Subject Leader: Mr Laithwaite/Miss Winter
At Temple Sowerby CE Primary School, we believe that reading and communication are key life skills. Through an engaging English curriculum, we will help children develop the skills and knowledge needed to enable them to become lifelong readers and learners and to communicate effectively and creatively through spoken and written language and equip them with the skills. We want children to enjoy and appreciate literature and its rich variety.
At Temple Sowerby CE Primary School, it is our belief that every child should be able to read for pleasure and to a high standard. We aim to ensure that every child is given the tools to develop into an enthusiastic and confident reader both at home and at school. Reading improves language and vocabulary, inspires imagination and gives everyone the opportunity to develop and foster new interests.
Every child is taught a range of strategies to support their development to become a confident, independent reader. In Foundation and Key Stage 1, Phonics is taught on a daily basis and, as children progress through school, it is then developed further through English lessons and weekly guided reading sessions. Guided reading allows children not only to read books chosen specifically for the children, but also to talk about them with their peers and with their teacher to develop their comprehension. As part of this approach, we use Literacy Shed’s ‘VIPERS’ resources to ensure children learn key skills of vocabulary, inference, prediction, explanation, retrieval and summarising. Opportunities for children to engage in group reading and independent reading activities are timetabled each week, and we run intervention groups and 1 to 1 support sessions.
We also provide children with a rich environment to help develop an interest in stories and reading. Teachers read for pleasure on a daily basis, whether through whole-class books, stories in collective worship, or the use of high-quality magazines and newspapers at the start of the day. They also use quality texts in all aspects of their teaching, both in English lessons (using resources such as the Power of Reading project and Literacy Shed) and across the curriculum to extend and enrich children’s learning.
Children are encouraged to read regularly outside of school and we run reading challenges, in which children are rewarded for reading at home to parents. All children have access to a range of books which are banded in accordance with their reading ability. We track the children’s progress through these ‘colour bands’ to ensure they are moved on to the next stage when ready. To further encourage children to engage with the local library service, we are visited regularly by the schools’ library van and arrange annual visits to Penrith library for workshops where children learn how to use the facilities, and how to find and borrow books. As part of this, all parents are asked to sign up their children for a library card. In the summer term, the library staff visit school to introduce their ‘Summer Reading Challenge’; all children are encouraged to take part and, as a result, Temple Sowerby won the Cumbria competition in both 2018 and 2019.
Children are encouraged to express themselves by writing in different contexts and for a variety of purposes and audiences. We develop children’s creativity, imagination, vocabulary, spelling and handwriting through the teaching of writing. We do this through modelling good practice, using good examples and setting writing targets to aid self-improvement. We give each child the opportunity to discuss and assess their own writing and the work of others through self and peer assessment.
We believe that good presentation skills are important as we want children to value and take pride in their own work. Children are taught to write using a joined style from the beginning of their time here through regular practice and through providing opportunities to produce high-quality written pieces.
To develop children’s spelling, we teach phonics on a daily basis in Class 1. We follow ‘Letters & Sounds’ and include ‘Jolly Phonics’ actions. Children in Classes 2 and 3 learn different spelling rules in discrete 30 minutes sessions each morning and each child has a differentiated set of spellings to learn each week. Copies of these spellings are sent home to encourage parental support and children practise on arrival each morning using the ‘Look, Cover, Write, Check’ method.
Speaking and Listening
We regularly plan a range of speaking and listening activities in all areas of the curriculum. In lessons, children are regularly given opportunities to discuss ideas with ‘talk partners’, work in groups and share ideas with the class. We encourage good speaking and listening behaviours, which we discuss during focused English sessions. Children participate in show and tell sessions, each class has the opportunity to perform class assemblies on our school values and the older children plan and prepare class talks on subjects of their choice. All children take part in whole school performances each year in front of large audiences in the local village hall.
By the end of Key Stage 1 pupils will have been given the opportunity to develop their abilities in reading, writing, speaking and listening. They will have made progress in reading, from phonetic awareness through to word recognition coupled with blending and segmenting skills. Furthermore, pupils will have been given the tools to start to develop comprehension in reading. Writers will have made progress towards achieving end of Key Stage targets. They will have developed skills in handwriting, grammar, punctuation, grammar and composition, having had opportunities to write in different fiction and non-fiction genres. Children will have started to be able to speak with confidence about their learning and their lives whilst developing an appreciation of what it means to listen, not just to their learning opportunities but also to the views and experiences of each other.
We want children to be able to express themselves by the end of Key Stage 2. We also want them to possess the skills in English not just to allow them to succeed in secondary school but as future skills for life. Pupils will have made progress from Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 2 in their reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. This will ideally be to the expected national standard but for those children not meeting the standard by the end of Key Stage 1 we want pupils to have made more than expected progress towards the expected standard at Key Stage 2. We want children to have developed a love for reading. They will be developing into confident speakers and will be able to listen to their teachers as keen learners and their peers with interest. Children will know and understand the importance of being able to write in both fiction and non-fiction genres, developing expressive skills and important presentation life skills respectively.