English At Comberton In Early Years and Key Stage 1
Children in Key Stage 1 have timetabled class-based English every day along with guided reading, phonics and spelling sessions through the week. The English curriculum is led by a variety of texts and genres, with inclusion of Read Write Inc's 'Literacy and Language' units in year 2.
Guided reading sessions give children an opportunity to develop key reading skills through carefully planned and taught activities. Texts used in these sessions may link directly with the text or genre being taught within literacy units. In addition, we have recently purchased Oxford University Press' 'Project-X Origins' series. These link directly to the new national curriculum and allow for key skills to be explicitly taught. In these sessions children will have the opportunity to read with an adult in a small group for skills to be modelled and taught, and to also embed and apply reading skills through independent activities.
Read Write Inc
Our children in Early Years and Key Stage One are benefiting from a curriculum supported by Read Write Inc. This is a literacy programme where children learn to read rapidly. It is systematic and structured and provides children with the skills that they need to read well so they can progress to reading to learn for the rest of their lives.
Children in year 2 who passed the phonics screening check at year 1 undertake a mixture of speed sounds revision, the RWi spelling programme covering the year group's spelling expectations outlined in the national curriculum, and grammar practice during these afternoon sessions.
Children will be taught the speed sounds. Please take the time to have a look at both the simple and the complex speed sounds chart. If you would like one of these from school please let your class teacher know. The sounds are split into three sets and children will work their way through these systematically. Children will move on to new sounds once they have a firm knowledge of the sound they have learnt. Continual reviewing of previous sounds is built into the programme. Children will learn these sounds and have them embedded fully before they are expected to read them in a book. There is a clear message in Read Write Inc. that we ‘set the children up to succeed’.
Practising reading regularly with your child at home is extremely valuable to their progress. In addition to this please, where possible, read to your child at bedtime or other times of the day as this helps to encourage a love of reading and also develops the children’s vocabulary.
Fred the Frog
Fred the frog helps the children to read and spell. Fred cannot read words he can only read sounds so when children are faced with new words you can ask them to ‘Fred talk’ the word, for example, c-a-t. It is important when children sound out that they use pure sounds so please refer to the videos that we have added links to for guidance on this. Fred can also help with spelling and the children will be used to the term ‘Fred fingers’. The children can say the word out loud and then press the sounds onto their fingers.
English at Key Stage Two
Our Key Stage Two English curriculum is developed through units of work and supported by Read Write Inc.’s Literacy and Language programme, which follows on from the programme used in Early Years and Key Stage 1. Children are taught within class groups; covering reading, writing and grammar using stimulating and engaging texts as a starting point.
Texts are introduced using a three-layer approaching; first giving the ‘bare bones’ of a story which the children explore verbally and through actions, then adding further detail before finally reading and re-reading the full text. This approach allows children to develop a deep understanding of what they are reading. Activities around the text allow for in-depth exploration of character, events, genre, historical and cultural contexts and author choices. Children regularly record their thoughts, findings and predictions around a text. We use a range of reading interventions to support the children, including: Rapid Reading, additional time reading with an adult or additional guided reading sessions in small groups.
The texts used within classes contain rich and varied vocabulary which allow children to further develop language choices within their own writing. Teacher-led activities show children how to plan, draft, rehearse and edit texts preparing them to write ambitiously. Writing tasks are varied and ensure children have the opportunity to compose a range of text types. Grammar is taught in context within the programme, ensuring children are constantly putting into practice the skills they are being taught.
Homework is set once a week. Children may receive homework linking directly to their work that week, or your child’s teacher may set other work which they feel is suitable. We encourage you to spend time supporting your child in the completion of their homework each week as it is key to allowing skills taught to be consolidated.
The new National Curriculum from September 2014 outlines grammar expectations for each year group. At Comberton we as a staff have worked hard to ensure a consistent approach when teaching grammar in order for our children to have a clear understanding of grammar rules and terminology.
Homework which your child brings home may often have a grammar focus, using terminology from the new curriculum. You may find the link to the Ruth Miskin training site where grammar basics are explained useful. This is included below. In addition, a grammar bank with explanations for terminology associated with the new curriculum is included; there are even ‘test yourself’ activities to brush up on your own grammar knowledge.
We have also recently taken on the Read Write Inc spelling programme for years 2-6. This will be the method in which spelling is taught for all children who have completed the Read Write Inc. phonics programme.
We will be implementing this programme from October 2014. It will signal a real change in the way the teaching of spelling is delivered at our school, as lists for rote learning will no longer be sent home. Instead, regular teaching of spelling patterns and rules, along with developing an understanding of words in context, will give children transferrable skills allowing them to apply what they learn to their written work. Some children, who find spelling difficult, may receive additional support in small intervention groups.