English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. 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; pupils who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised.
Writing at St Margaret Clitherow is taught through The Write Stuff approach by Jane Considine.
This method allows pupils to improve their oracy and widen their vocabulary in every lesson, whilst deepening their understanding of writerly choices through the use of the shade’o’meter. Our children love their writing lessons and look forward to showing what they’ve learnt in their independent extended pieces at the end of each unit.
All our writing is taught through the ‘writing rainbow’ which provides a lens for the writer to focus through in order to ensure all writing is effective and engaging for the reader, whilst meeting the intended purpose.
This intent is underpinned by the following principles:
High Expectations - All children are expected to succeed and make progress from their starting points.
Modelling - Teachers teach the skills needed to succeed in English providing examples of good practice and having high expectations.
A Vocabulary Rich Environment - We intend to create a vocabulary-rich environment. We encourage children to ask questions about unknown words and study texts carefully addressing unknown words. Pre-teaching key vocabulary, it allows children to develop understanding and increase confidence allowing children to use a wide range of vocabulary in their writing.
Literary-based approach - We follow a literacy-based approach to teaching English where we learn based around a high-quality literary text.
Additional needs and EAL – Those children with additional needs are given additional support in class as well as interventions aimed at the areas of weakness. EAL children are supported through regular feedback and additional support through resources in class and adult support alongside interventions where necessary.
Speaking and listening - Children are frequently encouraged to listen, take turns in discussions and are given ample opportunities to develop confidence in expressing themselves clearly through a variety of situations such as: preparing and performing poetry, class assemblies, role play and storytelling. Good speaking and listening skills are modelled from EYFS upwards.
At St Margaret Clitherow we promote a love of reading culture throughout the school teachers and our library sessions for each class:
All children start in Year R with phonetically decodable books that are matched to the phonics that they have secured. Once they have secured and mastered their phonics they move onto the reading scheme in Year 2. The level they move to is assessed using PM Benchmarking to ensure the correct book band, this is a detail 1:1 reading conference. This supports all children in their word reading, comprehension and inference skills. We are at all times supporting children to be fluent and proficient readers and inspiring a confidence around their reading.
All children follow a reading scheme which provides children with a colour stage. They are able to access books from their reading stage and will progress through the stages through regular reading practise at home and in school. When children have reached the final stage they become a ‘free reader’ which means they are able to read chapter books as well as their library book. Children are encouraged to select both fiction and non-fiction texts and also books from recommended authors.
Whole Class Reading - Reading is taught through the whole class approach. Each class has a text which they read aloud. New vocabulary from the text is selected and taught explicitly before answering comprehension-based questions on the text.
Interventions - Pupils working below age-related expectations are identified quickly and interventions planned and in place. We follow set interventions which include: reading fluency and phonics.
In Key Stage 2 Reading Plus is used to support rapid catch up in reading with 3 sessions of 30mins each week. We are finding that the children are engaging really well with these sessions as they offer a level of choice and independence. There is feedback to the children and the teachers each week and we are seeing an average of 18 months of improvement in reading ages over a 9 weeks intervention period.
Reading at home
At the St Margaret Clitherow, we recognise children need constant practice to become established, fluent readers and therefore place a strong emphasis on reading at home in addition to school. All children, from EYFS to Year 6, are expected to read at least four times a week and record their reading in a reading record book. Parents are encouraged to support children in this. Teaching staff monitor children’s reading habits and book choices, working with parents to inspire our pupils to become great readers. In parallel with this, we celebrate children’s reading through sharing stories, partner classes, assemblies, awards and World Book Day. We also hold regular information sessions on phonics and early reading beginning when parents first visit the school with their children.