The skills and knowledge of the English curriculum are taught through discrete English, phonics, reading, reading, spelling lessons and storytime. Skills are further developed within the wider curriculum. It is a subject in its own right and the medium for teaching; for pupils, understanding language provides access to the whole curriculum. Through being taught to write and speak fluently, pupils learn to communicate their ideas and emotions to others; through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development hence through our recommended reading books, rich vocabulary is introduced.
Speaking and Listening
Throughout the school, opportunities to develop pupil’s spoken language in a range of contexts underpins the development of reading and writing. Pupils are encouraged to speak clearly, confidently and with expression in order to communicate their ideas and feelings. They are taught to understand and use the conventions for discussion and debate.
Pupils develop their ability to explain their understanding of books and other reading, and to prepare their ideas before they write. They are encouraged to discuss their ideas in order to make sense of their learning.
Spoken Language and Debating progression map
English Progression map
The importance of early reading, our approach to teaching phonics
At Fielding phonics is taught through the systematic acquisition of sounds using the synthetic phonics programme, Ruth Miskin’s ‘Read Write Inc.’
Phonics is the method of teaching children to read by linking sounds (phonemes) and their symbols (graphemes). Phonics lessons begin during spring term in Nursery and following baseline assessments in Reception for those who join from other settings.
Children are introduced to 'single sounds' such as /p/, /o/ and practise recognising them, writing them and 'blending' them. 'Blending' is the ability to combine sounds together in order to create a word. Teaching staff ensure all phonemes are pronounced purely, without an additional 'uh' on the end of each sound – known as 'schwa' - which can potentially confuse children when combining the sounds together into words, for example:
/p/ /o/ /t/ = pot (correct)
/puh/ /o/ /tuh/ = puhotuh (incorrect)
Phonics lessons continue throughout Reception and Year 1 when children are exposed to more complex phonemes such as 'ay' in 'stay' and 'ee' in 'see'. Pupils are taught that these sounds are called 'digraphs' because 'two letters represent one sound', or 'trigraphs' when 'three letters make one sound' such as /air/ in 'fair'. In order to help children decode each word, dots (for single sounds) and dashes (for digraphs and trigraphs) are marked under words.
The 'Phonics Screening Check' is taken individually by all children in Year 1 and is designed to give feedback to teachers and parents on how each child is progressing in Phonics. Pupils are asked to read 20 real words and 20 pseudo words, known to the children as 'alien words', in order to ensure children are decoding the words instead of memorising or guessing. ‘Alien words’ are introduced to children in Reception.
The Simple View of Reading theory underpins our approach to early reading according to which confident readers have the ability to:
- decode a word
- comprehend the meaning of each word they read
The absence of any of the above skills will result in a child having week reading skills.
All children have explicit phonics lessons throughout their first three years at school, starting from Nursery in order to ensure they have enough time to become secure with their decoding skills. Phonics teaching is accompanied by Read Write Inc ‘Grapheme, Phoneme, Correspondence’ ditty books which are read in buddy-reading pairs and during Guided Reading with the teacher. These books correspond to the sound that is currently being learned. ‘Read Write Inc Home books’ are sent home to further consolidate the learned sound and increase pupils’ success with reading. Gradually, pupils are exposed to a variety of texts which build their comprehension skills and their vocabulary throughout the curriculum. As a result of this, children become confident readers early on and shift from ‘learning to read’ to ‘reading to learn.’
For a more detailed breakdown of our phonics teaching see our map below.
Whole Class Teaching of Reading
Once children are fluent readers and/or from the Summer term in Year 2, teachers use the whole class teaching of reading approach to teach reading comprehension. Teachers choose a high-quality, ‘beautiful’ text for these lessons which ideally links to what is being taught at the same time in the curriculum and contains a number of words which are unknown to the children.
An example structure for the whole class teaching of reading is set out below:
This provides the context for the reading. The teacher will present the cover of the text to activate children’s prior knowledge and discuss the main themes of the text, including some prediction of the contents.
Explicit teaching of vocabulary
Teachers skim the text to find 6 words which the children are unlikely to understand. They teach these words explicitly using the SEEC model above.
Reading the text
The teacher reads a chapter or section aloud to the children while they follow along using a ruler in their own copy of the text. The children should be able to notice and explain words they come across that have been pre-taught.
Teaching of a reading skill through the text
The teacher will explicitly teach a skill, such as summarising, using the book. They will model how to use evidence from the text and provide children with the opportunity to write a shared response to a question.
Individual application of a skill
The teacher sets a task for each child to complete based on the skill that they have taught. This may be scaffolded for some children and extended further for others. The teacher will work with a particular group to support or extend their understanding.
From Nursery through to Year 6, every class has a daily storytime session. Children listen to a range of stories, poems and non-fiction texts which have been carefully chosen to develop children’s knowledge of the world around them, to build knowledge of vocabulary and establish an appreciation and love of reading.
How our reading books are organised
Pupils move through the phonics stages as detailed in our phonics map. Once they have mastered the sounds within our programme and can read fluently, they will move on to our banded books. These books have been banded based on 'lexile' ratings to ensure they read and explore a range of vocabulary.
Pupils take home two reading books. One from our banded books and one of interest, this could be from the recommended reading list or from the school library. This could be a book they can read by themselves or one they will read together with an adult at home.
Recommended Reading lists
Our recommended reading lists contain 40 age-appropriate books for children in each year group. We have taken the time to carefully choose books that will hopefully capture children's imagination and develop a rich vocabulary. The lists contain colour-bands and a description of the books so that the children are able to 'cherry-pick' their favourites according to their lexile-band level and their personal interests.It is expected that all children will read all 40 books, achieving award certificates as they do so.
Inspiring our pupils to read.
Find our what got some of our teachers into reading!
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