English helps us to connect with our world and to find out more about it. It increases our power of thought and communication as well as the ability to express ourselves through words.
We are a ‘Quality Texts’ school. Our English teaching is based on the starting point of a quality text and through experiences provided in school, to develop skills of communication and understanding. The use of DEAL (Drama Engagement Active Learning) gives children the opportunity to explore a text to its fullest and ‘put the learning into their bodies’ so that it is meaningful and purposeful. It is also important to be able to listen carefully and use spoken and written language in an effective and confident way. Speaking and Listening, Reading, Writing, Spelling, Grammar, punctuation and Handwriting make up the English Curriculum. Where appropriate, English teaching is linked to work in other curriculum areas.
Children are taught to listen and respond appropriately to adults and their peers and to speak with increasing confidence and a wider vocabulary, including collaborating, asking questions, presenting, negotiating, explaining and persuading. We take a whole-school approach to the development of children’s vocabulary, from high quality conversations with the adults in school, built up from EYFS, to subject specific vocabulary to be taught and explored throughout school.
Phonics lessons use Phonics International as the main scheme with supporting materials from Read, Write Inc. Phonics lessons have both a reading and a writing element. Children learn to blend increasingly complex graphemes and this is closely matched by phonetically decodable reading materials (Collins Big Cat Phonics). As children become confident in word reading, they are expected to comprehend increasingly challenging texts. We aim for children to become successful and enthusiastic readers. Reading is widely promoted throughout school through our school library, regularly updated reading resources from Cheshire Library Service, Reading Fortnight, a school ‘Virtual Library’ (where children have read their own choice of text for other children to enjoy), staff recommendations and story assemblies. Reading for pleasure is a key part of our approach. We have reading events throughout the school year, including Scholastic Book Fairs, World Book Day celebrations, author visits and librarian visits. During our Reading Fortnight we have activities such as Reading Rocks (a treasure hunt style reading activity for the whole family), video a book review and Book in a Box challenges. Our Library in school allows the children to use and take books home to share. Loss and damage of books is not a problem but parents are requested to make a contribution or replacement when this occurs. Book bags, available from school are vital for carrying the books to and from school. Physical activities both indoors and outdoors in EYFS allow children to develop their gross and fine motor skills, for example Dough Disco and Pencil Parties. Children are then able to mark-make, leading into practising letter formation (linked to phonics teaching). By Year 2 children are then able to learn how to successfully join letters into a fluent and legible script. Children are given opportunities to write for a variety of purposes with focus on vocabulary, spelling, punctuation and grammar. Children are also taught to plan, draft, revise and edit their own writing.