A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils, therefore, who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively excluded from opportunities in their future lives.
The National Curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:
- are equipped with a strong command of the spoken and written word read easily, fluently and with good understanding;
- develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment;
- develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information;
- acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language;
- appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage;
- write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences;
- use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas;
- are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.
The national curriculum for English reflects the importance of spoken language in pupils’ development across the whole curriculum – cognitively, socially and linguistically. Spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing. The quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak are vital for developing their vocabulary and grammar and their understanding for reading and writing. Our teachers will ensure the continual development of pupils’ confidence and competence in spoken language and listening skills. Pupils will develop a capacity to explain their understanding of books and other reading, and to prepare their ideas before they write. They will be assisted in making their thinking clear to themselves as well as to others and teachers will build secure foundations by using discussion to probe and remedy any misconceptions. Our children will also be taught to understand and use the conventions for discussion and debate.
Our pupils will be enabled to participate in and gain knowledge, skills and understanding associated with the artistic practice of drama. Pupils will be able to adopt, create and sustain a range of roles, responding appropriately to others in role. Opportunities will be planned for children to improvise, devise and script drama for one another and a range of audiences, as well as to rehearse, refine, share and respond thoughtfully to drama and theatre performances.
The programmes of study for reading at key stage 2 consists of two dimensions:
- word reading
- comprehension (both listening and reading)
Our teaching will focus on developing pupils’ competence in both dimensions; different kinds of teaching are needed for each.
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.
Good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge (in particular of vocabulary and grammar) and on knowledge of the world. Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction. All pupils will be encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, 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.
The programmes of study for writing at key stage 2 are:
- transcription (spelling and handwriting)
- composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing).
Our pupils will be taught how to plan, revise and evaluate their writing. Writing down ideas fluently depends on effective transcription: that is, on spelling quickly and accurately through knowing the relationship between sounds and letters (phonics) and understanding the word structure and spelling structure of words. Effective composition involves forming, articulating and communicating ideas, and then organising them coherently for a reader. This requires clarity, awareness of the audience, purpose and context, and an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. Writing also depends on fluent, legible and speedy handwriting.
Spelling, vocabulary, grammar and punctuation:
Opportunities for teachers to enhance pupils’ vocabulary arise naturally from their reading and writing. As vocabulary increases, teachers will show pupils how to understand the relationships between words, how to understand nuances in meaning, and how to develop their understanding of, and ability to use, figurative language. They will also teach pupils how to work out and clarify the meanings of unknown words and words with more than one meaning. Pupils will be taught to control their speaking and writing consciously and to use Standard English. They should be taught to use the elements of spelling, grammar, punctuation. It is important that pupils learn the correct grammatical terms in English and that these terms are integrated within teaching.
Lower Key Stage 2 – Years 3 and 4
By the beginning of Year 3, pupils should be able to read books written at an age-appropriate interest level. They should be able to read them accurately and at a speed that is sufficient for them to focus on understanding what they read rather than on decoding individual words. They should be able to decode most new words outside their spoken vocabulary, making a good approximation to the word’s pronunciation.
As their decoding skills become increasingly secure, teaching will be directed more towards developing their vocabulary and the breadth and depth of their reading, making sure that they become independent, fluent and enthusiastic readers who read widely and frequently. The children will be developing their understanding and enjoyment of stories, poetry, plays and non-fiction, and learning to read silently. They will also be developing their knowledge and skills in reading non-fiction about a wide range of subjects. They will be learning to justify their views about what they have read: with support at the start of Year 3 and increasingly independently by the end of Year 4.
Pupils should be able to write down their ideas with a reasonable degree of accuracy and with good sentence punctuation. Teachers will therefore be consolidating pupils’ writing skills, their vocabulary, their grasp of sentence structure and their knowledge of linguistic terminology. Teaching them to develop as writers involves teaching them to enhance the effectiveness of what they write as well as increasing their competence. Teachers will make sure that pupils build on what they have learnt, particularly in terms of the range of their writing and the more varied grammar, vocabulary and narrative structures from which they can draw to express their ideas. Pupils will be beginning to understand how writing can be different from speech. Joined handwriting should be the norm; pupils should be able to use it fast enough to keep pace with what they want to say.
Pupils’ spelling of common words should be correct, including common exception words and other words that they have learnt. Pupils should spell words as accurately as possible using their phonic knowledge and other knowledge of spelling, such as morphology and etymology.
Most pupils will not need further direct teaching of word reading skills: they are able to decode unfamiliar words accurately, and need very few repeated experiences of this before the word is stored in such a way that they can read it without overt sound-blending. They should demonstrate understanding of figurative language, distinguish shades of meaning among related words and use age-appropriate, academic vocabulary. Pupils at TMA who need support in developing their skills of decoding will be received intensive phonics teaching through the Read Write Inc programme so that they catch up rapidly with their peers.
In Years 3 and 4, pupils should become more familiar with and confident in using language in a greater variety of situations, for a variety of audiences and purposes, including through drama, formal presentations and debate.
Throughout the whole curriculum, opportunities to extend and promote English should be sought through a rich variety of texts and writing activities. At Two Mile Ash, we take every opportunity to develop children’s English skills across a range of lessons so that children see the purpose for reading and writing. For example, this can be drawing information from non-fiction texts in history, inferring about the lives of people in different geographical locations, speaking cohesively about a piece of art or writing a report in science.
Planning is based upon the National Curriculum 2014 and elements are drawn from a number of schemes including Wordsmith, Literacy Evolve and Read Write Inc. English teachers are responsible for the relevant provision of their own groups and individually develop weekly plans derived from the wide range of resources which give details of learning objectives and appropriate differentiated activities. Although planned in advance, plans should be reviewed and adjusted on a daily basis to better suit the arising needs of the class and individual pupils.
Updated September 2016