English at Fielding Primary School is taught discretely in English lessons, guided reading and phonics and spelling lessons. Skills in English 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.
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.
Fielding ensures 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 resources below.
Comprehension skills are developed in guided reading sessions through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction within English lessons. Within guided reading and English, children read widely a range of fiction and non-fiction texts to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum.
How our reading books are organised
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 your 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 book-band level and their personal interests.It is expected that all children will read all 40 books, achieving award certificates as they do so.