At St Mark’s we will aim to teach English so that our children will be able to develop their use of language for learning and to communicate effectively. Our dedicated teaching team will raise standards in English and enable children to master the basic skills required for the modern world. Alongside this, we will ensure our teaching and learning for English is embedded with the whole school vision. Lastly, we aim to strengthen our English learning with our HERO values being the very foundations of everything we do. Our aim is that our children will be confident and competent readers and writers, by the time they leave St Mark's. We believe that speaking and listening skills are key to the development of children's literacy skills, and we strive to create a language rich environment, to support the progress of all pupils.
At St Marks, our vision and expectations for English are that all children should:
· Develop positive attitudes towards books so that reading is a pleasurable activity.
· Read a varied selection of texts whilst gaining an increased level of fluency and understanding.
· Develop a range of reading strategies for approaching reading: using and applying phonological, contextual, grammatical and graphic knowledge.
· Use reading as a means of gathering information to support their learning throughout the entire curriculum.
· Enjoy writing in different contexts and for different purposes and audiences, including themselves.
· Write with increasing awareness of the conventions of grammar, punctuation and spelling.
· Form letters correctly, leading to a fluent and legible, cursive handwriting style.
· Develop listening and comprehension skills through a variety of means including reciprocal and non-reciprocal situations.
· Develop their spoken language skills in drama activities and as a valuable tool and progression to develop their writing skills.
· Express opinions, articulate feelings and formulate appropriate responses to increasingly complex questions and instructions.
Approaches to Phonics - Read Write Inc (RWI)
Phonics is the way in which we teach the children to read and write. It allows the children to match the spoken sounds (phonemes) to the individual or groups of letters that we use to write them (graphemes).
English can be a complicated language and each sound often has more than one way of writing it, for example e, ee, ea e-e, y can all make the same sound. In our phonics lessons, we concentrate on learning the graphemes most commonly used when reading and writing.
At St Marks, we use a system called Read Write Inc. RWI works by connecting each sound to a picture and saying. These work as memory aids for the children, giving them a hook to remember what each sound looks like in its written format. RWI is taught in 3 sets.
· Set 1 concentrates on the letters of the alphabet and a few special friends (2 or 3 letters that make 1 sound).
· Set 2, introduces one way of reading/writing the other common sounds that have 2 or 3 letters.
· Set 3, shows the children a different way of reading and writing the sounds that they have already learnt.
The RWI sessions are delivered daily to reception, Year 1 and in the autumn and spring terms for Year 2. Children are assessed each half term and then grouped according to their need. If children need to have continued support in phonics after Year 2, then they will also be assessed and interventions groups or activities provided.
Please click here for a helpful link on how you can help your child with RWI at home.
Approaches to Reading at St Marks
Teachers model reading strategies during shared reading sessions, whilst children have the opportunity to develop reading strategies and to discuss texts in detail during guided reading sessions. In KS1, children also have the opportunity to read 1-1 or in a small group with an adult at least once a week.
As the children move through the school, opportunities to read independently for a sustained period of time are offered to them. A range of reading schemes are used to support early readers as well as book banded ‘real books’ used for guided reading. Teaching assistants support reading activities to ensure that children have more frequent opportunities to read with adults.
It is also important that the children are exposed to hearing stories read aloud. Each class has a class reader, which is shared daily- as well as a Bible Story.
We have also introduced "Rock up and Read" in KS2, in which the children read as soon as they come in to school. This allows time for them to read their Accelerated Reader texts.
This year, we are excited to be introducing Accelerated Reader to St Mark's, for children to move on to once they have completed their Read Write Inc programme.
Many exciting and rewarding activities are arranged in school to promote the pleasure and knowledge that can be gained from books, i.e. ‘World Book Week’. Book Weeks include opportunities to bring books alive through planned activities and reading sessions in mixed classes. Where possible, visits by: published authors, skilled story tellers, performances by professional theatre groups are organised in addition to making books and the use of drama to illustrate the texts studied.
Supporting your child with their reading at home.
Research shows that the best way to help your child with their Reading, is to ensure they read for 10 minutes every day. Your child has a reading record that should be completed daily.
Click here for a guide on helping your child with their reading.
Approaches to Writing at St Marks
We aim to develop the children’s ability to produce well structured, detailed writing in which the meaning is made clear and which engages the interest of the reader. Attention is paid throughout the school to the formal structures of English, grammatical detail, punctuation and spelling. Our approach to teaching writing covers the ‘transcription’ and ‘composition’ requirements of The National Curriculum (2014.)
Across the school, from Reception to Year 6, the children are exposed to a wide variety of first-hand experiences to engage, inspire and stimulate their imaginations. Teachers model writing strategies and the use of phonics and spelling strategies in shared writing sessions. Guided and Shared writing sessions are used to target specific needs of both groups and individuals, whilst children have opportunities to write at length in extended independent writing sessions at regular points during a term. We believe that these rich experiences provide children with “…stuff to write about!”
We currently use a "steps" approach to the development of writing. We are excited to be involved in the Power of Reading project this year, and this will inform a review and redesign of our teaching of writing.
Your child will have weekly spellings to learn.
Can your child read and write the most common words in this list?
Here is a guide to show you the different strategies we use with the children to help them learn their spellings.
Our English and Phonics policies can be accessed via the Policies section of the website.