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Powell's School Church of England (VA) Primary School

English

At Powell’s we aim to provide an English curriculum which allows all children to express their creativity, foster a love for literature and embed the necessary skills and knowledge within the key learning areas of language and communication including: reading, writing, listening, speaking and phonics. Our ‘book rich’ curriculum ensures the national curriculum is delivered in an engaging and exciting way, with books and a love of reading at its heart.

 

Aims

The overarching aim for English in our school is to ensure that high standards of language and literacy are promoted by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.

 

The National Curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • read easily, fluently and with good understanding
  • develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
  • acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
  • appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
  • write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
  • use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
  • are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.

 

Speaking and Listening

“Reading and writing float on a sea of talk” James Britton 1983

The importance of speaking and listening is highlighted in our school vision  ‘Talk, learn and grow on our journey together.’ In order to help ensure that our children can access and excel in all areas of the curriculum, oracy is integral in everything we do; therefore, all lessons have a strong speaking and listening basis. 

Powell's Oracy Progression Map

Reading

In line with the National Curriculum, reading is a high priority for us at Powell’s. Not only do we want to ensure our children learn the skills required to become proficient readers, we want to encourage them to develop a love of reading. Every class across the school has an inviting book area which promotes reading engagement and supports our pupils’ in accessing books that are of interest to them, and appropriate for them as readers. As well as classrooms promoting a love of reading through engaging book corners, novel studies are part of English lessons to help develop a deep understanding and love of these carefully chosen texts. The books chosen are high quality texts which stimulate excellent writing and discussion opportunities.

 

 

 

         

 

Phonics Scheme

For our phonics scheme we use Unlocking Letters and Sounds, which was validated by the DfE in December 2021.

We begin teaching phonics in the first few weeks of term 1 in Early Years (Reception) and children make rapid progress in their reading journey. Children begin to learn the main sounds heard in the English Language and how they can be represented, as well as learning ‘Common Exception’ words for Phases 2, 3 and 4. They use these sounds to read and write simple words, captions and sentences. Children leave Reception being able to apply the phonemes taught within Phase 2, 3 and 4.

Actions, Images and Letter Formation

 

In Year 1 through Phase 5a, b and c, they learn any alternative spellings and pronunciations for the graphemes and additional Common Exception Words. By the end of Year 1 children will have mastered using phonics to decode and blend when reading and segment when spelling. In Year 1 all children are screened using the national Phonics Screening Check.

In Year 2, phonics continues to be revisited to ensure mastery of the phonetic code and any child who does not meet age related expectations will continue to receive support to close identified gaps.

Unlocking Letters and Sounds progression

 

To ensure no child is left behind at any point in the progression, children are regularly assessed and supported to keep up through bespoke 1-1 interventions. These include GPC recognition and blending and segmenting interventions. The lowest attaining 20% of pupils are closely monitored to ensure these interventions have an impact.

 

Reading Scheme

At Powell’s we promote a 'phonics first' approach and in both our guided reading sessions at school and in the books children take home, texts are very closely matched to a child's current phonics knowledge so that every child can experience real success in their reading. In these crucial early stages of reading we primarily use books from Ransom Reading Stars Phonics, to ensure complete fidelity to the Unlocking Letters and Sounds progression we follow.

 

Once a child has progress beyond decodable texts they move onto Accelerated Reader. They continue to progress in their decoding, fluency and comprehension skills to become avid, expert readers.  

  

Accelerated Reader

Accelerated Reader is an online based program that helps us to monitor and manage children’s independent reading practice. At the start of every new term, the children take a Star Test which determines their reading level and gives them an individual reading level (ZPD range). Each child then selects books at their own level, reads them at their own pace and then takes a short online comprehension ‘quiz’ on what they have read. Teachers use the feedback and data from the children’s quiz results together with their own assessments made when reading with the child to support them in guiding pupils, setting goals and directing ongoing reading practice.

 

We encourage all children to foster a love of reading here at school and expect them to be also reading daily at home. Developing a love for reading is incredibly important as in the words of Dr Seuss ‘The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you will learn, the more places you will go!’

 

Reading provision information 

Early Years Reading Provision Map

Year 1 Reading Provision Map

Year 2 Reading Provision Map

KS2 Reading Provision Map

Whole School Reading and Vocabulary Progression Map

Accelerated Reader

 

Recommended book lists by year group

(click links to webpage)

Reception

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Year 6

 

Writing

Our English lessons ensure that all children are exposed to a wide range of text types. These have been grouped in genres relating to their purpose:

Early Years and Key Stage 1

Writing to entertain

Writing to inform

Story

Description

Poetry

 

Signs/labels/captions

Recount

Letter

Instruction

 

Years 3 and 4

Writing to entertain

Writing to inform

Writing to persuade

Story

Description

Poetry

Narrative

Play scripts

Explanation

Recount

Biography

Newspaper

Reports

Advert

Letter

Poster

 

 

Years 5 and 6

Writing to entertain

Writing to inform

Writing to persuade

Writing to discuss

Story

Description

Poetry

Narrative

Play scripts

Reports

Biography

Newspaper

Reports

Advertising

Speech

Campaign

Argument

Newspaper

 

At the heart of all of our writing lessons is a high-quality text. This carefully chosen text is used as a model for the children to learn from. Each unit starts by studying the model text for the children to see the ‘ingredients’ of what is needed to produce this type of text. These model texts help to drive the children’s own writing; they are of the highest quality and therefore provide children with ambitious examples.

Writing is taught and learnt through meaningful and effective contexts using a range of approaches. These include:

  • Modelled and shared writing
  • Guided writing
  • Independent writing
  • Talking partners
  • Sharing and reflecting on their writing
  • Editing stations
  • Talk for writing
  • Peer and self-assessment against given success criteria
  • Opportunities of oral rehearsal of sentences and text types
  • Vocabulary, punctuation and grammar activities taught discretely and as part of writing units

Whole School Writing Progression

 

Grammar, spelling and punctuation

In order to prepare our children for the end of KS2 Spelling, Grammar and Punctuation test (SPAG), grammar, spelling and punctuation are taught within English lessons through language and sentence games and discrete sessions.

Spelling

We want all of our children to become confident when spelling unknown words.

Within the Foundation Stage and KS1, children learn to segment words and identify the sounds during their daily phonics sessions. In Year 2, children continue to build on their phonics knowledge and are introduced to some of the spelling rules such as adding suffixes enabling them to spell increasingly more complex words.

Once children move into Key Stage 2, they are taught to apply their prior phonics knowledge as ‘codes’ for understanding and spelling unknown words as well as using their plural, prefix and suffix knowledge. This phonics ‘code’ is the relationship between the sounds of speech and their spelling alternatives (the graphemes). All KS2 classes have daily spelling sessions, focusing on using their phonics knowledge to spell increasingly challenging words. To work out ‘the code’, they are taught to start from a whole spoken word pronounced slowly. Next, they orally segment the word into its sounds, highlighting focus sounds within words before mapping those onto the graphemes in the written word.

At Powell’s we hope the by the time our children leave us they are equipped with a number of strategies in order to use ‘codes’ to understand and spell unknown words.

Throughout all of the children’s spelling work they will build up a bank of words including the spelling lists from the national curriculum:

Year 1 Common Exception Words

the

a

do

to

today

of

said

says

are

were

was

is

his

has

I

you

your

they

be

he

me

she

we

no

go

so

by

my

here

there

where

love

come

some

one

once

ask

friend

school

put

push

pull

full

house

our

 

Year 2 Common Exception Words

door

floor

poor

because

find

kind

mind

behind

child

children

wild

climb

most

only

every

everybody

even

great

break

steak

pretty

beautiful

after

fast

last

past

father

class

grass

pass

plant

bath

path

hour

move

prove

improve

sure

sugar

eye

could

should

would

who

whole

any

many

clothes

busy

people

water

again

half

money

Mr

Mrs

parents

Christmas

 

 

 

Year 3 & 4 word list

Year 5 & 6 word list

English - Grammar Glossary