English Speaking and Listening
Pupils at St George’s are taught to speak clearly and convey ideas confidently using standard English. We encourage children to justify their ideas with reasons; ask questions to check understanding; develop vocabulary; negotiate; evaluate and build on the ideas of others and select the appropriate register for effective communication. It is evident to anyone who visits St George’s that there is an ethos where children feel safe and valued, thus encouraging them to interact in a respectful and expressive manner. The classroom environments are stimulating and creative and there is a rich diet of vocabulary in and around the school, which enhances the speaking and listening skills taught. Each week at St George’s in our Achievement Assemblies the children speak with clarity and enthusiasm as they share the work they have completed throughout the week. The children regularly take part on leading worships and church services. We encourage children to show respect and respond to the views of other children and adults in an appropriate way and this is done at every point of the school day, not just in focused English lessons.
Reading for Pleasure
Reading for pleasure is at the heart of all that we do here at St George’s and we have pupils that have developed the habit and passion for reading regularly and widely. The vast array of opportunities supports the children in becoming skilled in reading, but most importantly our children love nothing more than getting lost in the pages of a book. Early reading is high on our agenda and we recognise that the early years of a child’s life are crucial. The experiences that we offer the children in the EYFS and Year 1 are fundamental in laying the foundations for future reading success.
Reading interest is sparked in our children from day one and children have picture books to read, leading to phonic based books and on to more complex novels as they reach KS2. Class libraries, mystery readers, daily reading, our Reading Dog, initiatives to encourage regular reading and celebrations of authors are just some of the many experiences we provide for our children.
Our reading curriculum is designed to produce productive, creative and well-educated students. The challenging and ambitious expectations of the National Curriculum are reflected in our aims and beliefs of how reading should be taught at St George’s. Pupils within our school are taught to read fluently and encouraged to read for pleasure. Our Phonics and Early reading scheme is Read Write Inc, however it is peppered with other schemes such as Oxford Reading Scheme, Collins and Usborne to ensure children are exposed to varied authors and book styles. As children progress through the reading scheme there are opportunities to read modern and classic fictional novels. The range of texts in school offer support for those who need it. There are texts that offer phonics support within contexts that older children can enjoy reading and similarly, there are texts that offer challenge and sophisticated structures written in a context that is not too mature for the age of primary school children. At St George’s we cater for the varying needs of our children, ensuring that we promote a love of reading irrelevant of the children’s ability or age.
Our curriculum is broad; bringing all pupils into contact with a range of areas of learning and experiences, and at the same time allows the balance of the adequate development of each area. In order to acquire knowledge and understanding, our children are taught to comprehend, interpret and apply reading skills to science, history, geography and technology content. We teach children, through guided sessions, the skills of inference, inquiry and interpretation and encourage them to apply this to a range of ‘real life’ texts.
To further promote reading at St George’s we use a variety of strategies and resources including:
- A wide variety of fiction and nonfiction books to ensure children read a variety of genres and text types.
- Decodable books for children learning to read.
- Each classroom has a dedicated Book Corner which celebrate books
- Every class stops at 3 o’clock for a dedicated Story Time.
- Daily synthetic phonics sessions take place daily fromEYFS to year 2 following the Read Write Inc programme. In cases where children still require the teaching of phonics in KS2 it is done through specialised phonics interventions and the use of daily “keep up” sessions.
- Children have high quality group reading sessions daily. These lessons are focused on word reading and discussion, incorporating comprehension, exploration of vocabulary and dictionary skills and comprehension, in particular inference and deduction. (VIPERS)
- Excellent use of the well-stocked vibrant library where children are encouraged to read in their own free time. Our Junior Librarian team open the library daily at play time and lunch time, allowing children to borrow books from school daily.
- Our Bourton Bundle of books lists are shared with each child, giving ideas of books to read in each school year.
- Reading promoted in the form of visits from authors, book weeks, book fairs, drama workshops and theatre visits etc.
- Children have ‘Reading for Pleasure’ book corners in their classroom that encourage them to read widely. The books are suggested titles for their age range and the children use book reviews to identify the effective features, favourite characters, similarities and differences and encourage children to recommend authors and genres to other readers.
- High quality texts used in school across all subjects.
- Regular volunteers come into school to hear children read in each class, this includes our weekly visit from Daisy our Reading Dog.
- We aim to teach our children to use language as effectively as they can in a wide variety of situations. They will be introduced to many types of literature and will be encouraged to read widely.
Our overall aims for all pupils are to be able to:
- Read and write with confidence, fluency and understanding, using their reading skills to monitor their reading and correct their own mistakes
- Understand and use their knowledge of phonics and spelling to read and spell accurately and have an interest in words and their meanings and develop a growing vocabulary;
- Know, understand and be able to write in a range of genres in fiction, poetry and understand and be familiar with some of the ways in which narratives are structured through ideas such as setting, character and plot;
- Have fluent and legible handwriting and plan, draft and revise their own writing;
- Understand, use and write a range of non fiction texts and be interested in books, read with enjoyment and evaluate and justify their preferences;
- Have access to suitable technical vocabulary through which to understand and discuss their reading and writing;
- Through reading and writing, develop their powers of inventiveness and critical awareness
Children have opportunities to visit the school Library on a daily basis. Children are encouraged to read for pleasure at home and at school and the books stocked in the library are chosen and organised by the children themselves. Furthermore, St George’s collaborates with the local library and invites them in to speak to both children and parents with children taking part in the Summer Reading Challenge. Our library is manned by our team of Junior Librarians. They open the library daily and recommend books to their peers. Our library is also open to our Village Pre School, who visit to use our facility each week.
In EYFS and key stage one, discrete phonics lessons are taught in ability groups following the RWI programme. RWI is a synthetic phonics programme that has proven success in developing early readers, writers and spellers.
When your child is learning to read there are two crucial things to learn:
- the sounds represented by written letters
- how to blend the sounds together to make words.
Synthetic Phonics is a way of teaching reading.
Children are taught to read letters or groups of letters by saying the sound(s) they represent – so, they are taught that the letter l sounds like llllll when we say it. Children can then start to read words by blending (synthesising) the sounds together to make a word.
We use Read Write Inc. Phonics for our children in Reception to Year 2 and for our children in Years 3 who need to catch up.
At St George’s we aim to inspire children and encourage the development and application of imagination. We develop the children’s ability to produce well-structured, detailed writing in which the meaning is made clear and which engages the interest of the reader. Attention is paid throughout the school to the formal structures of English, grammatical detail, punctuation and spelling. The St George’s 7 step writing approach enables children to write independently for a variety of audiences and purposes within different subjects. A key feature is that children internalise the language structures needed to write through ‘talking the text’ as well as close reading. The approach moves from dependence towards independence with the teacher using guided teaching to develop the ability in children to write creatively and powerfully. Teachers model and incorporate the use of phonics and spelling strategies during shared writing sessions and they are given frequent opportunities in school to write in different contexts and for a variety of purposes and audiences, using quality texts as a model. There are many opportunities for children to improve their writing inspired by drama techniques and film clips. Extended, independent writing takes place on at least three occasions over a term and there will also be additional opportunities in subjects such as history, science, RE and geography, demonstrating that our children are able to apply their skills across the curriculum. During extended pieces of writing the children are given plenty of time to write, sometimes over the course of a few days. At the end of each day the children are given feedback to encourage them to improve or extend their writing. They act upon this feedback before they begin writing on the next day. These pieces of writing help to provide a clear assessment of the children’s current writing stage and their areas of development within writing, spelling, grammar and punctuation. Our English sessions are well suited to the practical development of this knowledge through the word, sentence and text level work provided in class. Teachers turn every available minute of teaching into valuable learning time. The first few minutes of the day or English lesson are given over to the practice of essential language skills. In spelling, we value and encourage children as they move through the developmental stages of learning to spell, but we also recognise the importance of mastering and using accurately conventional spelling in order to convey meaning clearly in writing.
Presentation of written work reflects the awareness of the writer to the needs of his or her audience. Our ultimate goal is for pupils to achieve a fast, flowing, joined, legible style of writing. In order to achieve this, we are aware of the need for a consistent approach to the teaching of handwriting across the key stages. Our aim is for all children to write fluently, legibly and with increasing speed and to understand the different forms of handwriting used for different purposes by the end of KS2. At St George’s we aim to make handwriting an automatic process that does not interfere with creative and mental thinking. Handwriting is a cross-curricular task and will be taken into consideration during all lessons. Formal teaching of handwriting is carried out each week to ensure children become fluent and legible writers.
Communication, Language and Literacy in the EYFS
Speaking and listening runs throughout the whole of the EYFS. There are stories, rhymes and role-play every day where the children have the opportunity to talk, listen and join in. We encourage the children to take their first steps in early reading and writing through role-play, free choice activities and focused teaching sessions. Our Reception/Year 1 class have a library session each week, where the children are invited to choose a library book to take home. They also bring home early reading books, letters, sounds and words to practise and learn. Physical development is particularly important in the EYFS as children develop the use of their gross and fine motor skills through initiatives such as dough disco and play with malleable materials. This eventually leads to children being able to handle writing equipment effectively –an essential step in learning to write.
In addition to these in-school assessments there are statutory assessment that take place. In Year 1, children take part in the Phonics screening in the summer term. Children who did not pass the test in Y1 retake the test at the same time of year in Y2. In Year 2 and Year 6 the children take a formal reading and SPaG assessment as part of SATs.