Our English lessons develop pupils’ spoken language, reading, writing and vocabulary. Literacy is taught in a cross-curricular way, linking up with other areas of the curriculum. We teach our pupils to speak clearly, to convey their ideas fluently and confidently and to ask questions. Their vocabulary is developed systematically.
The children enjoy putting their literacy skills into action at our special school events, including readathons, spelling bees, book fairs and author visits. World Book Day provides another exciting opportunity for us to enthuse our young learners, with the whole school taking part in themed events. Weekly class assemblies, school productions and ‘buddy’ reading activities also develop speaking and listening skills and help the children to gain confidence by performing for an audience.
In EYFS and Year 1 children are taught phonics. Phonics is taught by demonstrating the relationship between the sounds of English spoken language and the letters or groups of letters of the English written language. We follow the letters and sounds programme which covers all 6 phases of phonics including common exception words. All children in EYFS and Year 1 have daily phonics lessons. During the summer term, all Year 1 pupils will participate in a phonics screening assessment, which assesses the children’s knowledge of phonics. Phonics lessons are continued in Year 2 for any children who require extra time to become confident in their phonetical awareness.
At TPA we believe that early reading skills are crucial in children’s English development. All children are encouraged to develop pleasure in reading and listening to books from EYFS upwards. Each child is provided with a reading book which they will read at school and are encouraged to also read at home with an adult. We use a whole-school assessment method to ascertain the reading level of each child; this is to ensure that the reading book they are provided with meets reading needs but also challenges them. In EYFS children will regularly take part in whole class reading comprehensions using various texts. The children will be encouraged to build on their attention and listening skills and then discuss the book with the class and answer questions based on the text.
From year 1 onwards children are grouped for guided reading and will complete a mixture of comprehension tasks, spelling and grammar activities and extended reads based on their text for that week. Guided reading is carried out in a carousel in small groups or as a whole class. Children continue to read both fiction and non-fiction books daily and are heard reading on a regular basis in KS2.
To continue the positive start the children make when learning phonics in Reception and Year 1, we are using a spelling programme from Year 2 to Year 6 called ‘No Nonsense Spelling’.
The No Nonsense Spelling Programme was devised to offer teachers a comprehensive yet accessible progression in the teaching of spelling. Guidance, rather than prescription, is provided on how to teach the strategies, knowledge and skills pupils need to learn. The focus of the programme is on the teaching of spelling, which embraces knowledge of spelling conventions – patterns and rules; but integral to the teaching is the opportunity to promote the learning of spellings, including statutory words, common exceptions and personal spellings.
At TPA, we aim to teach children to become confident and competent writers. Through the ‘purpose of writing’ approach to the curriculum, we provide the children with the ideas and information they need to write. Throughout EYFS, Key Stage One and Key Stage Two, the children are given opportunities to write for a range of purposes, genres and audiences. The children have the chance to revisit writing for a certain purpose to show progression in their writing.
The programme from KS1 is structured around longer blocks (one per half term) focussing on the purpose for writing and what different ‘genres’ or ‘text types’ have in common. The four writing purposes used are writing to entertain, to inform, to persuade and to discuss.
KS1 only focus on the purposes of Entertain and Inform.
LKS2 look at Entertain, Inform and Persuade.
UKS2 look at all four purposes.
At Twickenham Primary Academy, all children are introduced to Cursive Handwriting from Reception. We believe this raises standards in handwriting throughout the whole school, develops confidence, accuracy and fluency and
improved presentation. We use Letter-join as the basis of our handwriting policy that covers all the requirements of the 2014 National Curriculum. Handwriting sessions are in the timetable as well as incorporated in any Phonics, NNS and English lessons.
Drama is used as a key tool in developing oral skills, vocabulary development, building confidence and self- esteem, and as an essential tool in developing imaginative, expressive, and persuasive spoken and written language. ‘Hot seating’, and ‘response in role’ drama techniques used in literacy lessons aid the development of speaking and listening, reading and writing skills. Imaginative role play is fundamental to developing the whole child, not just in Early Years and KS1 education, but also as the children develop, and our curriculum provides opportunities to perform to wider audiences through assemblies and events around key festivals. There are increasing opportunities for our pupils to perform as they progress through the school.