'When I read great literature, great drama, speeches, or sermons, I feel that the human mind has not achieved anything greater than the ability to share feelings and thoughts through language.' James Earl Jones
At St Peter’s, we believe that English is a fundamental life skill. English develops the children’s ability to listen, speak and write for a wide range of purposes. Our children are enabled to express themselves creatively and imaginatively, as they become critical readers of stories, poetry and drama, as well as non-fiction and media texts. They gain an understanding of how language works by looking at patterns, structures and origins. Our children use their knowledge skills and understanding in speaking and writing across a range of different situations to ensure breadth, balance, continuity and progression. This results in building new skills and knowledge based upon what has been taught before allowing all pupils to work towards clearly defined end points. Our aim is to provide high quality teaching and learning experiences so that our children become enthusiastic, confident and independent communicators.
Speaking and Listening
Vocabulary is key to our children becoming successful communicators both in the written and oral form. From EYFS stage the children are exposed to a range of vocabulary whether from direct teaching, modelled teacher speak or gathered from shared texts. The children are encouraged to be interested in words, their meanings and to be confident orators who are brave enough to use the new words they have learned. Through memorable learning opportunities such as debates, dramas and assemblies, the children are able to speak, listen and respond appropriately to different audiences. This allows them to be effective and competent communicators within a range of groups in both formal and informal contexts.
Children are given opportunities to practise, consolidate and develop English across the curriculum. Staff plan English teaching using ‘text drivers’ which are quality texts chosen to allow small step progressive learning. When writing during English lessons, the children embark on a ‘learning journey’ which has a clear writing outcome. The form of this will be chosen to give opportunities to write from different viewpoints, different audiences and using different genre. In order to realise this, they are taught grammar, punctuation and spelling in context. They are given tasks and activities which develop their powers of imagination, inventiveness and critical awareness. They are then able to rehearse, review, refine and edit their writing. Through the teaching of grammar and punctuation, the children are given the tools to achieve their writing outcome and, when satisfied with their piece of writing, to publish it.
Using the No Nonsense spelling, individual spelling rules are taught out of context enabling children to learn, practise, revise and then apply learning to independent writing.
The teaching of reading is at the core of all learning at St Peter’s and is prioritized by the headteacher. It is our aim to produce an environment where the children are enthusiastic, capable readers who love books. A range of texts encourage reading with confidence, fluency and understanding.
Children are taught phonics from the start of Reception and our staff are experts in early reading. In Reception and Key Stage 1 home reading books are chosen in line with phonics and are matched to the sounds that the children know thus consolidating phoneme learning. The content and sequence of the Letters and Sounds programme supports progress. In addition, the children are encouraged to read for pleasure choosing books from the class and school libraries. Staff foster a love of reading as they share class texts, introduce new books and revisit old favourites. Foundation stage, KS1 and Year 3 have access to the online resource ‘Bug Club’, both at school and at home, to support the development of reading using decodable books. All children are expected to read at home and this is recorded in Home/School contact books for Reception/KS1 and Reading Logs in KS2.
From Years 2-6, Guided Reading is carefully planned and taught to the whole class. The texts can vary from those chosen in line with English learning or other texts chosen to engage the children. This practice lends itself to word reading, the learning of phonics/spelling and comprehension. Texts can be ‘unpicked’, new language introduced and reading strategies practised. Pupils who struggle are supported through well planned interventions and supported to catch up quickly.
In addition to this the children are regularly read to by their teacher and are encouraged to read for pleasure whenever the opportunity arises. Regular visits to the well-stocked school library, class libraries that are updated every few weeks and texts brought in from home, allow the children to be surrounded by interesting and informative reading material.
How you can support us with reading
Regular reading at home has a huge impact on reading progression. You can help your child in a number of ways:
- Share books; this is an important way to support your child before they become an ‘independent reader’. This could mean reading a text together, reading to your child, or taking it in turns to read a longer or more challenging text.
- Listen to your child read their reading book; it will offer a similar challenge to the books that they are reading in school.
- Encourage and support your child to read other material in the environment, e.g. timetables, instructions, rules for games etc.
How we can support you at home with reading
Questions about Fiction Books
- Do you like the front cover?
- What do you think the story might be about?
- Have you read any other books like this one?
- Have you read any books by the same author, illustrator?
During and After Reading
- Read the beginning of the story…what do you think will happen next?
- Which part do you like best? Why?
- Did you find anything funny or sad in the story?
- Who did you like best in the story? Why?
- Was there anyone you did not like? Why?
- Did anything surprise you?
- Were there any unusual or interesting words?
- Did you like the illustrations?
- Did the pictures tell you something different from the words?
- Did you like the ending? Was the ending what you expected?
- Relate the story to your child’s / family’s experiences.
Questions about Non-Fiction Books
- Does the information book have an index/contents page?
- What would you like to find out? How can we use this book to find the answers?
- What did you find out that you did not know before you read this book?
Useful for text recommendations, author interviews and online stories.
Illustrated stories for all primary aged children.
Free access to games and activities to support phonics learning.
Bug Club - engaging stories with curriculum-linked vocabulary progression.
Spelling and grammar support