English

Integral skills are developed in English which provide children with an essential foundation and access to the entire curriculum. These include: the spoken language, reading, writing and vocabulary. At St. Bridget’s we aim to provide a lively and stimulating environment involving individual, group and class activities which promote rich and appropriate speaking, listening, reading and writing experiences.


Reading

At St. Bridget’s we are passionate about reading; we see it as the gateway to successful communication and learning. We therefore place a high emphasis upon regular and frequent opportunities for reading throughout the school day in a range of interesting, purposeful and meaningful situations. These include 1:1 with an adult, independent reading and as a part of a small group of peers. We actively promote reading for pleasure and wider reading; as such we seek opportunities to expose children to a wide range of books.

Each class has a small library containing a range of fiction and non-fiction books. These books should cover a wide range of reading abilities and interests. We try to make these as attractive and inviting as possible and change book displays regularly. The school library offers further reading materials, including a wider range of non-fiction materials. Each class makes a termly visit to the local library and we have access to the county council library van.

Big books are available in some classes for small groups work or independent/ paired reading. There are also story sacks in the library.

Reading scheme books are used to support children’s reading development and are NOT viewed as a ladder to be climbed or a race to be won! Although we have a core reading scheme, we aim to provide breadth and depth through a variety of addition materials. Each class has differentiated sets of guided reading texts and teachers choose appropriate books for their children.

Reading aloud is a valuable skill so we participate in events such as Choral Speaking where children learn a piece of text by heart to perform in front of an audience.

Early Years:

  • Children in Reception class are introduced to reading through learning phonics (letter sounds). They receive daily phonics teaching, which lasts 20 minutes, following the Letters and Sounds scheme.
  • Members of the Infant staff teach a different phase of the phonics scheme.
  • Children are assigned to a phase based on frequent assessments of their understanding.
  • Children are also encouraged to learn to read Ginn words and common frequency words. They will be given flashcards to take home during week to practise until they are confident. Once they are confident with CVC words children are given a reading book to take home from the school reading scheme.
  • Baseline assessment is completed on entry at the beginning of Reception.
  • Assessment will take place throughout the year on a regular basis. Results are given to the subject leader and SLT and discussed in progress meetings. • Each child is heard to read on an individual basis, the teacher determines how many times per week each child is heard. This provides the teacher with an opportunity to monitor the child’s independent reading skills, the suitability of the book they are reading and their readiness to progress to the next one.

 

KS1:

  • Teachers in Key Stage One create opportunities to teach reading explicitly in English lessons through shared reading. Children share an enlarged text with the class teacher – they learn about different genres, authors and illustrators and discuss sequences of events and practise their reading skills.
  • Throughout Key Stage One, children have their own reading book from the school’s reading scheme. Each child is allocated a number of times that they will be heard to read individually by an adult. They read at least once a week to their class teacher who monitors the child’s independent reading skills, the suitability of the book they are reading and their readiness to progress to the next one. Notes are recorded in the child’s Reading Record.
  • Teaching assistants/students/adult helpers may also listen to pupils read. This will count towards the total number of times per week a child is heard. Adults make a comment in the child’s Reading Record using key questions and prompts provided by the teacher to help discuss the book with the child.
  • Children take their reading books home every day and are encouraged to read at home with support every night. This is recorded in their Reading Record.
  • Guided reading sessions enable children to explore a quality book in detail with an adult – this helps to develop comprehension skills as well as decoding
  • Children are given a reading target which is recorded at the front of their English books; a copy is also placed at the front of their Reading record.
  • Children are assessed in September to establish a reading age and again in July to track progress. Children reading below their actual age are given extra support and read daily to an adult in school.


KS2:

  • Teachers in Key Stage Two create opportunities to teach reading explicitly in English lessons through shared reading. Children share an enlarged text or use individual copies of the text with the class teacher – they develop their understanding of different genres, authors and illustrators; practise skimming and scanning skills and develop literal, inference and deduction reading skills.
  • Each child has their own reading book. Once they have completed the reading scheme they choose their own reading book. Children are encouraged to alternate between fiction and non-fiction.
  • Each child is allocated a number of times that they will be heard to read individually by an adult. They read at least once a week to their class teacher who monitors the child’s independent reading skills, the suitability of the book they are reading and their readiness to progress to the next one. Notes are recorded in the child’s Reading Record.
  • Teaching assistants/students/adult helpers may also listen to pupils read. This will count towards the total number of times per week a child is heard. Adults make a comment in the child’s Reading Record using key questions and prompts provided by the teacher to help discuss the book with the child.
  • Children take their reading books home every day and are encouraged to read at home with support every night. This is recorded in their Reading Record.
  • Guided Reading takes place weekly. During these sessions the teacher uses quality texts to expand the children’s reading repertoire and models and teaches children how to find answers from the text then how to support their answers with evidence from the text. • Children are given a reading target which is recorded at the front of their English books; a copy is also placed at the front of their Reading record. This is discussed with the child regularly during independent reading sessions.
  • Children are assessed in September to establish a reading age and again in July to track progress. Children reading below their actual age are given extra support and read daily to an adult in school.

 

Writing

At St Bridget’s we believe that writing is an essential skill for success in the world. Therefore, we make our teaching of writing as creative as possible, as well as rigorously teaching the rules of spelling, punctuation and grammar.

We aim to nurture a sense of enjoyment in our children at expressing their thoughts and feelings through writing and to develop confident, independent writers. We seek to develop their abilities to write for a range of different purposes and audiences, using the written word to communicate ideas, views and feelings. We do this by teaching the relevant language and structural features of different text types (e.g. narratives, poetry, reports, letters, explanations, persuasive and discussion texts) and seek to develop the skills and stamina to write at length using accurate grammar and punctuation. Writing is taught taught discreetly in English lessons daily but many opportunities to practise the skills learnt in these lessons are provided across the curriculum. For example, during religious education children may write a diary entry from the point of view of a Biblical character; a non-chronological report describing a country in geography; explanations in science and instructions in Design & Technology; a report about an historic event in history; opportunities are also provided to develop digital literacy skills with the use of laptops, this includes access to the internet. In each instance, we enable children to plan, draft and edit their work to improve it.

We use a wide range of resources to support the teaching of writing across the school by exposing children to a wide range of examples of good quality writing. Through the use of shared, modelled and paired writing, children are exposed to the writing process and encouraged to experiment with their writing and that of others. All classes have access to appropriate dictionaries, thesauruses and ‘My Try’ spelling books.

Children are provided with speaking and listening, and drama activities so they can rehearse using key language and sentence features of the text orally. These activities are designed to deepen their understanding of the text. A high quality text is used as a model to expose children to more sophisticated vocabulary and more complex language structures, as well as teaching children about key elements of punctuation.

Children’s writing is celebrated by being displayed in books, classrooms and around the school.

 

Spelling

Spelling is taught daily in the Foundation Stage and Key Stage One as part of phonics lessons. It continues to be taught frequently in Key Stage Two where spelling patterns are investigated, taught and practised alongside exception words (words which are exceptions to a specific rule or pattern). High and common frequency words are also taught throughout each key stage. Lists of words that fit the rule or particular pattern learnt in school are sent home weekly in key Stage Two for children to learn. We also have a number of spelling/phonic interventions in place to support children who find spelling challenging.

 

Handwriting

At St Bridget’s we believe it is important to support children to develop neat and consistent handwriting. We help children with layout, presentation and the way they organise their writing on paper. This will help children to develop a sense of pride in their work, become better at spelling and more motivated to write. Handwriting and good presentation has a high priority in our school therefore teachers have consistently high standards of handwriting and presentation across all subjects and encourage children to apply handwriting skills taught across the curriculum.