The overarching aim for English teaching at Thames is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written language, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. Our curriculum for English is predicated on our desire to ensure that all pupils:
- Read easily, fluently and with good understanding
- Develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
- Acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
- Appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
- Write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
- Use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
- Are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.
At Thames we believe that learning to read is essential to the future success of every child. Therefore, developing and fostering a love of reading is a high priority at Thames in our desire to grow children who are confident and fluent readers. We have a well established and rigorous programme for the systematic teaching of phonics in key stage one and this has ensured that pupils leave year 1 well above children nationally in terms of their ability to decode and read words. Regular half termly assessments by the reading leader ensure identification of those children making slower progress who may be in need of some ‘one to one’ intervention. These children then receive a daily 10 minute slot with an adult and one to one with a key stage 2 ‘Phonics Friend’ to help them catch up. All year groups have daily reading sessions which vary between individual, guided group reading and whole class guided reading. A key focus for us this year is on further developing pupils understanding of vocabulary in context. All children have a class novel that is read to them daily which is a special time in every classroom where children can really enjoy a good book.
Reading ability and fluency is assessed regularly and children who need catch up intervention are identified and targeted for support in addition to their their daily classroom diet. We have an army of trained volunteers who come into school regularly and read one to one with targeted pupils. Year 5 and 6 children have been trained as reading partners also and work alongside younger pupils to help them develop confidence, fluency and comprehension of what they have read. We employ the use of specialist computer programmes such as Lexia to support struggling readers in KS2 and pupils access this both at home and in school.
In KS1 our English teaching is rooted in the ‘Read, Write Inc’ programme and children are taught in small and flexible groups. Key features of this approach include:
- Systematic teaching of phonics at the level appropriate for individual children
- Regular half termly assessments by the reading leader with identification of those children making slower progress who may be in need of some ‘one to one’ intervention
- Daily reading aloud with a partner or individually, to develop fluency and expression
- RWInc books to regularly be used to support home reading, even for those children who have little or no support at home
- Links made with phonics and spellings
- Activities to develop confidence in speaking
- Writing opportunities incorporating drama and partner work, which scaffold the children’s writing process and inspire them to ‘have a go’
- A strong focus on the teaching of vocabulary and grammar.
The following are links to You Tube videos, providing a further insight into RWInc:
An overview of RWInc https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6dSsXkD1wM
Pronunciation of sounds, set 1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5J2Ddf_0Om8
Blending sounds into words https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEzfpod5w_Q
In KS2 we follow a book-based approach, choosing high quality texts which are often linked to the topic for the half term. The English teaching is rooted in a teaching sequence which begins with immersing children in a high quality text and then in the analysis of the key features, main ideas and themes, characters and plots. Through this we then teach the key skills of spelling, grammar, punctuation, handwriting and composition and provide the children with lots of opportunities to write for a wide range of purposes and audiences.