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.