The National Curriculum for English divides the work into these areas:
- Spoken Language
- Spelling, vocabulary, grammar & punctuation
The aims of the curriculum are to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.
Our approach to reading
At Gorefield Primary Academy, we highly value reading as a key life skill, therefore teaching a child to read with confidence is vital and we are dedicated to enabling our pupils to become lifelong readers. We believe reading is essential for academic success and therefore implement the following strategies. We also aim to promote reading for pleasure and hope to instil this love of reading in all children through the culture of our school. Teachers read a variety of high-quality texts to the children on a regular basis.
- Children take part in guided reading sessions – EYFS once per week, KS1 twice a week and KS2 once a week. These are group and/or whole-class sessions using a range of high-quality texts. In addition to this, children in EYFS and KS1 also read one-to-one with an adult each week.
- Each classroom has a range of high-quality texts, both fiction and non-fiction, linked to our topics. All classrooms have an inviting mini-library that allows children to read comfortably throughout the day.
- Texts for English are carefully chosen to ensure children are engaged and that there is progression and challenge across the school.
- Children are read to every day for 15 minutes by their class teacher. This is a book recommended by the teacher or chosen by the children. Book reviews and teacher recommended reads are then displayed around school.
- Year 5 and 6 act as ‘Reading Buddies’, reading during lunchtimes with younger children.
- In Reception and Year 1 and 2, books are carefully matched to the children’s phonic level to ensure they are able to read fluently. Children are then moved on to our Accelerated Reader scheme, which helps to develop fluency and comprehension skills. ‘Free readers’ are also available for older children to choose from our class libraries.
Through the systematic teaching of phonics in Reception and Year 1, using the Story Time Phonics scheme, we aim for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage 1. Children can then focus on further developing fluency and comprehension throughout the school. Reading outcomes are assessed at the end of Key Stage 1 and 2, through statutory assessments, however we firmly believe that reading should be encouraged as something children choose to do for pleasure.
In a bid to improve the language and vocabulary development of our children, we are taking part in the Powerful Words project. The aim of this project is to reduce word poverty for the disadvantaged pupils in Cambridgeshire. This project uses Mrs Wordsmith resources to support accelerated progress in reading and writing for KS2 pupils, by extending their vocabulary. All children are exposed to a word a week and have access to dictionaries to expand their vocabulary further. The approach used is a simple and intuitive way to learn new words which will foster word consciousness and a lifelong love of words.
Mrs Wordsmith resources are exciting and visually stunning, created by the award-winning artist behind the films Madagascar and Hotel Transylvania.
Our approach to writing
At Gorefield Primary Academy, we incorporate the Jane Considine model into the teaching of writing from Year 1 through to Year 6. This approach is adapted to support the gaps that the children have. Children are taught writing skills through studying a range of fiction and non-fiction texts, including the use of teacher-produced models for writing. In Key Stage 1, children are encouraged to see the plot points of the texts, explore the grammar and vocabulary before applying more independent changes to the model until they can write freely with confidence. This helps them to understand the key language and layout features of different text types. In Key Stage 1 and 2, picture books are also used as a visual stimulus to develop vocabulary choices and composition. Children write as part of their work outside of English. Power of Reading is also used to ensure high-quality texts and shared models form the basis of our planned writing units.
To develop writing further we do have WOW writing days and Newsround writing opportunities to give children further opportunities to write at length about things that interest them and affect them.
Our writing is enhanced through using resources from The Literacy Shed, Pie Corbett’s Talk for Writing, Mrs Wordsmith and The Spelling Shed.
Our approach to phonics teaching
We use Story Time Phonics throughout Reception and Key Stage 1. All Key Stage 1 staff have been trained with annual refresher courses. All children in Reception and Year 1 have a daily 30-minute phonics session following the teaching sequence of revisit/review, teach, practise and apply (read and write). In Year 2, children access a balance of phonics and spelling, punctuation and grammar lessons based on their individual needs. Children are taught either as a whole class or in groups, based on regular assessments, so that learning and provision can be correctly matched to the children’s needs. Small phonics intervention groups and individual phonics teaching is delivered by teaching assistants, overseen by the class teachers, to provide additional teaching.
Sessions aim to be lively, fast-paced, fun and interactive. Children are taught phonemes and their corresponding graphemes, decodable 'Fairy' and non-decodable 'Tricky' high frequency words, as they work through the Phases of the Scheme. This knowledge is then applied and consolidated through the reading and writing they do during phonics lessons, as well as in other lessons throughout the day.
At the end of Year 1, children will take the national Phonic Screening Test which tests children’s phonic knowledge. They are required to read real and alien words, applying the skills they have learnt.
Through analysis of our COVID gaps we continue to teach Phase 6 phonics to our Year 3 children.