English influences much of what we do at Fleet; children at our school love to read and write. All of our written work relates to our topic based creative curriculum and teachers work hard to create meaningful lessons that are fun and engaging for the children.
The subject encompasses writing, reading, grammar, phonics and spelling.
English in the early years includes talking about books, print in the environment, early mark making and writing, as well as sharing books, reading and developing language and communication. In Nursery and Reception we encourage children to link sounds and letters and to mark make (begin to read and write). Children are given access to a wide range of reading materials (books, poems, and other written materials) to ignite their interest. In Nursery the focus is on developing an awareness of sounds, teaching the children how to pick out different types of sounds. In Reception the children use these skills to identify different phonemes (letter sounds) and identify graphemes (written letters). Phonics is taught daily and this continues in Year 1.
Phonics and Spelling
In Year 1 and 2 the children continue to develop their phonics and follow the 'Letters and Sounds' approach using the phases from this approach in conjunction with the national curriculum objectives. From Years 2 – 6 we use a two weekly cycle of learning words around a particular convention or spelling pattern. During the two week cycle the children regular receive short spelling sessions which include a range of different activities to support the learning of new patterns through reading and writing in a fun and contextualized way. They also continually revise any known patterns during these sessions. Assessment of spelling is part of this cycle but this process will involve a range of activities rather than just testing a simple word list.
The children are supported in their writing in KS1 and KS2 by success criteria which allows objectives and tasks to be tangible for them and helps them measure their success and progress. Alongside writing, children learn phonics, punctuation, spelling and grammar. Grammar is given a high priority at Fleet and our objectives are in line with the new national curriculum. It is embedded within the lesson and taught as a ‘starter’ directly linked with the teaching objective. We teach that writing can be for a range of purposes e.g informative, narrative, discussion pieces. Across the school children learn about the characteristics of different genres and the skills needed to write in them.
All children read every day in school. During this time there will be children reading silently; guided reading groups; book clubs; one to one reading with an adult and related group tasks and activities. Our aim is to foster a love of reading across the school. We provide the children with a combination of both ‘colour banded’ and real books so they are exposed to a range. We end each day with a well -chosen, often topic related, class story which is read aloud by the class teacher. Buddy reading takes place once a week where the children from the younger classes are paired with a partner from older classes and they are able to read and listen to their favourites together.
We have a biannual Book Week where the English co-ordinator seeks out inspiring authors and illustrators to come and share their work with the children. In addition to this we mark world Book Day each year with a range of book related activities such as a character dress up day and a read-a –thon.