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Our English learning aims to value and develop each child’s language. It is essential to value existing linguistic knowledge and use this to build high achievement through carefully planned learning opportunities. Our English planning is taken directly from the National Curriculum for English and this is closely linked, where appropriate, to the themed curriculum. English are skills for life and this focus drives our curriculum utilising discrete subject teaching, core skill application in other subjects, and, creating meaningful links wherever possible. English learning journeys are created using a range of text types and using assessment as the core principle. Our subject leaders create detailed curriculum maps each year that ensure that children are exposed to the necessary requirements as set in the National Curriculum, whilst, using assessment to meet their specific needs.
The children are expected to use an excellent standard of spoken language so we expect that this is what is modelled by staff. Pupils are given a range of opportunities, both in class and outside of the classroom, to develop as confident speakers and communicators
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Examples of medium term plans
We want all of our children to be able to effectively engage with all areas of the curriculum and reading is essential to do this well. Children are taught to use RWI phonics as a medium through which to acquire the phonetic knowledge needed to read and write.
Teachers listen to their children read through Guided Reading lessons. Teachers plan these to support comprehension skills to further develop reading skills at an appropriate level to the reader. Guided reading sessions are set up as a carousel of activities linked to reading whereby comprehension skills are developed.
As part of the English journey for learning we ensure that the first part is dedicated to reading skills; familiarising children with text types, enjoy text and immersion within a text. We then teach children to learn from text, using reading skills to further develop their writing skills.
We support reading for pleasure through a session at the end of the day with modelled reading by the teacher. The books that have been chosen for each year group aim to expand children’s experiences with different narratives, and further support all levels of reading to access and then enjoy stories with their peers.
Parents are actively encouraged to listen to their children read on a daily basis. We also ask parents to encourage reading for pleasure by taking children to local libraries and role modelling the enjoyment of reading. We hope that our school library will continue to grow, and, in the future, support families to read together. To accompany the targets that each child receives for reading we hold parental sessions to increase understanding and therefore support at home.
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How can you help your children at home with reading
As parents you are your child's most influential teacher with an important part to play in helping your child to learn to read.
Here are some suggestions on how you can help to make this a positive experience.
1. Choose a quiet time
Set aside a quiet time with no distractions. Ten to fifteen minutes is usually long enough.
2. Make reading enjoyable
Make reading an enjoyable experience. Sit with your child. Try not to pressurise if he or she is reluctant. If your child loses interest then do something else.
3. Maintain the flow
If your child mispronounces a word do not interrupt immediately. Instead allow opportunity for self-correction. It is better to tell a child some unknown words to maintain the flow rather than insisting on trying to build them all up from the sounds of the letters. If your child does try to 'sound out' words, encourage the use of letter sounds rather than 'alphabet names'.
4. Be positive
If your child says something nearly right to start with that is fine. Don't say 'No. That's wrong,' but 'Let's read it together' and point to the words as you say them. Boost your child's confidence with constant praise for even the smallest achievement.
5. Success is the key
Parents anxious for a child to progress can mistakenly give a child a book that is too difficult. This can have the opposite effect to the one they are wanting. Remember 'Nothing succeeds like success'. Until your child has built up his or her confidence, it is better to keep to easier books. Struggling with a book with many unknown words is pointless. Flow is lost, text cannot be understood and children can easily become reluctant readers.
6. Visit the Library
Encourage your child to use the public library regularly.
7. Regular practice
Try to read with your child on most school days. 'Little and often' is best.
Your child will have a reading journal from school. Try to communicate regularly with positive comments and any concerns. Your child will then know that you are interested in their progress and that you value reading.
9. Talk about the books
There is more to being a good reader than just being able to read the words accurately. Just as important is being able to understand what has been read. Always talk to your child about the book; about the pictures, the characters, how they think the story will end, and their favourite part. You will then be able to see how well they have understood and you will help them to develop good comprehension skills.
10. Variety is important
Remember children need to experience a variety of reading materials e.g. Picture books, hard backs, comics, magazines, poems, and information books.
Links to online stories for parents
At Central Park we aim for children to understand and develop their writing skills through exciting and purposeful opportunities. This forms part of our English learning journey. We create learning which develops core writing skills according to their ability, focusing on grammar, spelling, handwriting and punctuation both contextualised and in discrete form. Teachers use a range of teaching strategies to support writing – using modelled, guided and shared writing confidently to support the processes for our children. Our flexible approach to learning helps support a curriculum which is driven by assessment – children lead the learning based on specific needs and interests.
All pupils are encouraged to write neatly and legibly and all attempts at early writing are praised and encouraged. Our children are taught handwriting through the Penpals Handwriting Programme. Children who have learnt their handwriting to an appropriate level and style are awarded a pen licence. Neatly presented work is an expectation in all curriculum areas to support and we actively provide opportunities for writing in all areas to encourage writing stamina.
Helping children with handwriting at home
We believe that all writing should be for purpose. This year we have introduced a new curriculum map that shows a range of final outcome form, including publishing. It is hoped that this will provide development across the school, support enthusiasm for written purpose, and, therefore improve achievement for all children.
We use Oral Stoytelling to enable our children to imitate the key language they need for a particular topic orally before they try reading and analysing it. We use fun activities that help them rehearse the tune of the language they need, followed by shared writing to show them how to craft their writing, children are helped to write in the same style. Our teachers use quality exemplar texts that are personalised to specifically meet the needs of our children, Once our teachers have established a creative context and an engaging start, our Oral Storytelling units begin with some engaging activities warming up the tune of the text to help children internalise the pattern of the language required. This is followed by talking an exemplar text, supported visually by a text map and physical movements to help the children recall the story. In this way the children hear the text, say it for themselves and enjoy it before seeing it written down. Once they have internalised the language of the text, they are in a position to read the text and start to think about the key ingredients that help to make it work. Our children then complete a range of ‘reading as a writer’ activities such as using the boxing-up technique which helps the children to analyse the features that have helped to make the text work. In this way the class starts to co-construct a toolkit for this type of text so that they can talk about the ingredients themselves. Once our children have internalised the text, they are then ready to start innovating on the pattern of the text. The key activity in this stage is shared writing, helping our children to write their own by “doing one together” first. Teachers begin with using a boxed-up grid (innovating on the exemplar plan) to show how to plan the text and then turning the plan into writing. This allows our children to see how you can innovate on the exemplar text and select words and phrases that really work. Children work towards a final written piece that is published with pride and purpose. A clear curriculum map shows where each oral storytelling opportunity supports a different part of narrative e.g characterisation – this ensures that every feature of narrative is covered in detail and depth.