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 word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. National Curriculum, July 2014
Pupils should be taught to read fluently, understand extended prose (both fiction and non-fiction) and be encouraged to read for pleasure. National Curriculum, July 2014
Reading is at the heart of our society; children who have developed a positive approach to reading will be able to navigate our textually rich world. Here at Joy Lane, reading is a highly valued aspect of the curriculum. Reading provides the opportunity for children to develop their imaginations; give opinions in class discussions; take ideas to use in their writing; and ultimately interpret and become engaged in the world around us. During the school day, children regularly encounter a variety of texts in a range of settings: early morning work; English lessons; Guided Reading; assemblies; library browsing time; the classroom book corner; or through listening to a story as a class. Children at Joy Lane enjoy having literature read to them, starting with picture books and stories in our nursery, through to reading a class novel in KS2. While children across the school follow our structured staged reading scheme, they also have access to well-stocked book corners in each classroom and a KS1 and KS2 library, where they can borrow books to enjoy at home. Our aim is to promote a love of reading, and our regular whole school events, such as dress-up days, book clubs and book fairs, serve to support this goal.
Pupils should develop the stamina and skills to write at length, with accurate spelling and punctuation. National Curriculum, July 2014
At Joy Lane, we use a text-based approach to teaching writing; using quality, language-rich books to hook the children not only embeds reading in our English curriculum, but it inspires their writing. How children ‘read’ the world around us is constantly changing; therefore, we also include film and other mixed-media texts as a basis for writing. In addition, links are also made with other curriculum areas, such as History and Geography. Each chosen text acts as an ‘umbrella’ under which the children are taught to write a range of fiction and non-fiction genres. Each unit of writing develops progressively with children developing their speaking and listening skills, vocabulary, sentence structure, punctuation, grammar, organisational skills and sense of audience. Within this, there is an emphasis on drafting, editing and redrafting. The children use a range of tools to aid this process and to encourage independence in their learning; these tools also ensure that children transfer their English skills to all lessons across the curriculum. We have high expectations for handwriting and presentation across the school. We teach the children to use a cursive script, with most children using a handwriting pen from Year 1.
Vocabulary, Grammar and Punctuation
Throughout the programmes of study, teachers should teach pupils the vocabulary they need to discuss their reading, writing and spoken language. It is important that pupils learn the correct grammatical terms in English and that these terms are integrated within teaching. National Curriculum, July 2014
The explicit teaching of Vocabulary, Grammar and Punctuation (VGP) is essential to the development of children’s speech and writing. Through Joy Lane’s own progressive grammar programme, Sentence World, children from Year 1 to Year 6 learn key grammar and punctuation concepts in the context of writing sentences. Having a firm understanding of these allow children to be confident in building and manipulating interesting and varied sentences. Furthermore, they can then discuss and analyse their own language and grammar choices, as well as those of others, using the appropriate terminology. While this knowledge prepares the children for the end of KS1 and KS2 SATs tests, it also helps them to write with improved accuracy and confidence.
At Joy Lane, we aim to develop confident, fluent and passionate readers and writers from an early stage. We use Synthetic Phonics as the initial method for teaching children to learn to read words. This is a process that first teaches the letter sounds, building up to blending these sounds together to achieve full pronunciation of whole words. Our phonics teaching also includes the modelling of how to segment sounds in a word. This allows children to hear the sounds that they need to write when spelling a word. Phonics is taught in a systematic way across the school using the Letters and Sounds programme. Children access daily explicit phonics sessions from Year R to Year 2, with further support being provided in KS2 if necessary. Phonics is taught in a multisensory way, providing children with fun, interactive opportunities to learn through using physical resources, visual cues, singing, dancing, games, ICT, articulating sounds and making choices.
In KS1, Year 1 continue to follow the Letters and Sounds phonic programme while Year 2 children initially follow this scheme, and then progress to learning simple spelling rules and patterns from the National Curriculum. In KS2, Spelling is taught daily through short interactive games and investigations of spelling rules and patterns. For homework, our whole school progressive Rainbow Spelling scheme, which covers words from Letters and Sounds and the National Curriculum, ensures that children are learning spellings that are suited to their ability. Year 1 are introduced to this scheme at Christmas, once they are secure in their transition from Reception to Year 1.