The teaching and learning of English provides the basis of a solid and fluent education. Through a good grasp of English, both written and spoken, children are able to access a full and varied curriculum. At St Andrew’s we teach English through three main strands: Reading, Writing and Speaking.
In a wide variety of lessons, the children are given the opportunity to write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. The children are given speaking and listening opportunities so they are able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas. These opportunities include group work, class assemblies and drama.
Children are taught to compose and transcribe in a cross curricular way and neither skill is taught in isolation but in conjunction with each other so children are confidently able to create pieces writing of a high standard. In all year groups children are taught how to plan their ideas before writing. This allows them to select and develop the appropriate vocabulary required for that genre.
Spelling, punctuation and grammar are taught alongside writing so that children are able to understand the value of communicating accurately and effectively.
We celebrate writing with whole school writing projects that children from early years to year 6 can participate in and enjoy together.
Reading at St Andrew’s is highly valued and remains a priority across the school. This is because without a strong foundation in reading, children may struggle to access the wider curriculum and this will hinder their academic progress. In fact, recent research shows that children who fall behind with reading in the early years will continue to do so throughout their schooling. Reading aloud is a good way of developing vocabulary, language expression and expressive and receptive language skills. With this in mind, the teaching of reading at St Andrew’s is a joint effort and we expect our parents to engage with their child’s reading journey at home as often as possible and help to provide their children with this vital foundation.
Our children start their journey with reading in EYFS where they begin in phase 1 of the phonics programme ‘Letters and Sounds’. This is a systematic programme that is taught across EYFS, KS1 and Lower KS2. (Please see the phonics page for more details).
Reading at EYFS and KS1
Alongside phonics to teach the technical side of reading, we also teach reading as a whole class. In EYFS and KS1 this is done using ‘talk through stories’. This scheme takes well known children’s books and allows children to dive into the text at greater depth with teacher guidance. Over the course of a week, the children will look at various aspects of the text. The key areas of focus will be vocabulary, inference, prediction, explanation, retrieval skills and sequencing. These 6 areas of focus cover all the key reading skills your child will need to enjoy varied and rich texts through their lives.
Reading at KS2
In KS2, children follow a similar scheme using VIPERS (an acronym for the 6 areas previously mentioned). Reading lessons are taught for an hour and cover a variety of texts and genres. There are lots of opportunities for discussion and children then have time to consider answers to questions requiring higher level thinking.
Each half term, children in EYFS, KS1 and LKS2 are assessed on phonics up to phase 5 and assigned a phase. In KS2, once children have completed the phonics programme, they are assessed termly and assigned phase 6, 7 or determined to be a ‘free reader’.
Reading at home
Each week children will bring home books appropriate to their phase to read at home. Alongside a ‘phase book’, children will also bring home a ‘share with me’ text which they should enjoy with an adult at home. We hope this will encourage them to read for pleasure and find joy in a wide variety of books. We encourage and expect children to read at home for up to half an hour every day to encourage their fluency and understanding. Through the school year we hold reading workshops for parents to provide further information as you support your child with their reading from home.
Reading across the curriculum
Reading is of course a very cross curricular subject, and reading opportunities are also provided across other subjects with children being taught to develop and apply research skills as they move through the school.