English at DWJS: Vision and Intent
Our vision at Darrick Wood Junior School is for our pupils to develop a
lifelong love of reading as well becoming enthusiastic and creative writers.
Reading at DWJS
Our aim is for our pupils to be able to read with fluency and meaning for
both pleasure and purpose. All children have access to a wide range of
genres and high-quality texts in our well-resourced school library and class
book corners. We believe that interesting and engaging books should be at
the centre of our English curriculum in order to stimulate writing as well as
ensuring we bring reading to life through drama and role play.
Writing at DWJS
Our aim is to develop children who are confident, creative and capable
writers, who use writing to express themselves and to communicate with
others. They are encouraged to write for a purpose, to think carefully about
their audience and how word choice and style can make an impact, as well
as reflecting on their own and others writing.
English Curriculum Overview: Implementation
The National Curriculum (2014) clearly states that teaching the English language is an essential, if not the most essential, role of a primary school. At DWJS, we recognise that without effective communication, little achievement can be made.
Our teaching and learning strategy is based on the National Curriculum for English. Approximately seven hours of dedicated English teaching is planned, including reading and writing, spelling and handwriting, drama and listening to stories.
Oracy and Spoken English
The National Curriculum states that pupils should be ‘taught to speak clearly and convey ideas confidently in Standard English’ (p10).
Spoken Language Teaching Strategies
The four strands to speaking and listening are:
- listening and responding;
- group discussion and interaction
These oral skills are directly taught, modelled and sensitively encouraged in whole class and small group settings. Opportunities across the whole curriculum are planned for and developed. Children play an active part in presentations, topic talks, group discussions, debates and drama activities on a regular basis. We follow the guidance and ideas from the National Curriculum to support speaking and listening skills.
The National Curriculum states that pupils should be taught to read fluently, understand extended prose and be encouraged to read for pleasure.
Reading is singled out as of paramount importance since through it ‘pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually’ (p13) Reading allows pupils to ‘acquire knowledge’ and to ‘build on what they already know’ (p13).
Pupils at Darrick Wood Junior School are taught to:
- use a full range of reading cues (phonic, graphic, syntactic, contextual) to monitor their reading and correct their mistakes;
- have an interest in words and their meaning and a growing vocabulary;
- know and understand a range of genres in fiction and poetry, and understand and be familiar with some of the ways in which narratives are structured through basic literary ideas of setting, character and plot;
- be interested in books, read with enjoyment and evaluate and justify their preferences;
- understand the variety of written language and the differences between fiction and non-fiction;
- can find out the information they need in order to research and answer the questions of others.
Strategies for teaching reading at DWJS:
Whole class reading, which develops listening skills, exposes children to high-level vocabulary and encourages reading for pleasure. High-quality texts are selected to challenge and inspire all learners.
The whole class reading lesson includes a starter activity in the form of an ERIC/RIC (Explanation, Retrieval, Inference, and Authors’ Choice) series of questions linked to an age appropriate text. Every lesson, the children are taught an explicit reading skill from the National Curriculum, progressing from simple retrieval to justifying using evidence from the text.
Shared reading, which immerses children in the pattern of story and features of text types. This happens in English sessions when introducing text and prior to writing. Echo reading is used to model how to read with fluency, intonation and expression, giving children regular opportunities to practise these skills.
Independent reading in school and at home. Children are encouraged to borrow books from our school and class libraries; we have a wide range of fiction and non-fiction for children of all abilities to enjoy. Every week, classes visit the school library so they have dedicated time to read and share books with their peers. We also run a book fair twice a year. This gives children an opportunity to find out about newly-published books and fosters an atmosphere of excitement about reading.
At Darrick Wood Junior School, children are encouraged to write for a range of purposes, always keeping their audience in mind. Writing is based on an engaging stimulus, such as their class text, which is often linked to the topic they are learning.
Strategies for teaching writing at DWJS:
Building a toolkit of key features to include when writing different text types. The children study a high-quality example text and use this as a model for their own writing.
Short-burst writing is used to give children the opportunity to practise techniques they are taught for the text type they are focusing on. This enables the children to rehearse their writing and make improvements before their final piece of writing at the end of a unit.
Shared and guided writing is regularly used to model the writing and editing process to the children. By sharing ideas as a class, they are exposed to different vocabulary and ideas.
Planning is a key part of the writing process. Before an extended piece of writing, children are given a lesson to plan; they are taught to consider the content of their writing as well as their vocabulary choices. They use the toolkit that they built at the start of a unit to ensure they are including the key features for their text type.
Extended independent writing is when the children show off the skills they have practised in a unit. The follow their plan to produce their final piece of writing for their text type.
Editing and redrafting is an important skill for all writers. While the children are encouraged to proof-read and edit as they go, they are also given the opportunity to read over their writing with fresh eyes in a separate lesson. They review whether they have met the success criteria and used features from the toolkit, then make changes or rewrite sections where necessary. During these lessons, teachers may work with small groups or individuals to help them to target particular areas to improve upon.
We follow the CUSP approach for the teaching of spelling, focusing on learning spelling rules rather than particular words. The PiXL Spelling Tracker is used to assess spelling each term, and children are then placed into sets accordingly so that they learning the rules they need to improve their spelling. They are encouraged to use their focus spelling rules in their writing and to spot the words in books they are reading.
Grammar and Punctuation
This is taught explicitly in English lessons or intervention slots. Teachers use Appendix 2 of the National Curriculum to inform their grammar and punctuation provision.
Our English curriculum provides the children with the core knowledge and skills that they need to communicate in terms of both their receptive and expressive language, in all its forms. It also instills in them the confidence to engage with the spoken and written word so that they can get the most our of their time in school, both now and in the future . Talk is a positive feature of our classrooms and is used effectively to support learning across the curriculum. Children choose a range of books to read for pleasure and purpose, and are confident to explore different and more challenging texts across a range of genres. They employ their wide-ranging writing skills effectively, demonstrating a flair for language and the ability to communicate with the reader according to their purpose. Outcomes evidence that our English curriculum prepares children to read and write during the current stage of their education and beyond.
English as Another Language (EAL)
Children with EAL are taught within the classroom and receive support from a trained teaching assistant who works in conjunction with the SENCo. Opportunities to celebrate the increasing diversity of native languages within our school are taken whenever possible.
Children of all ethnic groups, both genders and all abilities have equal access to the English curriculum. Positive images in terms of such groups are promoted throughout the school, both in the use of language and the provision of resources.