Children in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 are taught English from the National Curriculum (2014) which focuses on: reading, writing, punctuation, grammar, spelling and speaking and listening.
At Kenton Bar Primary School, English is taught in blocks allowing children to get an in depth understanding of each genre. Children study a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts which are used as the stimulus from which English objectives and learning outcomes are derived. At the beginning of each block children undertake a ‘cold write’; an unsupported assessment of the children’s ability and knowledge of that text type. From this piece of work, teachers then plan a structured series of lesson that can address the areas identified during their cold task. Children analyse pieces of work, become familiar with the key features associated with that genre, analyse their importance and work collaboratively to share knowledge and expertise. During English lessons children also engage in practical drama and speaking and listening activities. Children develop the confidence to present ideas and deepen their understanding of texts by taking on the roles of different characters. At the end of each unit children complete a ‘hot task’ –an independent piece of work where children apply everything they have learnt during the unit.
Texts used in English are cross curricular and closely link to the work children are doing in their topic. For example, Children in Year 2 studying Castles in their topic sessions, may study the book Rapunzel in English. Children practise and apply the skills they learn in English lessons by being given the opportunity to write for a range of purposes in their topic lessons.
Phonics, Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling
As well as daily English lessons, children in Foundation Stage and Key Stage One access daily phonics sessions to develop the basic skills necessary for reading and writing. Where appropriate, children in Key Stage 2 also continue to access phonics intervention. At Kenton Bar Phonics is taught using the Read, Write Inc. scheme. Children are split into groups depending on their phonic ability. Regular assessments ensure children are in the correct group and can move forward, or spend longer consolidating, depending on their individual need. In Key Stage 2, children also have a daily ‘Basic Skills’ session where a strong emphasis is placed on the development of essential grammar, punctuation, spelling skills alongside handwriting.
Spelling is a current priority at Kenton Bar and we are always seeking new ways to improve and engage children in spelling activities. Children take part in daily word wall activities and enjoy playing a range of spelling games throughout the week to embed their weekly spellings.
The main reading scheme used in school is Oxford Reading Tree and runs from Foundation Stage through to Year 6. Children begin by taking home wordless books in the Early Years and move onto books with text when it is appropriate for each individual child. Each child is provided with an appropriate home reading book.
Each afternoon a 25 minute slot is dedicated to every child reading in class. This time consists of children reading in groups with a teacher (guided reading), carrying out reading workshops and comprehensions. These sessions enable teachers to work closely with children, supporting them to develop a deep and broad understanding of different genres through a range of texts.
Our new School Library offers a wide range of exciting and engaging texts to encourage all children to develop a deep love of reading. Children have weekly opportunities to visit the Library with their class to read for pleasure, exchange books and gather a range of literature. This enables children to research and enhance their understanding of topics and class work. The school also has strong links with our local community Library and classes have the opportunity to visit regularly throughout the year.
Reading across the curriculum
Reading widely across all areas of the curriculum is encouraged through our Literature Works approach to lessons. This format begins by asking children to make predictions about texts, read them in depth, discuss their likes and dislikes, then question, clarify and summarize what they have read. Lessons are planned to incorporate a wide range of purposeful reading opportunities where children can consolidate and develop the skills they have learnt.