“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”
— Frederick Douglass
English subject lead: Mr D. Farrell
“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”
— Frederick Douglass
English subject lead: Mr D. Farrell
Knowledge of English, and a command of the spoken and written word, is an essential resource for a child’s learning, not only in school, but throughout life. It is a tool used across the whole school curriculum, as well as being a subject in its own right.
Reading and writing at St Augustine Webster are not only daily discrete lessons, but are at the cornerstone of the entire curriculum. Through using high-quality texts, immersing children in vocabulary rich learning environments and ensuring new curriculum expectations and the progression of skills are met, the children at St Augustine Webster are exposed to a language heavy, creative and continuous English curriculum which will not only enable them to become primary literate but will also develop a love of reading, creative writing and purposeful speaking and listening skills.
At Saint Augustine Webster CVA, we believe that all pupils should be able to confidently communicate their knowledge, ideas and emotions through their writing. Pupils will acquire a wide vocabulary, a solid understanding of grammar and be able to spell unfamiliar words by effectively applying the spelling patterns and rules. They can write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. We believe that all pupils should be encouraged to take pride in the presentation of their writing by developing a neat, joined, handwriting style by the time they move to secondary school. Effective writers refine and edit their writing over time, so children are encouraged to develop independence in being able to identify their own areas for improvement in all pieces of writing, editing their work effectively during and after the writing process. A ceiling is not put on what pupils can achieve in writing and pre-conceptions are not held about any pupils’ ability to make progress.
We value reading as a key life skill, and are dedicated to enabling all our pupils to become lifelong readers and be secure with reading the English language, both for enjoyment and to enable them to access the written word in everyday life in modern Britain. We encourage all pupils to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, to gain knowledge across the curriculum and develop their comprehension skills. It is our intention to ensure that, by the end of their primary education, all pupils can read fluently, and with confidence, not only to access any subject in their forthcoming secondary education, but to provide them with life skills to take them into adulthood.
Beginning in EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) and continuing through all primary years, the children develop their capacity to express themselves effectively for a variety of purposes.
The children in EYFS are exposed to a language-rich environment, with speaking and listening being the key focus across all areas of learning. Children start in our setting working below expectations for Communication and Language Development. To support this gap, we encourage parents to join in our transitional sessions where we can model, support and scaffold good practice for high quality interactions. We work hard to help parents/carers see the importance of the serve and return process from the early stages. Children with English as an additional language is also extremely high in our school. We value and encourage children’s differing languages and explain to parents/carers, how fluency in a child’s home language enables children at an early age to become efficient in learning another language. Within our EYFS setting, we ensure our provision supports children with English as an additional language by using simple repetitive language, reinforcing and embedding routines using visual timetables and ensuring our continuous provision is clearly labelled with photographs to support independent learning.
KS1 and KS2 children extend these skills to recount events, tell stories, take on dramatic roles, report, summarise and predict. Children are also provided with opportunities to compose, recite and perform poetry. All classes are encouraged to participate and complete in the yearly Speech and Drama festival, open to all schools within the local authority, and EYFS, KS1 and KS2 children take part in annual dramatic public performances.
By the time children leave Saint Augustine Webster CVA, they are competent readers who can recommend books to their peers, have a thirst for reading a range of genres including poetry, and participate in discussions about books, including evaluating an author’s use of language and the impact this can have on the reader.
Reading is promoted at the beginning of the child’s journey into school. During our home visits, prior to children starting nursery and reception, we ensure that all our children are registered with the North Lincolnshire Imagination Library Scheme. This local scheme enables all children, from birth to five, to have access to one free book every month. As the children start school, we share the North Lincolnshire Early Years activity sheets via our Online Learning Platform – Tapestry, to support parents/carers to see how one book can support many areas of a child’s overall development. In addition, we plan high quality transitional experiences for children before they start the setting. During this time, we can talk about the importance of reading and model how sharing stories and rhymes together can be enjoyed with our children.
Throughout EYFS, reading is at the heart of our provision, and we ensure all children develop a real love of reading. Throughout nursery, the children are exposed to stories, poems and non-fiction text through both adult led story times and child initiated shared experiences in the reading den. We plan explicit teaching times linked to the imagination library books to support and develop key learning within Communication and Language. Throughout the EYFS and KS1, we use the Little Wandle Scheme of Work. In nursery, children begin to learn about sounds and how we can orally blend these sounds together to make words. As children move into reception, the love of reading continues to be nurtured together with the introduction of the more formal and systematic teaching of Phonics. Within the second half of the Advent term, we then have children who are then able to begin the process of reading books independently.
Moving into KS1, children in year 1will continue to be taught phonics following the Little Wandle programme. Children recap and review phase 2 and 3 sounds during the first half term, moving onto learning phase 5 GPCs in Advent 2. All children participate in reading practice groups in which they spend three carefully sequenced lessons reading within a small guided group. These sessions cover decoding, prosody and comprehension skills. This enables children to be familiar with the text by the time they take it home to read with an adult. Children in Year 2 will continue with the Little Wandle phonics and reading practise sessions, where applicable, before moving onto age-appropriate comprehensions.
Children in KS2 complete age-appropriate comprehensions every week to ensure thorough progress within our reading objectives.
There are a plethora of opportunities for the children to read purely to stimulate their love of reading: a love of reading is promoted by children being read to each day by their class teacher, from a novel which has specifically been chosen to be engaging, stimulating and challenging; each classroom has an exciting reading area that is filled with books suitable for the children’s reading age; children have the opportunity to read silently and for enjoyment at various points during the week; and there is also a comfortable, well-stocked library where children are encouraged to take out books to read – not because it’s a book at their level – but because it’s a book that they are attracted to and have the curiosity to want to read.
The spelling, handwriting and composition strands go hand in hand throughout the curriculum.
Writing in the EYFS is woven throughout all aspects of learning and the different areas of continuous provision. All marks are embraced and celebrated as children communicating to others ‘as a writer.’ Becoming a writer begins from the early stages of a child’s development when children begin to crawl, roll, play with toys, hold their spoon to feed themselves and more. From the early stages, children begin to develop the muscles, strength and dexterity needed for becoming that future writer. As each child then joins our setting, we ensure through carefully planned, ongoing provision areas, children can explore different activities such as filling a cup in the water area, sweeping leaves outside, riding a tricycle, painting a picture to further support and target children’s Physical Development. As children move into reception, the whole school scheme of work – READ2WRITE is introduced. Through this scheme of work together with the Little Wandle scheme of work, children are then explicitly taught through carpet time sessions, how to become writers. They meet ‘Wise Owl’ who teaches them how to write a sentence. They meet the story book characters – Octopus Opening, Build Up Bear, Penguin Problem and Elephant Ending who help the children to learn how they can retell/rewrite simple stories or information texts such as a wanted poster.
Read to write empowers teachers to provide high-quality teaching of writing through children’s high-quality literature (Vehicle Texts). The units of work centre on engaging, vocabulary-rich texts, with a wealth of writing opportunities. Several of these carefully selected Vehicle Texts have strong thematic links to the Science, History and Geography curriculum. Read to Write uses a research-informed approach to our teaching of English, drawing on both reading and writing skills. We use carefully selected, vocabulary-rich texts as a vehicle for teaching reading and writing. Children follow clear, sequential episodes of learning based around an ambitious model text, that allows our students to embark upon a journey of discovery, by immersing themselves within the text. This creates an opportunity for students to determine the audience and purpose of the text, whilst being informed about the genre and exploring its form. It gives fantastic opportunity for students to develop their vocabulary and contextualised spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Reading as a writer is a key component of our approach and involves children analysing the model text to understand the techniques the author has used and the subsequent effect on the reader. Throughout the writing process, the teacher models writing and undertakes shared writing and guided writing to develop the children’s knowledge and skills, in readiness for independent writing. By providing children with a range of writing opportunities, they are given the chance to draw on their reading and to adapt their language and style for a range of contexts, purposes, and audiences. Each unit of work follows the structure outlined below (timings vary):
The impact on our children is clear: progress, sustained learning and transferrable skills. With the implementation of the reading and writing journey being well established and taught thoroughly in all key stages, children are becoming more confident writers and by the time they are in upper Key Stage 2, most genres of writing are familiar to them and the teaching can focus on creativity, writer’s craft, sustained writing and manipulation of grammar and punctuation skills. By the time the children leave their respective year groups, they will not only be fully prepared for the next stage in their education, but the following will also be applicable:
As all aspects of English are an integral part of the curriculum, cross curricular reading and writing standards have also improved and skills taught in the English lesson are transferred into other subjects; this shows consolidation of skills and a deeper understanding of how and when to use specific grammar, punctuation and grammar objectives. This observed through moderation across year levels, which is carried out termly. This helps us to identify areas of development to support our students.
We hope that as children move on from us to further their education and learning that their creativity, passion for English and high aspirations, which we have nurtured here at St Augustine Webster, travels with them and continues to grow and develop as they do.