English is one of the core subjects and is broken down into components, these will familiar to you. They are: Writing, Reading, Grammar & Punctuation, Spelling and Handwriting.
All these areas are covered in a week. There is currently a strong emphasis on a child's understanding of Grammar and Punctuation in writing. Reading is a skill that children practise daily at Dalestorth we aim to instil a love of reading and books. As parents and carers your help in acting as 'reading role-models' is crucial. More detail is provided below, of all the areas of English.
Key Stage 1
Key Stage 1 children have an English session every day and an additional 20-30 minutes of work on Letters and Sounds. Both sessions follow the objectives set down in the National Curriculum for English. Letters and Sounds is broken down into a series of phases. Children practise handwriting and work on their fine-motor skills through a range of activities. Guided reading sessions take place daily and opportunities are provided for regular 1:1 reading.
Key Stage 2
Children from Years 3 to 6 have 4 writing lessons, 1 Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling session, 1 handwriting session and 1 reading comprehension session. With regards reading- four sessions are Guided Reading and the other is independent reading of books from the library of progress banded books.
Letters and Sounds
These sessions start in Foundation Stage and in Key Stage 1 children continue to work through the phases. These sessions take place with children, grouped by their current phonic ability. This sessions are run by both teachers and experienced Teaching Assistants. Details of the sounds and spelling patterns are provided in a link below. Many ‘Tricky’ words are looked at in these session, these are also known as common exception words and cannot be decoded using a knowledge of sounds and corresponding graphemes.
Writing work come from a range of starting points. Work linked to Topics we cover as well as work linked to events or shared texts in class. Objectives come from the National Curriculum and are specific to year groups. Talk for Writing is a feature and is the skill of drafting, editing and proof-reading work based on a model text.
We aim to provide a broad range of text types across school. Grammar and punctuation are included within the teaching of writing as they are intrinsic components to effective writing. The three areas of composition and effect, text structure and organisation and sentence structure and punctuation are developed across years and text types.
In Lower school, children have a diary to track and support reading at home. The expectation is that children will read with an adult at home at least three times a week. In addition to this reading diary, all children have a school reading record to record progress when heard at school. We aim to hear all children at least once a week in Key Stage 1. Also coming home may be Key Words, this are a limited number of words to secure.
Books that are read in class and taken home are banded following the nationally recognised progression through coloured bands (Pink through to Lime). Beyond Lime the bands continue as stories become longer and the language, punctuation and themes become more complex.
In the Key Stage 1 library we have a broad range of titles from a range of publishers. Children are expected to read a range of these from an appropriate book band before they are moved up a band by a member of staff. One of the key signals that children are confident at a given book band is fluency. Other skills are covered on the book marks provided. Children who are struggling with reading will be given additional support- this may be simple more 1:1 reading or a programme such as Switch-On Reading.
Guided Reading continues in Key Stage 1. Pupils work with an adult in ability groups to read, discuss and respond to a range of texts. Children also work independently on skills linked to reading.
In KS2, children have a diary to track and support reading at home. The expectation is that children will read with an adult at home at least once a week. Even though we encourage independence as children progress through school, it is vital that an adult at home takes an interest and supports reading at home. In addition to this reading diary, all children have a school reading record to record progress when heard at school. We aim to hear all children at every fortnight in Key Stage 2. Teaching Assistants, Students, Parent Volunteers and Teachers will all listen to children read as and when time allows. Children should change their books as and when they finish a title. We encourage to read a broad range of titles, author and text type. Again, the children progress through the book bands. Moving on from Lime there are six more bands to progress through; these are White through to Black. The texts become longer and the language, punctuation and themes become more complex. The key signal that children are confident at a given book band is fluency. Children who are struggling with reading will be given additional support and will need additional reading at home.
In Key Stage 2 Guided Reading is carried out four times a week for half an hour. If a group is working with an adult then the focus is looking at key reading assessment skills related to the text they have been given. Those working independently are looking at a range of challenging and stimulating tasks linked to the book they are reading. One of the key purposes is for children to read books in completion and respond to these texts through directed discussions. The assessment points feed into the children’s understanding of how texts are structured, how and why authors write and a growing awareness of how this will allow them to develop as writers.
The books read in Guided Reading are at an instructional level and should be a band above their class reading book.
Grammar and Spelling
At Key Stage 1, much work is done through the Letters and Sounds scheme to develop children’s spelling choices. The teaching of grammar is integrated within English sessions and then consolidated during writing sessions.
The terminology of Grammar is an important aspect to the teaching of this subject. Our aim is to develop the following skills: knowledge and understanding, and ability to recognise different grammatical features and then the confidence to use these skills in their own writing. We use a range of resources to deliver these skills.
All KS2 children have a spelling lesson and a test once a week. The spelling patterns are set down in the appendices below. Spelling patterns and rules are looked at and learnt to help pupils make informed spelling choices when wishing to write an unfamiliar word.
Please see the Grammar glossary below.
At Dalestorth we follow the Pen Pals programme of handwriting, this scheme is used across school. Work starts in the Foundation Stage on letter formation and Key Stage 1 continues to secure correct letter formation and improve fine-motor control skills through a variety of activities. Joining starts in Year 1 and continues through KS1 covering a range of joins and refining previous joins. Some children benefit from additional support and intervention groups target these children. Good posture and pencil grip are continuously reinforced. Through Years 3 and 4 handwriting joins are concluded, refined and consolidated. All children should be joining and developing their own style. They work in pencil during these sessions. They may earn a "pen license" graduating on to writing in pen . Pen is used all the time in Years 5 and 6. Support is given for those who still struggle with the control needed; this may be as simple as a different pen or pen gripper.