At Longlands we follow the National Curriculum for English which aims to raise standards of reading, writing and the spoken language for all children. We also follow a structured programme of phonics called ‘Letters and Sounds’ and include Guided Reading to teach reading techniques, in Key Stage Two we use a programme called Accelerated Reader to help track, monitor and improve reading. A typical English lesson involves, discussion, reading and writing for the whole class and small groups. We endeavour to ensure that key English skills are taught across the curriculum as well as in standalone lessons.
Children participate as speakers and listeners during Literacy sessions. Language is developed and improved by talking, discussion, exchanging ideas and experiences.
Children engage in a variety of activities to promote the learning of phonics and we follow the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme starting at phase 2. Children also experience a range of different reading genres e.g. fairy stories, non-fiction text, rhyme and recounts.
Children are encouraged to read to their parents on a daily basis. They also use the words and the phonic sounds in their word bags to practise sounds and sentence building.
General literacy activities take place inside and outside and can include: games, writing for different purposes, role play, chalking, puppets, jigsaws, computer programs, sand and water play.
Key Stage One
In the Key Stage One classes, the children engage in a variety of whole class and small group activities including guided reading or writing, phonic work, spellings, vocabulary and grammar. Children learn to recognise pronounceable sequences of letters within words and to acquire a range of strategies in order to decode unfamiliar words. They progress through a range of reading books within our reading schemes.
Towards the end of Year One pupils are using the Phonics Screening Check. During the Phonics Screening Check, children are asked to read (decode) 40 words on a one to one basis with their class teacher. Most of these words are real words but some are pseudo-words. Pseudo-words are included to ensure that children are using their decoding skills and not just relying on their memory of words they’ve read before.
Within Literacy, children are encouraged to tell their own stories, to predict what might happen next, to describe experiences and be able to put their stories in sequential order.
Handwriting skills are continuing to be developed through regular practice.
Key Stage Two
In lower Key Stage Two, the English lessons build upon the basic skills learnt in Key Stage One and extends the range of fiction and non-fiction texts which the children study. There is also a drive to improve vocabulary and new grammar.
Other aspects of English are regularly reinforced outside the daily lesson and these include guided reading, spelling tests and handwriting sessions. Junior children are expected to use a handwriting pen and most will start in Year 3. Quiet reading of around 20 minutes each day is timetabled to support the Accelerated Reader programme.
The focus of the whole class part of the English Lesson at the upper Key Stage Two is to look at the style and organisation of a text, as well as how the author uses language to create feelings and moods. There is a range of grammar work to be revised and some new grammar to learn. Spelling patterns, rules and exceptions are taught and there are spelling tests every week along with guided reading sessions. Drama and performing skills are practised, and time is given for handwriting and individual reading.
The range of texts continues to widen and the children look at classic fiction. Non-fiction texts continue to be used and the children look at the purpose and uses of all types of writing. This leads up to the National Curriculum Tests, more commonly known as SATs, at the end of Key Stage Two.