English at St Christopher’s

Reading

Curriculum Intent

At St Christopher’s Primary School, we believe that reading has the power to unlock every child’s potential. Our rich English curriculum encourages our children to explore the scope and depth of quality literature by equipping them with the skills necessary to read and analyse challenging texts. Reading teaches children about the world around them – through reading, they learn about people, places and events outside their own experience. Reading improves a child’s vocabulary, leads to more highly-developed language skills, improves the child’s ability to write well, leads to increased independence and opens the door to understanding the rest of the curriculum.

Implementation

Teachers use the school’s whole class shared reading planning format and reading content domains to ensure the study of a variety of genres and text types, along with the coverage of National Curriculum expectations relevant to each year group. Quality picture books, poetry, children’s fiction and non-fiction are chosen to engage pupils and build up the reading strategies required for accessing rich and complex children’s literature.

 

In Key Stage 1, we teach a whole class shared reading session for a minimum of 20-30 minutes a day, at least twice a week, with three other sessions per week of small group/individual reading to develop decoding and fluency. As pupils’ early reading skills increase through the academic year, this shifts to more whole class shared reading sessions. In Key Stage 2, we teach a whole class shared reading session for a minimum of 30 minutes a day, every day.

 

Within each class, there is an additional 15 minutes a day for individual reading, reading for pleasure, and sharing class novels and poems. Individual reading is tracked by the class teacher and recorded in reading records, which may be filled in by the children in upper KS2, and which are sent home. Every child is heard read by the class teacher at least once a week; children in KS1 and those identified as needing reading support in KS2 are heard read more regularly by the teacher or another adult.

In our books you will see:

  • Record of children progressing to read increasingly challenging books (closely matched to the phonics phase young and struggling readers have attained)
  • Evidence of a wide range of texts being read and discussed as a class.
  • Evidence of children practising key reading skills (including explaining the meaning of words in context; using prediction, inference, retrieval, and summarising skills; making comparisons within a text).

Tracking attainment and progress

  • Termly PiRA tests for years 1-6.
  • Targeted questioning in 1:1, small group and whole class shared reading sessions.
  • All the above informs teachers’ assessments on Target Tracker.

 

Phonics

Intent

Our aim at St. Christopher’s is to continue to develop a strong, cohesive and robust phonics programme which produces a deep understanding, confidence, and competence within phonics.  We strive for our children to reach their fullest potential and to become life-long learners with a secure understanding and love of reading and writing.  Our phonics lessons will ensure that children make real progress and will be secure in their phonological awareness and understanding.  They will be able to apply this knowledge when reading and writing across the wider curriculum.

Implementation

Phonics teaching and learning is good in our school when:

  • Teacher talk is concise and pacey.
  • Pupils are engaged and accessing learning.
  • Adults ensure effective use of resources.
  • Pupils’ decodable books for reading are accurately matched to their phonics level.
  • Enhanced stretch and challenge activities are available for all.
  • When we ‘review’ previously taught phonemes at the start of each lesson. Each time a pupil is asked to do this, their memory is strengthened.

 

Tracking Attainment & progress

At St Christopher’s, we use ‘Phonics assessment’ sheets to monitor which phonemes children have learnt and which require more support to learn.  Additionally, we use a ‘Phonics Tracking’ document where children’s progressed is tracked across each term. This data is collected and examined by the Phonics team. Children who have not yet made the expected progress, or children who are working behind the expectations for their year group, are identified. Pupil Progress meetings are then held to review the successes of the term, and to identify next steps for those vulnerable children that have been identified. The information from these meetings is used to plan interventions and further CPD for staff.

How we fulfil our vision:

  • Engaging curriculum with cross-curricular activities
  • Sharing of good practice
  • Lesson observations
  • Monitoring carried out termly

Further Information

Phonics Long Term Plan

 

Writing

Curriculum Intent

At St Christopher’s Primary School, we strive to create a learning environment where writing is valued, celebrated, and enjoyed. We recognise that writing is a vital tool for communication and proficiency in this area is essential for enabling learners to flourish in all aspects of life. The school’s writing curriculum encourages all children to express themselves creatively, develop higher-order thinking skills and write for a range of purposes and audiences in different styles. Writing is given a high profile in our school and children are given meaningful opportunities to apply their learning across the curriculum. We are committed to cultivating the children’s confidence in spoken and written English, so that each child may go on to fulfil their potential and participate fully in society.

Implementation

St Christopher’s rich English curriculum exposes our children to challenging and quality literature that opens possibilities for developing the children’s writing skills. Each unit of work emerges from core texts that provide excellent examples for further writing opportunities. Across each year, a variety of genres within fiction, non-fiction and poetry are explored, so that children can practice writing according to the conventions of each text type. Children are clear on the purpose for writing (to discuss, entertain, inform or persuade) and who the audience for their writing will be. For example, year 1 use the adventure story ‘Lost in a Toy Museum’ by David Lucas as a launching pad for writing fact files of their own favourite toys, invitations to parents for a virtual tour of their own toy museum and signs and notices for the objects on display. Year 5 respond to the epic poem ‘Beowulf’ by creating a job advertisement calling for Danish heroes to fight Grendel, Kennings for a ballad in praise of Beowulf and a prequel to the Beowulf saga for a fantasy film production.

Each unit of work also teaches the complete writing process (planning, drafting, sharing, evaluating, revising, editing, publishing) and maps out the relevant national curriculum objectives for each year group. In line with the concept of a ‘spiral curriculum’, learning objectives and conventions of specific genres are reinforced throughout the year in what we call ‘writing reviews’. Children’s writing skills progress as they move up the school and revisit the ‘writing tools’ required for different text types. For example, after reading ‘Dear Fairy Godmother’ by Michael Rosen, year 2 write in role as Cinderella and send a postcard from her honeymoon in the Maldives. Following their exploration of the classic novel ‘A Christmas Carol’, Year 3 write in role as a member of Mr Scrooge’s family and send a telegram persuading Scrooge to spend Christmas together with them. Year 4 also write persuasive letters when they write in character as The Ancient Child, the main protagonist of Colin Thompson’s text ‘How to Live Forever’.

In our books you will see:

  • Daily or weekly targets with clear learning objectives, related success criteria and an opportunity for children to reflect on their learning.
  • Toolkits for each unit of work prompting children to assess their use of structure, grammatical features and vocabulary in their writing.
  • Evidence of children developing their knowledge of grammar, punctuation, phonics and/or key spelling patterns for their year group.
  • At least one piece of extended writing completed independently for each unit of work.

Tracking attainment and progress

  • Termly grammar tests from the Rising Stars Scheme for years 1-6.
  • Termly spelling tests from Somerset Literacy Network for years 3-6.
  • Termly writing assessments using Alison Philipson assessment grids.
  • Writing moderation in year groups and across phases every long term.
  • Targeted questioning and observation of written work across the term.
  • All the above informs teachers’ assessments on Target Tracker.

Further Information