English is taught daily at Highfield in discrete lessons and applied in other subjects. From Year 2 upwards Class books are used for most subjects (rather than separate English books) in order that children have opportunities to transfer their skills across the curriculum.
Every day children take part in guided reading. Teachers and support staff read with a focus group working on reading targets to decode the text, alongside questions to check understanding (comprehension). Children work independently and in small groups on a range of reading activities. Guided reading takes place first thing in the morning so it is vital that children arrive at school on time to ensure they do not miss out on this. Some children will be listened to individually by teachers and support staff. We use a range of guided reading schemes: in Reception-Year 2 Rigby and Collins; in Years3-6 Rising Stars, Heinemann Literacy World Satellite, Navigator. “Real” texts (including longer chapter books) are also used in guided reading.
In Reception and KS1 classes there is also a daily phonics lesson. We follow the phases of Letters and Sounds and supplement our resources with the Jolly Phonics scheme in Reception. Pearson’s ‘Bug Club’ is used as a central resource for phonics teaching which supports progression in reading and can be accessed online on a computer at home or in the local library (there are also spelling and grammar games that children can access). Spellings are taught and tested weekly in Years 1-6. They will be based on a spelling pattern and/or topic words. Children will be given activities in class and given access to Spelling Bug games in order to support their learning of the spelling patterns. We teach the words in context and children are encouraged to use them in their writing in order that children have a full understanding of the meaning of the words and are able to use them effectively. Children in the Nursery, Reception and KS1 are given a book to take home from a range of banded reading schemes including Pearson’s Rigby Star, Collins Big Cat, “real texts” and Oxford Reading Tree. In KS2 children are encouraged to choose their own home-reading book from the book corner and some early readers also receive a reading book from banded and levelled KS2 texts and published schemes. Bug Club also provides e-books for home reading for children across the school.
Our English lessons are based around high quality texts. We follow a suggested core list of high quality texts and use a range of resources including Book Power produced by the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education. Over the course of 2 to 3 weeks children will be introduced to a text, look for key features to understand the genre and then work towards producing their own pieces of writing. We call this a “reading into writing” model. The rules of grammar are taught as part of a unit of work (which we then encourage children to use in their extended writing pieces) and in discrete lessons. Children will also practise their speaking and listening skills across the curriculum as well as through drama activities included in English units of work.
What does the learning of English look like at Highfield Primary School?
- High quality texts which inspire and spark children’s imagination.
- Lessons which give children strategies to read (including phonics) and encourage them to have a deeper understanding of texts.
- Children develop their writing skills across the curriculum, making links to prior learning and real life contexts as well as using high quality texts.
- Children are able to question themselves and others about how writing can be improved.
- Spelling and Grammar are taught in context enabling a deeper understanding.
- Children are motivated to improve.
The word lists below are taken from the National Strategy. They are divided into year groups and are intended to be used to ensure children within each year group learn to read and spell the words.
10 Tips on Hearing Your Child Read
As parents you are your child’s most influential teacher with an important part to play in helping your child to learn to read.
Here are some suggestions on how you can help to make this a positive experience
1. Choose a quiet time
Set aside a quiet time with no distractions. Ten to fifteen minutes is usually long enough.
2. Make reading enjoyable
Make reading an enjoyable experience. Sit with your child. Try not to pressurise if he or she is reluctant. If your child loses interest then do something else.
3. Maintain the flow
If your child mispronounces a word do not interrupt immediately. Instead allow opportunity for self-correction. It is better to tell a child some unknown words to maintain the flow rather than insisting on trying to build them
all up from the sounds of the letters. If your child does try to ‘sound out’ words, encourage the use of letter sounds rather than ‘alphabet names’.
4. Be positive
If your child says something nearly right to start with that is fine. Don’t say ‘No. That’s wrong,’ but ‘Let’s read it together’ and point to the words as you say them. Boost your child’s confidence with constant praise for even the
5. Success is the key
Parents anxious for a child to progress can mistakenly give a child a book that is too difficult. This can have the opposite effect to the one they are wanting. Remember ‘Nothing succeeds like success’. Until your child has
built up his or her confidence, it is better to keep to easier books. Struggling with a book with many unknown words is pointless. Flow is lost, text cannot be understood and children can easily become reluctant readers.
6. Visit the Library
Encourage your child to use the public library regularly.
7. Regular practice
Try to read with your child on most school days. ‘Little and often’ is best. Teachers have limited time to help your child with reading.
Your child will most likely have a reading diary from school. Try to communicate regularly with positive comments and any concerns. Your child will then know that you are interested in their progress and that you value reading.
9. Talk about the books
There is more to being a good reader than just being able to read the words accurately. Just as important is being able to understand what has been read. Always talk to your child about the book; about the pictures, the characters,
how they think the story will end, their favourite part. You will then be able to see how well they have understood and you will help them to develop good comprehension skills.
10. Variety is important
Remember children need to experience a variety of reading materials eg. picture books, hard backs, comics, magazines, poems, and information books from www.topmarks.co.uk – Excellent site for educational resources and games.
Here are some documents you may find useful:
Here are the curriculum reading expectations for years 1-6
The books below are the main reading schemes used in EYFS and KS1:
- Oxford Reading Tree – Songbirds – Phonics
- Collins Big Cat
- Collins Big Cat Phonics
- Bug Club (mainly used in Reception)
Additionally we also use the following in EYFS and KS1 but only have limited numbers of these books for each year group:
- Oxford Reading Tree: Treetops
- Oxford Reading Tree: Fireflies
- Oxford Reading Tree: Traditional Tales
- Oxford Reading Tree: Floppy’s Phonics
- Oxford Reading Tree: Snapdragons
- Rigby Star – Phonics
- Rigby Rocket
- Project X
We use and follow the Government’s ‘Letters and Sounds’ Phonics Scheme. We only use Jolly Phonics songs and actions to support this. We also use the Read, Write, Inc sound cards to help recap and revisit previous sounds taught. However, each teacher has their own way of delivering Phonics lessons and the resources they use varies accordingly