Sacred Heart Primary School English Curriculum
'Good readers try hard and help others - reading tells you about other people's lives' - Omeerah, Year 4
Welcome to our English curriculum page. Here you will find all sorts of important information about how we teach English across our school. You will also find a number of useful resources that we use to show how our children learn the necessary skills and knowledge in order to become successful communicators, writers and readers.
'I like reading because it helps you to learn and to know more words' - Janiah, Year 2
English Progression of Skills - KS1 to KS2
English Long Term Planning - Year 1 - 6
'I know I'm reading well when I learn the words from memory not just the sounds - I used to Fred talk words, but now I can read them for myself' - Torah, Year 2.
Reading is a priority at a school. Our aim is for our children to have a love of reading and to recognise that we read for a range of purposes. Children will read to by adults regularly as a model of good reading. Children will read to themselves everyday and will be listened to regularly. All children will also develop their understanding of a wide range of fiction and non-fiction texts during their time with us.
'We read in other subjects, not just English - for example, we read a leaflet in history' - Harman, Year 6.
'A good reader can read in their head' - Harveer, Year 2.
'I enjoy reading - it's relaxing and helps me focus' - Sadia, Year 6.
We use the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) to help us choose the best children's books. Each unit of work is underpinned by an ambitious, engaging quality text which is relevant to the children's learning needs and backgrounds. We aim to provide children 'windows' into other cultures and experiences to develop cultural capital and appreciation of our diverse world and 'mirrors' to help develop their own interpersonal skills and understanding of themselves as they grow up.
'Reading can teach us about history - we can learn from history' - Omeerah, Year 4.
''Reading teaches us about friendships' - Sanjeeda, Year 6.
Reading teaches us not to bully, like when we read The Boy at The Back of Class - it teaches us to not let yourself down' - Zaina, Year 5.
'Fox taught us about betrayal' - Drake, Year 6.
Structure of Reading Lessons
Nursery and Reception use the CLPE's Corebooks to help choose books that complement the children's interests and the Early Years Curriculum. This is part of a thematic approach evidenced through the Early Years learning environment.
Year 1 and 2 take part in Book Talk which is a whole class approach to exploring high quality literature. Books are chosen to help develop children's understanding of reading outside of their Phonics lessons. It also provides an opportunity to practise comprehension skills such as prediction, retrieval and inference.
From Year 3, children will take part in more formal Guided Reading lessons. A range of fiction and non-fiction texts are chosen to explore using key comprehension skills such as prediction, retrieval, inference and exploring author's intended issues.
Vocabulary is at the heart of our teaching; it is taught, not caught. Attention is given to new words and what they might mean. As children progress through school, they will learn how to think about the suitability of a word, shades of meaning and how to decode vocabulary in context.
Reading for Pleasure
All children in school will have a book available to them which will be matched to where they are in their reading learning journey. These books are to be read at school and at home. Children will be listened to by adults and older children (Year 5 and 6) who have been chosen for their love of reading and demonstration of our school values. Children will also have library books available to them (which they can choose freely) to for themselves or with an adult at home.
'I read in my head most of the time as it is quicker but I reader specific books [aloud] with my Mom - we're reading The Ickabog' - Drake, Year 6
Time is given throughout to read for pleasure (as a morning task or an afternoon task) and for other purposes (such as to gain information in other subjects such as History or Science).
School librarians are chosen from KS2 (after application) who help to organise the library, promote its use and promote reading for pleasure across the school. Children take part in the National Literacy Trust's Global Reading Challenge by reading at home and earning 'reading miles'. Raffle tickets are given for reading miles and winners of the reading challenge will win tokens for the school's Book Vending Machine.
If children are currently receiving instruction in Phonics, then they will be given a book that is matched to their most recent assessment/phonics group. Once children are off Phonics, then they are able to choose books that are appropriate for their age. They can choose from their class book corners, the library and our selection of banded books. Below is how we organise our Phonics and Banded Books:
'Banded books help you learn to read' - Omeerah, Year 4.
Writing (Including Punctuation and Grammar)
We use the 5Rs to work towards a Writing Outcome: Read, Rip, Rehearse, Write and Review. Children follow this logical progression for each genre focussed writing outcome. This sequence mimic the writing process that children will become familiar and fluent in during their time at school. Grammar and punctuation is taught within Writing lessons, with children being exposed to high quality examples through reading texts and through exposure to high quality modelling. Children are given opportunities to apply this immediately in to their writing (grammar and punctuation coverage can be found on the English Progression map).
We cover a wide range of genres, with children being given the flexibility to apply these to responses to what they have read, writing in role, writing for a real life purpose, cross curricular writing and other opportunities (such as writing competitions or themed days).
Fluent, accurate and speedy handwriting are essential to success across the curriculum. Letter formation and eventual joins should become automatic: this allows for children to focus on the content of their writing. At Sacred Heart, our aim is to make the physical process of writing enjoyable so that children see themselves as writers. We use Read Write Inc’s progression for handwriting which is split into 3 stages. We do not teach lead in/entry strokes or a precursive style to children when they are first learning to form letters.
EYFS/Year 1 (Stage 1a – Letter Formation)
We use mnemonics and images, which are taken from Read Write Inc, to visualise the letter before children write it down. Early on, children need to practise handwriting under the guidance of an adult, so they don’t make mistakes and, if they do, they are corrected early on before they become habit.
Accurate modelling of letter formation using mnemonics takes place during Read Write Inc. phonics and in other lessons across the curriculum.
EYFS/Year 1 (Stage 1b – Placement and Sizing of Letters)
When children have formed their letters accurately, they will then focus on ensuring accurate placement of letters on the lines of their books. They will also learn how to size their letters accurately, including ascenders and descenders.
End of Year 1/Start of Year 2 (Stage 2 – Mature Style of Writing)
Once children have learnt how to size and place letters, they will begin to develop a more mature style of writing which will prepare them for joining.
End of Year 2 Onwards (Stage 3 – Joining)
Children will learn two types of joining: diagonal and horizontal. Children will learn these joins as letter pairs e.g. ai, dr, cu. They will then apply these at a word level.
Spelling is taught in all year groups across the school. In Key Stage 1 and EYFS, spelling is mostly taught through Phonics though there are some spelling rules that are taught outside of this.
After completing the RWI phonics programme, children progress on to the Spelling Books Scheme (developed by Jane Considine). The programme is structured in the following manner:
Children are presented with a hypothesis to test. With support from the teacher, children will explore letter strings, spelling rules and exceptions by sorting and categorising rules. Spelling is explicitly taught in this manner every fortnight.
Go Grapheme Grafters (Spelling Tests)
Children have 15 words to learn (sent as homework) for two weeks. At home and in class, children will identify similar words to their focus words. Children are taught to be spelling detectives and investigate and be alert for patterns. Children will complete a spelling test every other week where they will be tested on their focus word and any other words that are similar to these.
Every other week, children will take part in 5-10 minute short activities to help retrieval previously taught spelling rules and exceptions.