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 hour’s English every day and an additional 20-30 minutes of work on Letters and Sounds. Both session follow the objectives set down in the National Curriculum for English. Letters and Sounds is broken down into a series of phases. In addition children practise handwriting and work on their fine-motor skills through a range of activities. Reading takes place daily with guided reading sessions and opportunities are provided for regular 1:1 reading.
There are two books used in Keys Stage 1; these are Writing and English. The English book contains a range of key areas, such as handwriting, sentence work and word level work.
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.
Grammar and Spelling
Much work is done through the Letters and Sounds scheme to develop children’s spelling choices. Grammar is also taught during the writing sessions. As the Year 2’s will sit a Grammar and Punctuation test at the end of the year there will be additional session to consolidate understanding. The areas needed to be covered in Years 1 and 2 are attached below. There is a focus on children needing to be able to use the correct terminology confidently.
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 Keys Stage 1 library we have a broad range of title 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.
Letters and Sounds
These session started in Foundation Stage and in Key Stage 1 children continue to work through the phases. Currently there are five Letters and Sounds groups, which make for small intense work groups to support children of differing abilities. 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.
Key Stage 2
Children from Years 3 to 6 have an hours English a week, with an additional 30 minutes focused on reading. The hour of English is split into: a comprehension lesson, two lessons looking at writing a range of texts and two lessons looking at Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling. With regards reading- four sessions are Guided Reading and the other is independent reading of books from the library of progress banded books.
Writing work come from a range of starting points. Work linked to Topics from the Inspire Curriculum 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.
The text types covered are attached. We aim to provide a broad range of text types over the first three years in juniors. Year 6 looks to build a port-folio of text examples for the end of year, to include hybrid texts (letter/persuasion). 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.
At Dalestorth we follow the Pen Pals programme of handwriting, this scheme is used across school. Through Lower Juniors handwriting joins are concluded, refined and consolidated. All children should be joining following the Pen Pals Programme and developing their own style. Lower Juniors work in pencil during these sessions and graduate on to writing in pen. Pen is used all the time in Upper Juniors. Support is given for those who still struggle with the control needed as is support given for those children who are left handed; this may be as simple as a different pen or pen gripper. There is a hand writing session once a week, although this is replaced by revision in Year 6 at an appropriate time.
Grammar and Spelling
All junior children have a spelling test once a week. In year 3 & 4 the number of spellings given is 15 and cover the spelling patterns set down in appendices below. There will be different spelling groups based on ability and a certain number of the spellings will be unseen to test how well a given spelling pattern and associated rules have been learnt. Like in Key Stage One there are sets of key words that need to be secured.
The number of spellings increases in Year 5 and 6 and again there are unseen spellings.
Spelling patterns and rules are looked at and learnt to help pupils make informed spelling choices when wishing to write an unfamiliar word.
Grammar lessons serve two purposes. Firstly and most importantly they help develop effective writers and secondly they help prepare children for the Grammar and Punctuation Test at the end of Year 6. We have two lessons a week focused on Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling. Again details of what is being covered in each age group is linked below. 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.
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. There is one designated 30 minute slot a week to hear readers. 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.
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. Moving on from Lime there are six more bands to progress through; these are White through to Black.
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.