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
- Read widely and regularly.
At Danson our ultimate goal of reading is comprehension and engagement with others through text. 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 guided reading sessions in groups, 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. As the level of comprehension deepens, written responses are increasingly demanding.
Children are regularly given the opportunity to choose their own books to read independently from the inviting book corner in every classroom.
Teachers read aloud to the class 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 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 which 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’ experiences through reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction texts. 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 and other adults in the process of reading and acknowledge their 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.
English homework is set weekly and is reflective of the learning taught throughout the week.In EYFS and Year 1 literacy homework tasks are given that relate to the week’s learning. In Year 2 a comprehension activity is set as homework. In key stage two homework focuses on particular reading or writing skills that are being taught in lessons, or will be used within future activities. In addition, pupils are encouraged to practise their spellings at home daily.
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. Previous themed weeks included favourite books, Greek myths, celebrating the life and works of Roald Dahl, and traditional tales will headline our next event. We have a selection of theatre productions who visit the school to perform shows as well as run interactive workshops based on what the children have been reading. Our hugely successful Book Fair, which is run by the school Enterprise Group, is an annual school highlight, providing children with another opportunity to access books for pleasure.
Writing for purpose with a clear sense of audience is the foundation of teaching writing at Danson Primary. We ensure the children have exciting and stimulating things to write about both in English lessons as well as across the curriculum. 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: in upper Key Stage 2, children are prepared for secondary school studying demands by being taught various note-taking and text studying skills, including mind-mapping and annotating texts.
Children are given personal writing targets and are taught to edit and improve their writing. Drafting is taught as a natural process, which encourages pupils to write freely and expressively, recognising the organic nature of creative writing as well as the importance of appropriate presentation of work for audience and purpose.
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.
Pupils are taught grammar both discretely and embedded into other lessons; a secure understanding of Standard English conventions is the foundation of good writing. Specific grammar and punctuation content is assigned to particular year groups and matches the national curriculum expectations. Children learn how to communicate effectively in a wide range of writing styles by being exposed to a variety of text types and genres, exploring how effective writers ply their craft. Grammar is then independently used within the children’s writing.
At Danson we are proud to promote a positive attitude to and enjoyment of spelling. A structured programme of spelling rules is used as set out by National Curriculum guidelines. Pupils explore word patterns and discover exceptions to rules and then use personalised strategies to retain these spellings e.g. word webs. A three session weekly cycle of spelling enables children to regularly revisit and revise their spellings through handwriting practise, interactive games and their spelling test. Spellathon - our whole school spelling competition - is held half-termly, with children competing against peers within mixed teams. This team building competition allows pupils to collaborate, reflect on their spelling knowledge and celebrate their successes.
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.