At Danson Primary School, we believe the development of language and communication skills is of the highest priority.
In studying English, children develop skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening enabling them to express themselves creatively and imaginatively and to communicate effectively with others.
At Danson Primary School, the teaching and learning of English aims to ensure that all pupils:
- Read, write and communicate orally with confidence, fluency and understanding
- Have an interest in books and literature; whilst practising reading for enjoyment
- Develop and foster a love of words, phrases and sayings, develop their meanings; and use a growing vocabulary in spoken and written forms
- Discuss reading and writing comprehensively: expressing opinions; explaining techniques and justifying preferences; about a wide range of literature, using appropriate vocabulary
- Understand a range of text types and genres; develop knowledge to appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
- Write using a variety of styles and forms
At Danson our ultimate goal of reading is comprehension. Our aims are that all children:
- read independently,
- develop understanding of what they have read.
- are engaged and motivated to read.
Reading is taught in English lessons as well as group, guided reading sessions which take place daily. These sessions provide children with access to a range of high quality texts. Teachers work with each group weekly on texts suitable for the reading skills of the children. Reading comprehension is set as homework at an appropriate level. As the level of comprehension deepens, written responses are increasingly demanding. Each child is set reading targets every half term.
Children are given the opportunity to choose their own books to read independently from the inviting book corner in every classroom at least once a week.
Teachers read aloud to the class regularly where love of reading and shared enjoyment is evident through the sharing of high quality texts of various styles.
Reading and Phonics
Phonics is at the heart of teaching children to become independent readers. Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. This is why phonics is emphasised in the early teaching of reading to beginners when they start school.
In our EYFS and Key Stage 1 departments our main reading scheme is ‘Oxford Reading Tree’. This scheme is also supplemented with ‘Pearson Rigby’ and ‘Collins Big Cats’. Pupils have daily phonics lessons using the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme and is supplemented with ‘Jolly Phonics’.
Year 1 Phonic Screening Check
- The phonics screening check is a statutory assessment for all children in Year 1.
- The phonics screening check takes place in June each year.
- The phonics screening check is designed to confirm whether individual children have learned phonic decoding to an appropriate standard.
Good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge and we develop our pupils’ experience through high-quality, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction. All pupils are encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world they live in, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum. Reading widely and often increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Reading also feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure house of wonder and joy for curious young minds.
We actively involve parents in the process of reading and acknowledge the role of parents in the development of reading and have run reading workshops to assist them. We encourage parents and children to enjoy reading and sharing books together. Wednesday night is ‘Reading Together Night’ where we encourage children in all cohorts to read at home with their parents/guardians and fill in their reading journals. Where this is a regular practice, children make significant progress
Pupils also have access at school and home to ‘Bug Club’ an online programme which allows children to read and answer questions on a range of fiction and non-fiction texts. This programme is a huge success with parents and pupils alike.
Community Partnership - Welling Library
Each class has the opportunity to visit the library and to share in stories being read by the library staff. Pupils also have the opportunity to borrow books on a class ticket.
We have an annual Book Week which enables the children to participate in a themed set of lessons where they get to experience and read a range of exciting texts. This year the children dressed up as their favourite characters, something the staff really enjoyed doing too!! (Please see below) We have a selection of age appropriate authors and theatre productions who visit the school along with our hugely successful Book Fair which is run by the school Enterprise Group.
Children learn how to communicate effectively in a wide range of writing styles. We ensure the children have exciting and stimulating things to write about in different aspects of our curriculum. We make sure they are taught the skills necessary but also ensure they are experts in a subject before writing so everyone has ‘something to say’ and know ‘how to say it’.
Children are exposed to a range of different texts, videos and experiences to help them write purposeful, relevant pieces of work. They learn how to organise their own work so it suits the purpose and will be aware of who will be reading their work.
Children are given personal writing targets and are taught to edit and improve their writing and do so regularly.
They respond to the school’s marking codes and improve their work from Reception onwards. The independence and responsibility shown in this ability to edit and improve their work is emphasised and celebrated throughout the school and results in children becoming highly independent, effective and reflective writers.
In keeping with the school handwriting policy children are taught a progressive set of writing skills that teach the family of handwriting letters along with their corresponding entry and exit joins. Posture, grip and pattern work lead into formal letter formation and the development of cursive, joined up, neat handwriting and aim for children to:
-Achieve a neat, legible style with correctly formed letters in cursive handwriting.
-Develop flow and speed.
-Eventually produce the letters automatically and in their independent writing.
Spelling and Grammar
Explicit knowledge of grammar is very important and key to a child's progress in both reading and writing. Specific grammar and punctuation content is assigned to particular year groups and matches the national curriculum expectations from 2014. Grammar is then independently used within the children’s writing.
Children learn a range of different spelling patterns set out in our Phonics and Spelling programmes. Alongside a structured programme of spelling patterns and rules we teach children to read and spell exception or tricky words in each year group.
Children are expected to learn particular spellings identified in their own work and from Year 2 keep an individual spelling record of words they need to learn to spell correctly.
Children are taught to be independent in practising their own ways to help them learn and remember new or tricky spellings. This guide and techniques are shared regularly.