English in our school
We believe reading and writing are the key to successful learning. Generous time is given to the teaching of English, both as a separate subject and across other curriculum areas. All children participate in lessons where grammar, writing, comprehension and reading skills are developed and improved through a combination of shared, guided and independent work. Children are encouraged to use taught skills effectively to extend learning across all the curriculum. Children are encouraged to read for pleasure and are read to by their class teacher each day. At Our Lady and All Saints Catholic Primary School we give the teaching of reading and writing the highest priority as they are the cornerstones of all subsequent learning. We aim to give each and every child a love of reading and language that will stay with them throughout their lives.
A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others, and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society.
The overarching aim for English in the National Curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written language, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.
The National Curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:
- read easily, fluently and with good understanding
- develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
- acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
- appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
- write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
- use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
- are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.
Our priority is to ensure that every child develops a love for reading. Embedded throughout all our teaching is a focus on developing pleasure in reading and a motivation to read.
The programmes of study for reading at key stages 1 and 2 consist of:
- word reading
- comprehension (both listening and reading)
It is essential that teaching focuses on developing pupils’ competence in both aspects; different kinds of teaching are needed for each.
Phonics in our school:
Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. To ensure our children are able to do this, we use phonics in the early teaching of reading. We use the Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS) programme; a Systematic Synthetic Phonics (SSP) Programme which is designed to teach children how to read through the act of decoding and blending.
An SSP teaches children the link between the sounds of our language (phonemes) and the written representation of these sounds (graphemes), or the spellings of the sounds contained within the English language.