Whitefield English Intent
English is crucial to the success of pupils in both their career aspirations and their quality of life. Strong English skills are encouraged at Whitefield and our book based curriculum has had a huge impact on the children. Books in the curriculum have been specifically chosen to broaden pupil’s thoughts and ideas of different cultures and periods of time. The book based curriculum has put English into context and learning has become more meaningful to both teachers and pupils. The ability to read, write and articulate ideas are promoted in other areas of the curriculum.
The children’s enjoyment of writing will shine in their bold vocabulary choices, careful presentation and clear understanding of what they are writing about. Additionally, they will use precise grammatical terminology to discuss and learn from a variety of texts and to explain their own writing choices. Their resulting skills, knowledge and passion for writing will lead to success in further education, employment and personal life endeavours.
Our readers are equipped with the tools to tackle unfamiliar vocabulary. They are able to recommend books to their peers and enjoy reading a wide range of genres, including non-fiction. Children enjoy participating in book talks, including evaluating an author’s use of language and how this can affect the reader. We encourage our pupils to see themselves as cultured readers and to be confident in discussing not only whether they enjoy a text but also the extent to which they agree with it. We ensure the books we read are part of our rich reading diet and in our books corners are representative of our wider school community and reflect the diversity of our Whitefield community. It is our aim to promote a love of reading and the ability to critically evaluate books. As such we encourage children to read within whole class teaching, group work and guided reading sessions.
How we teach Phonics
Read Write Inc. Phonics teaches children to read accurately and fluently with good comprehension. They learn to form each letter, spell correctly, and compose their ideas step-by-step.
Children learn the English alphabetic code: first they learn one way to read the 40+ sounds and blend these sounds into words, then learn to read the same sounds with alternative graphemes. They experience success from the very beginning. Lively phonic books are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and ‘tricky’ words and, as children re-read the stories, their fluency increases. Along with a thought-provoking introduction, prompts for thinking out loud and discussion, children are helped to read with a storyteller’s voice.
How we teach Reading (KS2)
We teach reading comprehension through reading lessons. Each half term, children will read and analyse their book-based curriculum core text. Reading lessons include:
- An element of prosody (reading with feeling)
- A close look at key vocabulary that children may be unfamiliar with
- Unpicking the key skills (vocabulary, inference, prediction, explain, retrieval, summarising)
- Modelled answering of questions
- Opportunities to apply the day's reading skills independently
- A frequent reading for pleasure session
- Teaching fluency by model reading, echo reading, choral reading and paired reading
In addition to our reading lessons in KS2, we also provide children with:
- Opportunities to read for pleasure
- Interventions for children in years 3-6 (for any child who is not a fluent reader)
- Regular story times
- Regular, open ended discussions about stories and books.
- Opportunities to read and discuss a wide read of genres including poetry and non-fiction.
To encourage regular reading at home, pupils from Reception through to Year 6 are encouraged to take part in the RED (Read Every Day) Challenge. To take part in the RED Challenge, children need to read at home five times every week. Each time they read at home, we ask that an adult signs their reading record. Each Friday we add up how many children have achieved the RED award in each class to see who has won the RED award. The winning class receive £10 to spend on books for their class library.
At Whitefield, we use Accelerated Reader as our reading scheme. Accelerated Reader is a reading program that helps teachers support and monitor children’s reading practice. The children pick a book at their own level and read it at their own pace. When finished, they take a short online quiz to measure how much of the book they understood. Passing the quiz is an indication that your child understood what was read. AR gives children and teachers feedback based on the quiz results, which the teacher then uses to help your child set goals and direct ongoing reading practice. The children then take a half termly assessment to measure their progress and comprehension.
These activities include child initiated and teacher led questioning, reading for reflection, evaluating word and punctuation choice and comprehension.
How we teach Writing
Writing is a primary means of expression, both for personal cognitive purposes and for communicating meaning with others. Our aim is to develop in our children the ability to communicate their ideas fluently and accurately through their writing.
Pupils learn how to write with confidence, fluency, imagination and accuracy by orchestrating their knowledge of context and composition (text level), grammatical knowledge (sentence level) and knowledge of phonics, word recognition and graphic knowledge (word level at Key Stage 1) and a wider range of spelling strategies at Key Stage 2.
We provide a wide variety of reasons and purposes for writing and in the early years provide many opportunities for child initiated and role-play writing.
As soon as children are able to form most letters correctly and have a good pencil grip, we teach a fluent and legible handwriting style that empowers children to write with confidence and creativity. We encourage children to ‘have a go’ at writing as soon as possible and to use their phonic skills and knowledge to spell.
At Whitefield, we teach writing following a three-staged approach of: Imitation, Innovation, and Invention; incorporating the ‘Talk for Writing’ principles. Teachers regularly model writing in daily shared writing sessions and we provide regular opportunities for children’s writing and ideas to be shared, displayed, published and celebrated.
This approach centres on children learning quality texts off by heart so that rich language and structure is embedded and built upon in every year group. Talk for Writing enables children to imitate the key language they need for a particular topic orally before they try reading and analysing it. We teach all of our English through fun activities that help them rehearse the tune of the language they need, followed by shared writing to show them how to craft their writing. This enables them to choose the writer tools they want to use in their independent writing, which in turn helps them to develop their own literacy voice.
All of our writing is taught with a clear audience and purpose in mind.