'Believe Achieve Succeed'
The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy 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. National Curriculum, July 2016.
Being a Reader
Here at Millbrook Primary School, reading is a highly valued aspect of the curriculum. Reading provides the opportunity for children to develop their vocabulary and imaginations; give opinions in class discussions; take ideas to use in their writing; and, ultimately, interpret and become engaged in the world around us. During the school day, children regularly encounter a variety of texts in a range of settings: early morning work; English lessons; Guided Reading; topic lessons; assemblies; school library browsing time; the classroom book corner; or through listening to a story as a class.
“Reading is the rocket that will take you to infinite worlds. Jump aboard!”
Children at Millbrook enjoy having literature read to them, starting with picture books and stories in our nursery, through to reading a class novel in KS2. Children progress in early reading through the use of the Letters and Sounds phonics programme from reception – year 2. Children across the school follow our structured staged reading program, which starts in KS1 with phonetically decodable books from the Oxford Reading Tree. From Year 3 onwards, children migrate onto the Accelerated Reader program. Our pupils also have access to well-stocked book corners in each classroom and our school library, where they can borrow books to enjoy at home. We also provide a wealth of enrichment opportunities, such as author visits and workshops; attending the Wantage Children’s Literary Festival each year, and weekly librarian sessions at our local library. This ensures that children benefit from access to positive role models from the local and wider community. Our aim is to promote a love of reading amongst our children, and our regular whole school events, such as World Book Day celebrations, book fairs and access to the First News children’s newspaper serve to support this goal.
Our school library is open every day to children from Year 1 upwards. Children are allowed to borrow any book within the library, giving them access to a greater range of genres than those found in their class book corners. As well as fiction, we have weekly newspapers, graphic novels and an extensive non-fiction section. The library is also open every break and lunchtime (except Wednesdays) for children to come and read or partake in reading inspired activities. The library is staffed by our librarian Mrs Hinder and our team of 'Junior Librarians'. Their responsibilities include: Restocking books when returned, Helping issue books during lunchtimes when the library is open, Helping children choose new reading books when they are stuck, Sorting new books into their correct placements, Tidying the library, ensuring it looks as neat and as inviting as possible
Being a Writer
Pupils should develop the stamina and skills to write at length, with accurate spelling and punctuation. National Curriculum, July 2014At Millbrook, we use a text-based approach to teaching writing. Using quality, language-rich books to ‘hook’ the children, not only embeds reading in our English curriculum, but it inspires their writing. Each chosen text acts as an ‘umbrella’ under which the children are taught to write for a clear purpose and known audience, using a range of fiction and non-fiction writing opportunities.
You can make anything by writing.”
Our writing curriculum has been developed with fine attention to ensure that as children progress through the school, their skills develop in both an age and stage appropriate way. Each unit of writing develops progressively with children developing their speaking and listening skills, vocabulary, sentence structure, punctuation, grammar and organisational skills. Within this, there is an emphasis on drafting, editing and redrafting. Examples of this include pupils and their peers proposing changes to vocabulary and grammar in order to make their writing more interesting to read, as well as proof-reading for spelling and punctuation errors. This also helps children transfer their English skills to all lessons across the curriculum.We have high expectations for handwriting and presentation across the school and we teach the children to use a cursive script from Foundation Stage upwards.
Vocabulary, Grammar and Punctuation
Throughout the programmes of study, teachers should teach pupils the vocabulary they need to discuss their reading, writing and spoken language. It is important that pupils learn the correct grammatical terms in English and that these terms are integrated within teaching. National Curriculum, July 2014The explicit teaching of Vocabulary, Grammar and Punctuation is essential to the development of children’s speech and writing. Children from Year 1 to 6 learn key grammar and punctuation concepts in the context of writing sentences. Having a firm understanding of these allow children to be confident in building and manipulating interesting and varied sentences. Furthermore, they can then discuss and analyse their own language and grammar choices, as well as those of others, using the appropriate terminology. While this knowledge prepares the children for the end of KS1 and KS2 SATs tests, it also helps them to write with improved accuracy and confidence.
At Millbrook, we aim to develop confident, fluent and passionate readers and writers from an early stage. We use synthetic phonics as the initial method for teaching children to learn to read words. This is a process that first teaches the letter sounds, building up to blending these sounds together to achieve full pronunciation of whole words. Our phonics teaching also includes the modelling of how to segment sounds in a word. This allows children to hear the sounds that they need to write when spelling a word. Phonics is taught in a systematic way across the school using the Letters and Sounds programme. Children access daily explicit phonics sessions from Year R to Year 2, with further support being provided in KS2 if necessary. Phonics is taught in a multisensory way, providing children with fun, interactive opportunities to learn through using physical resources, visual cues, singing, dancing, games, ICT, articulating sounds and making choices.
In KS1, Year 1 continue to follow the Letters and Sounds phonics programme, whilst Year 2 children initially follow this scheme, and then progress to learning simple spelling rules and patterns from the National Curriculum. In KS2, Spelling is taught daily through short interactive games and investigations of spelling rules and patterns. This allows children to embed their newly-learned skills by practising a