English at Rodbourne Cheney
At Rodbourne Cheney Primary and Nursery school our main aim in English is to embed and provide a lifelong love for reading in all children no matter their ability, background or home life as we have identified this a defining factor in their attainment in all areas of English and beyond.
We passionately believe that this is best done through setting quality texts at the heart of our curriculum and exposing children to a range of quality literature from the first moment they enter our school. The Planning at Rodbourne Cheney and Nursery School is therefore all linked to a central text and the skills of reading, writing and grammar are all interwoven. All medium-term planning is on a single sheet to show how these skills are linked.
We are acutely aware of the need to level the vocabulary gap for all our children ensuring that all children are given exposure to a rich range of vocabulary through the use of quality texts in English and the high level of language used by all adults in school as well as the systematic teaching of vocabulary. We aim to provide children with the linguistic skills they will need to take advantage of every opportunity throughout their future education through both the high quality texts that they are taught alongside high quality back and forth discussion about these texts in class.
Providing our children a range of writing opportunities allows them to step into the writers’ shoes that they have been studying. Children are given opportunity for the children to write for a range of purposes and audience. When the writing they are producing is for a concrete purpose, this allows them to develop all areas of their writing. Children will produce two quality pieces of writing per term as well as a range of incidental pieces which will practice skills that have been previously taught. Children will also be given the chance to write at length in non-core subjects.
We understand that it is vital to communicate these aims to all staff regularly. This is done through regular staff meetings as well as inset days and observations. We recognise the impact of the lockdown and the importance of identifying and addressing any missed learning.
Children at Rodbourne are read high quality texts from their entry to the school until the time they leave in order to both enthuse the children expose them to high level vocabulary.
As well as being read to, children use the phonics reading books that directly match their phonics knowledge to build their fluency for reading. These books have been sub levelled to ensure that children can challenge themselves. Children then move on to becoming free readers and will read a range of different genres to develop their comprehension and vocabulary. These books are chosen from constantly changing class libraries and a well-stocked main library which is organised both by age and genre.
In EYFS and Year 1, children are taught reading on a 1:1 basis. The main purpose of reading is decoding fluency and accuracy. By the end of year 1, children should be good readers; they should read 90% of books accurately and be secure in phase 5 of phonics. This means that comprehension can happen. All children read to an adult at least once each week. Children’s reading is assessed regularly using our phonics assessment to ensure the progression through the phases of letters and sounds.
All children in the school read regularly with an and adult in their class - both teachers and TA’s - in order to build their fluency and comprehension but most of all, this provides an opportunity to discuss and recommend book so as to further support the children’s love of reading.
Across the school, reading and writing are linked; this allows the children to gain greater vocabulary and meaning to their writing as well as ensuring the coverage of reading objectives across the year.
Whole class guided reading is taught in phase. Children are taught four guided reading sessions per week that last approximately 30 minutes. Teachers plan their reading sessions linked to the objectives of their year groups and it is organised into three distinct phases:
The purpose of this phase is to develop the children’s background knowledge and understanding prior to accessing the text/ animation in order to ensure all children
come to the text with the requisite knowledge. This means that as the teacher reads the text, children will be able to make links/ infer as they will have the required
knowledge. This is also an opportunity to give children the vocabulary they will need to fully understand the text.
To make the reading and writing purposeful, the reading learning covered in phase 1 prepares the children for phase 2 writing as well as covering a required reading skill.
The reading may focus on vocabulary choices the writer has selected, a strategy used or a style of writing. Teachers will ensure each lesson is linked to a reading objective. Supplementary texts may be used in this phase to exemplify a skill/feature.
In this phase, children will develop the skills to answer comprehension-style questions over the course of the week. The teacher will explicitly teach the skills and strategies the children need to answer these types of questions.
- Look:retrieval style
- Clue:inference style
- Think:may involve considering different aspects
- Word:understand the meaning of words/ authorial choice
- Text-text:make comparisons between texts
- Text-self:compare to their own experiences
- Text-world:make links to values/ issues and knowledge about the wider world
Word of the week is taught systematically through the week to build children’s vocabulary. The teacher selects words in the text that will challenge the children and
that they will be able to use in their own writing.
At the start of the week, they are given the definition and explore parameters for use (when it is used and when it is not). As the week progresses they explore synonyms and antonyms, different shades of meaning, word changes, abstract use and figurative language.
Writing at Rodbourne
At Rodbourne we use high quality texts to teach our English units. These high-quality texts are carefully selected by the head teacher – with the input of the teachers - for their grammar and vocabulary content. The children become fully submersed in the text and both reading and writing objectives are taught to make sure that the children make progress.
Each term, children are given the opportunity to write a high-quality piece of fiction and non-fiction writing that is planned, written, edited and revised. These pieces are each the final outcome of three phases of learning.
Phase one – Immersion
In this phase, children are given an experience to immerse them in their text. They then learn two writing skills selected from our progression documents and practice these skills in two “Skill Writes” in order to freely use them. These skill writes will use a range of genres that the children have learnt in order to keep their skills sharp.
Phase two – Skills
Again, the children will focus on two challenging writing skills and then have an opportunity to practice them. At the end of this phase, the children will plan their final outcome.
Phase three – final outcome
This phase is where children get to put the skills that they have learnt into practice. They will produce a high-quality piece of writing – first fiction, then non-fiction - that will contain the taught skill and be inspired by the text. The genre will then be mapped on our school’s long-term genre document.
Planning a Unit:
At Rodbourne, teachers plan reading and writing on a single medium-term planning document. This is done in order to see clear links between these two vital areas. The Medium-Term Plan will also contain the chosen words of the week. Teachers will also include their model texts that they have written. This ensures that not only are the model writes of a sufficiently high quality but also that they contain the skills that the children have been taught.
Spelling is taught 4 times a week for 10-15 minutes. We follow the Essential Spelling scheme. This scheme focuses on the teaching of spelling so that children understand how to apply patterns, strategies and knowledge to all words. It also provides links to prior knowledge and tracks back to related objectives so that teachers can give targeted support to children who are not yet able to spell words from their year group programme of study. Essential spelling places an emphasis on the Review stage of the teaching sequence. The Review session is vital because it gives teachers an opportunity for assessment for learning and gives pupils the chance to build connections between existing knowledge and new knowledge, thus facilitating learning. The Teach part of the sequence provides essential subject knowledge that will support teachers to explain and unpick the learning behind the lesson, including vocabulary development and language comprehension. The Practise sections suggest straightforward activities that can be undertaken independently by children during the lesson or even at home. The Apply sections follow a regular pattern of children reviewing their learning and spelling words in the context of short dictations. Phonics is also continued to be taught in KS2 as an intervention.
Children initially learn how to make all of the correct letter shapes using a pre-cursive style. As they move into year 1, they begin to learn how to join letters fluently and develop a neat, cursive handwriting style. We use ‘Letter Join’ which is a fun and interactive handwriting programme which uses a variety of different activities.
Writing and reading are continually assessed through our robust marking in the moment. This enables the teacher to assess the depth of learning that has taken place and to identify misconceptions to inform future teaching and learning. Each teacher also uses our distance marking sheet to mark the end of unit pieces to identify work that needs praising, basic errors and common misconceptions and identifying where individuals need further support. This helps teacher to adjust the next section of their medium-term plan if necessary.
The children’s writing is then used to assess them at three data points throughout the year with the help of our Integra progression documents.