English at Chase Side
At Chase Side Primary School, we believe that literacy and communication are key life skills. Through the English curriculum, we will help children develop the skills and knowledge that will enable them to communicate effectively and creatively through spoken and written language and equip them with the skills to become lifelong learners. We want children to enjoy and appreciate literature and its rich variety.
English is at the heart of all children’s learning. Literacy enables children both to communicate with others effectively for a variety of purposes and to examine their own and others’ experiences, feelings and ideas, giving these order and meaning. As literacy is central to children’s intellectual, emotional and social development it has an essential role across the curriculum and helps pupils’ learning to be coherent and progressive.
All children are taught synthetic phonics throughout Nursery, Reception and KS1. Teaching follows the Letters and Sounds guidance and is adapted to meet children’s needs. The approach includes many games and activities which children enjoy. Through phonics teaching children learn to read and write using blending (putting sounds together e.g. c-a-t is cat) and segmenting (e.g. knowing that shop is sh-o-p) as well as learning ‘tricky’ words (words that cannot be decoded with phonic knowledge e.g. the, what, asked). Phonic knowledge is built upon through reading sessions.
We follow the Book Bands system for reading across the school which focuses on books that have been analysed to identify the reading strategies along with the decoding and common word use strategies required to enable children to engage with them successfully. Each colour book band focuses on developing inferential (understanding and meaning) clues alongside decoding clues until children are fluent readers (see strategies below) which is generally towards the end of Key Stage 1. In Year 1, children engage in daily reading sessions supported by an adult – these are part of the Daily Support Reading (DSR) scheme. Weekly DRS style sessions are also included in Reception classes after Christmas.
From Year 2 to Year 6 children are taught reading through whole class shared reading and group guided reading focusing appropriate colour banded books. This approach introduces children to a range of texts and equips them with the skills to comprehend effectively. Skills are taught using VIPERS:
Where Key Stage 2 children may need decoding support or are working at the lower colour bands, they may also be provided with additional adult support or focused interventions such as 5 Minute Box or 15 Minutes a Day.
At Chase Side we believe that writing happens across the curriculum. Children are given opportunities to write in a range of curriculum areas, not just English lessons. We believe that good quality writing comes from using high quality texts to stimulate ideas. We use whole class texts such as Man on the Moon, Leon and the Place between, The Highway Man and Wonder to stimulate ideas and discussions. As well as writing across a range of genres (fiction and non fiction) in English lessons children develop their writing across the curriculum (e.g. information texts in history and Geography; explanations in science as well as many more opportunities)
Teachers use success criteria ladders to assess children’s writing. These are linked to the skills that are being taught and demonstrated in each piece of writing. Children use the same criteria to self-assess their progress.
Spelling is taught across the school and follows on from phonics teaching to focus on spelling patterns and how to apply them. Children are given weekly spellings in their planners to practice at home.
We use the Penpals scheme for handwriting and expect children to be using joined writing as they progress through the school.
Each year we celebrate book week around World Book Day at the start of March. This is a week focusing on celebrating Books and a lover of reading at Chase Side, as well as dressing up as a whole range of imaginative book characters.
Themes in recent years have included ‘Enjoy stories. Love reading.’; ‘Books that made it big. (Books turned into films, plays and television series)’ and ‘Comics and Graphic novels’.