At St Luke's Primary School, English is at the heart of our learning and teaching and essential to every area of the curriculum. We aim to develop a child’s love of reading through widespread reading for enjoyment. We promote and encourage children to discover the value of strong communication and the importance of reading and writing in all aspects of their lives. A strong understanding of literacy skills gives children the building blocks for all their future learning.
Our children are driven to engage with a variety of different texts and genres from Nursery to Year 6. They use their problem solving skills from early on in their Literacy learning to decode and later deduce themes from the books they study. Children follow the EYFS and National Curriculum.
THE TEACHING OF ENGLISH AT ST LUKE'S PRIMARY SCHOOL
In the EYFS, children are exposed to Literacy right from the start through sharing books with adults, listening to, learning and performing nursery rhymes, songs and stories. We recognise that literacy skills are dependent on communication skills and there is a strong focus on the development of listening and attention, understanding and speaking. Children who have delayed language skills are identified early and additional support is put in place to help them to catch up. The EYFS environment offers a literacy rich environment promoting engagement with reading and writing across the curriculum both inside and outside. Systematic phonics teaching is introduced from Nursery through the Letters and Sounds Programme and children are supported in developing their reading skills using books that are matched to their phonic knowledge. Children are given opportunities to develop their gross and fine motor skills in preparation for writing. There are numerous activities and resources that promote mark making and when ready children are introduced to letter formation through direct teaching of handwriting. A love of writing is promoted through giving children opportunities to write for a variety of purposes throughout the environment. In Reception more structured activities support children’s writing development alongside these other opportunities.
Throughout Year 1 to Year 6 Literacy is taught through a Whole Book Approach. This is an immersive approach to teaching English, allowing for connections to be made to all other areas of the English curriculum. Each year group is taught via class texts that are used by the class teacher to underpin the teaching of all aspects of English – speaking, listening, reading and writing. This allows children to study a genre for deeper understanding before applying their knowledge to create their own written pieces. The book will be linked to other curriculum subjects to foster a cross-curricular approach to learning.
THE WHOLE BOOK APPROACH TO LITERACY
The teaching of a genre takes approximately 5 weeks and follows the teaching sequence below:
Immersion in the text type:
Children study an example(s) of a text type so that they can see what a good example looks like. They will pull this apart to understand the genre features and text level objectives (appropriate to their year group). This phase will involve opportunities to teach comprehension skills, vocabulary clarification and drama opportunities to explore the genre. A learning wall will be created for key learning from this stage.
Building towards a writing outcome:
Children are taught grammar and sentence level objectives in preparation for their final written outcome. Short writing opportunities (note taking, diary entries, character profiles etc.) allow children to ‘have a go’ with their’ new learning’. Activities will be closely aligned with the studied text plot or content, depending on the genre.
Children write their first piece of extended writing. This is scaffolded by modelling and shared writing.
The final written outcome:
The children now plan and write their own, independent piece of extended writing. Children will have the opportunity to proof-read and edit their writing to create a final edit for their writing portfolios.
WHAT TO EXPECT TO SEE IN AN ENGLISH LESSON
• Less direct whole class teaching and more of an emphasis on independent exploration and guided practice for grammar, spelling and punctuation.
• Speaking and listening activities.
• Word-banks and other writing resources readily available to aid children’s understanding and learning.
• More able children being challenged.
• Teachers and TAs targeting any children who requires more support, both during the lesson and in intervention sessions.
• Children’s work will be marked in lessons where possible with adult support to correct misconceptions. Verbal feedback on the next steps will be given to deepen and extend learning.
• Self and Peer assessment: Children are also encouraged to take ownership of the marking process and to assess the next steps in their learning.
WHAT TO EXPECT TO SEE IN ENGLISH EXERCISE BOOKS.
• Clear sequencing of learning of text type.
• Evidence of new learning being applied in extended pieces of writing.
• Clear evidence of progression and differentiation- more able children doing additional more challenging tasks
• Where children have received additional adult support or rapid interventions this will be clearly indicated.
• Evidence of children self-assessing their progress against learning objectives.
• High presentation expectations.
• Clear evidence of curriculum coverage.
We place a strong emphasis on phonics teaching from Nursery (when ready) to Year 2 because we believe this lays the foundations for successful reading. St. Luke's teaches children how to read through the DfE approved Essential Letters and Sounds Systematic Synthetic Phonics Programme which is designed to teach reading through the act of decoding and blending.
An SSP teaches children the link between the sounds of our language (phonemes) and the written representation of these sounds (graphemes), or the spellings of the sounds contained within the English language.
These lessons are taught every morning to all children from Nursery to Year 2. Children are regularly assessed for progress to ensure all children are continuously taught to their individual needs. Children in lower KS2 who did not pass their phonics screening at the end of KS1 are given additional phonics support.
All children from Nursery to Year 3 take home a reading levelled book appropriate to their needs to practice their reading at home with parents and family. This also applies to children in Years 4 – 6 who need additional reading support.
DAILY SUPPORTED READING
In Year 1 we use Daily Supported Reading alongside phonics for teaching reading. The Daily Supported Reading method has a proven track record of raising reading attainment in KS1. Children read in ability groups daily with an adult following a set script. This instils good reading routines and practice from a young age and helps all children increase their enjoyment and maximise their progress in reading.
Whole Class Reading
All children from Years 2-6 have a time-tabled daily Whole Class Reading lesson. Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher and their peers through high quality text ranging from stories, poems to non-fiction. Children are exposed to texts with challenging or new vocabulary and words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech.
ENCOURAGING AN APPRECIATION AND LOVE OF READING AT HOME AND SCHOOL
All St Luke's pupils from Nursery to Year 6 are encouraged to develop their love of reading. This is achieved through the positive promotion of reading both at school and home. All children are read to at least once daily and every class has access to a high quality, well- resourced book corner. Children have opportunities to visit the school library. Children take part in the Islington Reading Road Map Challenge every year and parents and children are encouraged to participate in the Winter and Summer Reading Challenges at their local library. Children are encouraged to read books both at school and home and are motivated by certificates celebrating reading milestones.
Reading is high profile in the school and events such as World Book Day celebrate this positive reading culture.
In addition to this, all children from Nursery to Year 2 are subscribed to ‘Bug Club’, an e-reading platform which caters for children with a preference for a digital platform.
A team of reading volunteers from local partners and supporters read with children identified as benefiting from a reading mentor. In KS1 this involves Tutormate - an online platform that pairs corporate volunteers from all over the UK with disadvantaged children in KS1 who need reading practice. In KS2, we partner corporate reading volunteers with children who not only require reading support but will benefit from receiving quality ‘me time’ with an additional dedicated adult to explore topics that arise from their reading.
For spelling we follow the No Nonsense spelling scheme because it supports the National Curriculum expectations and provides suitable teaching sequences and guidance. The scheme is easy to adapt into the Whole Book Approach teaching sequence.
We follow the Nelson Handwriting scheme across the school and teach short 15 minute lessons weekly to enable children to form and join letters correctly.
WRITING FOR PLEASURE
Children are encouraged to develop a love of writing through opportunities to write creatively within and outside of the curriculum. This includes Poetry and Short Story Competitions. Children are encouraged to share and perform their writing for example in Sharing Assembly.
Updated October 2022