of spelling which they will apply to their writing. This programme also incorporates the teaching of the National Curriculum word lists. Children who require additional phonic support receive this based on their individual needs.
Understanding What We Read
Across the school, all pupils have 5 lessons of English per week. English lessons are planned using the Reading to Writing journey to ensure children are immersed in high quality texts which challenge their understanding and expose them to a range of high quality writing styles. Within these lessons, pupils are discretely taught the skills of comprehension (understanding) and staff model a range of strategies to develop their fuency, understanding that prosody and automatisity when reading supports children's understanding of a text. Teachers ensure a balance of both reading and writing teaching across English lessons.
Approach to Writing
At Northway Primary School, we believe that teaching children to understand the power of writing is paramount. Because of this, the heart of our approach to writing is the philosophy of promoting a writing culture within the school. We believe that if we equip the children with the correct writing tools, they will be able to use them effectively within a literate world.
Across the school, all pupils have 5 lessons of English per week. Within these lessons, pupils are discretely taught the skills of writing. English lessons are planned using a Reading to Writing journey to ensure children are immersed in high quality texts which challenge their understanding and expose them to a range of high quality writing styles. English lessons include Speaking and Listening opportunities, as this is a vital step in enhancing children’s writing. Children are taught a full range of writing strategies within English lessons and in discrete sessions, including spelling, grammar, sentence structure and composition to ensure maximum depth of skills. Children then apply and develop their skills in both short and long writing opportunties and are taught how to plan and edit their work. During their time at Northway, children develop their ability to recognise the need to adapt their writing to suit a range of audiences and purposes and use the most appropriate form of writing for a given task.
Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar
Children are taught this in both in discrete sessions and within English lessons to fully embed these skills. Children have a SPaG lessons in which they are taught National Curriculum punctuation and grammar objectives and have the opportunity to apply their understanding to and questions. During English lessons, children apply what they have learnt to their writing in order for them to see how grammar and punctuation helps us to organise and make shape of what we are trying to say. Understanding the concept of a sentence and manipulation of different sentence types is a key factor in ensuring children’s progress in writing. It allows children to become more confident and versatile in their use of language. Grammar and punctuation knowledge enables children to control and use language to meet the needs of purpose (genre) and audience and to proof read, edit and revise their writing.
On entry, our Foundation Stage children are involved in varied activities to develop essential pre-writing skills in line with the Early Learning Goals. There is much focus on developing gross and fine motor skills and strengthening muscles in the arms and fingers. Children are also introduced to the individual letters and taught correct formation from the very beginning of their time in school. From the time that children are ready, they are taught to sit with a good posture and are taught to hold a pencil with the correct grip.
Children continue to have handwriting sessions throughout all year groups. We use Northway's 'Talk for Handwriting' to teach correct letter formation.