English Provision at Ropery Walk is aligned to those of the National Curriculum.
The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum 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. The national curriculum for English aims 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
Teaching children to read and to be readers is, arguably, the most important role for primary education as reading opens up opportunities – for enjoyment, learning, empathy and understanding. It is therefore a central aim at Ropery Walk Primary School that all children should become competent, effective readers who decode accurately, read with comprehension and, most importantly, take enjoyment in reading. We aim to develop children who not only can read but do read.
Reading Aims and Objectives
Through a lively, engaging comprehension curriculum we seek to:
- Develop children’s positive attitudes to reading so that they are committed, independent readers by the time they leave our school
- Teach children the skills and strategies they need to be able to understand and read effectively, whether they are reading for pleasure or to find information
- Improve their understanding – and hence their enjoyment – of different sorts of text
- Introduce children to a wide range of high-quality texts, both fiction and non-fiction, and to excellent authors and illustrators, in order to help them make informed choices for themselves about books they wish to read
By explicitly teaching to these aims, we hope to achieve our objectives of
- Raising standards in reading comprehension, so most children achieve the expected standard by the time they leave the school
- All children self-identifying as keen readers (or liking reading) by the time they leave our school
Developing Positive Attitudes to Reading
In order to promote reading as a pleasurable activity we emphasise and promote:
- Regular reading to the class by the teacher, using engaging texts which children may not encounter for themselves
- Classroom environments which encourage and support reading choices and independent reading – including reading/ book corners and displays
- Library use
- The sharing of enthusiasm for books – among adults and children
- The explicit teaching of comprehension – as understanding is key to enjoyment
- Reading as a vital tool for research and finding out
- Reading as a way of discovering more about the world and ourselves
- The commitment of time to reading
Reading in School
In EYFS and in Year 1 much of the time allocated for reading will be properly used for teaching phonics. The teaching of comprehension will come through regular reading to the children, in both large and small groups, and the range of talk/ drama-based activities that are developed from this reading experience.
Once most children have acquired good decoding skills, the emphasis shifts to more explicit teaching of comprehension through high-quality texts. We continue to read daily to the class, and use whole class reading to teach skills and model comprehension strategies. 1:1 and group reading is used to support learners and to provide feedback.
What we Teach
Our teaching objectives are drawn from the National Curriculum programme of study. This underpins the reading comprehension curriculum and our teaching approaches – our choice of texts, the reading journal focus, the links made with reading across the curriculum, our emphasis on teaching vocabulary etc.
However, we believe that we need to place greater emphasis on how we understand, rather than just the what that the Programmes of Study emphasise. So, using our reading spine and our teaching texts as the context, our curriculum and classroom practice focuses on reading comprehension skills and strategies. These are:
- Using prior knowledge to support understanding
- Checking books make sense to them – by learning to retrieve information and infer ideas
- Asking questions
- Skimming, scanning and reading closely
- Using strategies to locate or infer the meaning of unfamiliar words
- Visualising their understanding
- Making predictions
- Summarising their understanding
- Adapting their reading style according to their purpose
- Annotating text
These skills and strategies form the heart of our curriculum and need to be frequently modelled to children on age appropriate texts. In order to make our ways of teaching as consistent as possible, taking account of any adaptations necessary to support different groups of learners
Reading for Pleasure
At Ropery Walk Primary School, we are passionate about reading and creating an environment that promotes reading. We believe that high-quality literature is key to motivating children to read and instilling in children a love of literature. All classrooms have a book area where books and information about books are displayed attractively and where browsing, choosing and reading can take place as a visible way of establishing and promoting a positive ethos for reading for pleasure. We carefully consider the range of texts made accessible to children to cover a breadth and variety of genres and formats; ensuring children can experience a full and rich range of reading. At the end of each day, children have the opportunity to enjoy listening to a story read by their class teacher.
From Y2, each class has Reading Ambassadors who are expected to carry out a range of responsibilities including:
- co-ordinating events linked to reading e.g. competitions, pupil voice, assemblies, World Book Day, book swaps and other events
- sharing their love of reading with their classmates
- encouraging everyone in their class to read
- and be an excellent role model for reading
The key purpose of writing is to communicate meaning and therefore all writing tasks should have an identified audience and clear purpose. It is expected that teachers will model all the stages of the writing process – planning, composing, revising, re-editing and redrafting and that children will then use these strategies increasingly independently as they become more experienced writers. All children should learn to write in a variety of styles – poetry, fiction and non-fiction – and for a variety of real audiences. Time should also be made for writing to be shared aloud and celebrated by others.
Read, Write Inc
Reading and writing are taught hand in hand as the children are taught to blend for reading and segment for writing at the earliest point in the programme. Children are encouraged to hold a dictated sentence and then use phonic strategies to write this independently. As the children move through the programme, the texts are then used as a basis to develop writing across a range of genres.
This provides an opportunity for teachers to demonstrate writing, including the thought processes that are required. Teachers should make explicit references to genre features, as well as word and sentence level work within the context of writing. Pupils contribute to the class composition by sharing their ideas with talk partners, in small groups or using individual white boards. This is also the time when children are given the opportunity to discuss, verbalise and refine ideas before committing to print. With knowledge of text type from shared reading sessions, children should be able to generate a list of features that they would expect to use in any writing genre about which they have learned. This can be used by teachers and children alike as one way of assessing children’s writing and their understanding of the purpose and organisation.
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