At Mereside, we believe that our school motto, ‘Love to learn and Learn to love’, underpins our whole school English planning and teaching. We want children to leave our school with ‘love’, including a love of learning. We achieve this through a comprehensive English Curriculum that provides children with the skills to access and engage with learning in all subjects and to understand the world around them. We, also, believe that we engender a love for English itself by providing children opportunities to explore, be curious, be creative, be imaginative and to engage with the vibrancy of our community and world. Additionally, we want our children to leave with the communication tools necessary to be successful, kind, reflective and valuable members of society. Finally, English is foundational to the development of the whole child, allowing us to provide our children with the skills necessary to be proactive, thoughtful and caring global citizens.
As the National Curriculum states, ‘English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society.’
At Mereside C of E Primary Academy we value the place of spoken language in the development of the whole child and recognise that it underpins children’s development in reading and writing whilst allowing them to be successful in all other areas of our curriculum. Additionally, we understand that a child’s language skills are the key to becoming an effective communicator and by extension a collaborative and engaged member of society.
We want the children at Mereside C of E Primary Academy to have the highest standards of English and we aim to achieve this through ensuring that all of our pupils:
- Exposure to a rich diet of quality literature from our varied literary heritage and that of other cultures, through which they can develop a habit of reading for both pleasure and information, whilst opening them to development culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually.
- Can read easily, fluently and with good comprehension.
- Acquire a wide vocabulary, a well-rounded knowledge of grammar and linguistic conventions across reading, writing and spoken language.
- Have opportunities to cultivate a love of writing through national, regional, local and internal competitions and awards that provide a real word impetus.
- Can write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts purposes and audiences.
- Can engage in a discussion through being able to elaborate on and share their understanding and ideas clearly and listen carefully and respectfully to others.
- Are competent in the art of speaking and listening, making formal presentations and participating in debates.
In short, we aim to create a learning environment in which our children are motivated and curious participators in the English language helping them to develop the empathy and understanding needed to be compassionate and caring citizens who celebrate and value our diverse society.
Spoken language is integral to supporting our children to access and be enthusiastic and engaged learners in all areas of the curriculum. Through talking, children grow their vocabulary, acquire grammar and develop an understanding of reading and writing. In the classrooms, children will be taught to and given opportunities to:
- speak clearly, fluently and coherently; communicating effectively with appropriate use of Standard English.
- listen attentively and in an engaged way with understanding, empathy and enjoyment
- contribute to group discussions with confidence and enthusiasm
- develop the skills needed for more formal debate and to participate in and gain knowledge of the dramatic arts.
We achieve this by:
- adults modelling a high standard of Spoken English and listening skills in our interactions with both children and adults
- providing a purpose and audience for talk using a range of contexts through which adults will support children to form and express their ideas
- participating in Circle Time where children will have the opportunity to explore empathetic listening, the language skills to discuss their emotions and resolving conflict using restorative justice
- promoting learning through discussion across the curriculum through a range of strategies for example talk partners, small group and whole class discussions and debates
- allowing time for pupils to reflect on and explore real and imagined situations through role play, hot seating, other dramatic devices and discussions
- developing the children/s ability to listen with attention and understanding in all areas; to ask and respond to questions appropriately and with confidence
- providing rich opportunities to expand vocabulary through choosing core books that facilitate high quality discussion.
Through our teaching of reading, we aim to develop our pupils into people who read because they want to: reading widely for pleasure, who understand the need to read to develop their knowledge of themselves, the world in which they live and to allow them to fully participate as a member of society. We aim to support our pupils to become fluent readers able to read easily, with appropriate speed, stamina and good understanding.
We achieve this through:
- providing fully decodable books closely matched to the stages of our adopted reading scheme "Phonics Bug" for our early readers to promote confidence and independence
- providing books for sharing at home to promote enjoyment of reading for our early readers
- encouraging reading as a pleasurable activity at home through parents reading with and to children
- daily teaching of systematic phonics using Bug Club Phonics with all pupils experiencing age appropriate entitlement with their whole class
- providing additional phonics teaching for identified individuals to close gaps to peers
- using 'Pathways to Read' mastery approach to reading, through quality books and motivating sequences of learning
- teachers modelling reading for pleasure through daily story time
- providing opportunities for children’s own reading for pleasure, including individual reading, paired reading in class and peer reading with other children across the school
- providing informal opportunities for children to share books that they have enjoyed
- providing an area in the classroom for reading for pleasure, designed after collecting ideas from the children
- providing carefully chosen quality books for class readers in each year group from a range of fiction genres, poetry and non-fiction, to include: plays, comics, graphic novels, magazines, newspapers
- participating in events designed to celebrate and share reading
- pre-teaching vocabulary to help all children to access class books
- ensuring all children understand the contexts and content of core books
- creating a whole school environment that promotes reading for pleasure and for information
- valuing all reading
Writing needs to be informed by high quality speaking and listening; exposure to a rich diet of stories and other high quality texts. As James Britton says
“writing floats on a sea of talk...”
Britton (1970) Language and Learning, Penguin.
In order to become effective communicators, children should be taught to write as readers; understanding how the concepts and skills learnt serve the purpose and audience. Children need to be confident with both transcription and composition and should be able to edit, proof read and improve their writing to match the chosen audience and purpose.
We achieve this through:
- daily systematic teaching of phonics to support early writing
- regular teaching of spelling using "Pathways to Spell" as the core of our provision alongside a range of approaches and strategies to enable pupils to become confident and accurate spellers
- age appropriate teaching of spelling and phonics as a whole class with additional extra phonics and support for spelling for identified children
- systematic and regular teaching of handwriting using Teach Handwriting to aid children in initially developing correct posture, effective hold and the ability to form letters with appropriate size and positioning
- further teaching of handwriting designed to aid children to learn to join letters accurately and fluently
- providing motivating contexts for writing through the use of high quality books taken from the 'Pathways to Write' mastery approach to teaching writing
- using a range of different literary genres to articulate ideas and structure them effectively within their writing
- embedding teaching of grammar within the study of a high quality core book
- opportunities to edit and improve their writing to allow more effective communication which better fits the purpose and audience
- using the 5 part iterative process- when coming to writing children should always plan (including identifying success criteria such as structure and language features), draft and revise against the success criteria, edit (proof read for sense, grammar, punctuation, speaking and handwriting) and then- wherever there is a strong purpose, publish
- planned opportunities for writing across the curriculum allowing further application of skills and concepts
- ensuring edit and improve alongside proof reading are evident in writing across the curriculum
- opportunities to write for an external audience through national, regional, local and internal competitions and awards that provide a real word impetus
Reading at Home
Use this link to read Ten Top Tips for encouraging your child to read at home.