How do we teach English?
At Thorpedene, we believe that literacy and communication are key life skills. Through the English curriculum, we help children to develop the skills and knowledge that will enable them to communicate effectively and creatively through spoken and written language, and to equip them with the skills needed to become lifelong learners. We want children to enjoy and appreciate literature and its rich variety.
English is at the heart of all children’s learning. English enables children both to communicate with others effectively for a variety of purposes and to examine their own and others’ experiences, feelings and ideas.
‘Teachers should develop pupil’s spoken language, reading, writing and vocabulary as integral aspects of the teaching of every subject. English is both a subject in its own right and the medium for teaching; for pupils, understanding the language provides access to the whole curriculum. Fluency in the English language is an essential foundation for success in all subjects.’
Our English curriculum at Thorpedene gives all pupils a wide range of opportunities to develop their literacy skills, through a cross-curricular approach. All teachers plan and teach English so that children have a chance to develop and apply their literacy skills in a meaningful context. Children are taught in blocks of learning each half-term which includes poetry, narrative and non-fiction and these are linked with the year group’s topics.
As well as this, children have weekly spellings, punctuation and grammar (SPaG) lessons and a love of reading is fostered through guided reading, cracking comprehension, accelerated reader and whole class story sharing.
Parental engagement is important to us at Thorpedene and we hold workshops to demonstrate how we teach English and how you can support your children at home.
Our school has chosen Little Wandle Letters and Sounds revised phonics programme to teach early reading and phonics. Phonics supports the children with their early understanding of how to make the connection between the spoken sound (phoneme) and the written representatives (grapheme). Once the children have mastered the ability to blend these sounds together, they will be on their way to building fluency in their reading. The phonics programme teaches the children the sounds in a specific order and this is then supported by guided reading sessions, books and resources that you can also use to practise at home. Phonics is taught daily along with the guided reading sessions and the children will have access to all books via an online system. Workshops to support parents/carers with how this is delivered is held in the autumn term. All children will undertake a statutory phonic screening assessment in the summer term of year 1. Any children who do not pass will sit the retake the following year.
Reading In EYFS
Reading plays an important part in developing children’s imagination and interests. All children have an individual read every week and the child’s reading record book and class reading folder are updated. They also select a sharing book to take home. We have a half-termly focus author where the children are introduced to the author and the stories are shared in daily, whole class story time. Reading happens daily during continuous provision when children can be found playing phonics games and sharing books in small groups. Every half-term the children are assessed against the high frequency words and are given lists to practise at home. All children also attend a weekly session in the library where they have the opportunity to read, share and most importantly enjoy books!
Reading in Year 1
Reading plays an important part in developing children’s imagination and interests. All children will have an individual or group read weekly and will change their levelled reading book and while this is happening, the children will engage in paired reading within the class. There is a new focus author every half-term and these stories will be shared (along with others) during the daily story time in class. Each class has a Reading Bear and a child is chosen every week to take the bear home and take photos and share reading with. Each class has a weekly library session and they also do paired reading with Year 4 every Friday afternoon. Whole class reading also takes place during lessons such as phonics and cracking comprehension. As an additional incentive, the children are awarded a point for every whole book they read and these points accumulate and turn into prizes.
Reading In Year 2
In Year 2, English is taught across the school week, in a range of ways.
Aside being an integral part of topic and wider curricula lessons, through each week, English lessons are taught in class daily with two additional lessons of SPaG in the afternoon. In these lessons, a range of writing and SPaG skills are taught and developed.
In addition, every day after lunch, the children take part in ERIC Time (Everyone Reading in Class) where the children have time to do independent free reading. This incorporates a range of reading activities including comprehension tasks and adult guided group sessions.
The children have an opportunity throughout the week to read a levelled book with an adult. These books are them taken home to continue to practise their reading. They can choose a non-levelled reading book that they can share with an adult at home.
Each class has an interactive book corner to help promote the love of reading, as well as having interactive displays that encourage their comprehension and reading skills.
Reading in Lower KS2
In Years 3 & 4, English is taught across the school week, in a range of ways.
Reading skills are focused on as a daily occurrence. Children have books to read at school and to take home to help develop both their reading and comprehension skills. Children have reading record books to keep a log of books they have read at home and at school.
Every day, children are also involved in reading activities outside of their daily English lessons. The focus for these is around the Accelerated Reader programme. When a child finishes a book, they complete an online quiz to assess their understanding of the book before they can move onto a new book. This helps the teacher and the child gain confidence that their skills are progressing. In addition to these independent activities, children have weekly visits to the library where they partake in reading-based activities alongside changing their books.
Reading in Upper KS2
In Upper Phase, years 5 & 6, English is taught across the school week, in a range of ways.
Aside being an integral part of topic and wider curricula lessons, through each week, English lessons are taught in class daily. In these lessons, a range of writing and SPaG skills are taught and developed.
In addition, every morning, the children take part in a reading lesson to further develop their comprehension and reading skills. As part of these sessions, children complete a range of activities, including independent, group and adult guided. Every day after lunch they read either independently, in pairs or with an adult. This is part of the Accelerated Reader programme and the children take a quiz when they have completed each books to track their progress.
Every class in the phase has an interactive book corner to help promote the love of reading as well as an inquiring mind through questions, discussion points and interactive displays.
If you would like any more information on how we deliver English at Thorpedene please contact the School Office via email or speak to your pupil's teacher: