English at Christ the King Catholic Primary School
At Christ the King, English we are passionate about English and approach this in many exciting, innovative ways. We understand that a good foundation in English language can help children’s prospects in the future. We want our children to leave school being able to communicate effectively with peers and adults as well as develop a love for reading and writing. The English curriculum is split into three key area; spoken language, reading and writing. Please scroll below to find out more information about each area and how you can support your child.
Spoken language is key to the success of an individual and underpins their success in reading and writing. This includes the need to communicate with peers and adults to express emotions and ideas and experiencing and understanding a range of vocabulary. From the moment children enter our school, they are modeled high quality spoken vocabulary and speaking and listening skills are always taught and developed before children come to write a piece of work. Children are also actively encouraged to participate in drama throughout units of work and in cross-curricular subjects as a form of communicating their ideas.
In the EYFS, children have daily letter formation and phonics sessions which begin their writing journey. There are also creative writing areas where children can express their thoughts in paper as well as orally.
Phonics continues in Year One with a daily lesson where children are taught in an interactive, visual and kinesthetic way to spell and blend words. This teaching prepares children for the phonic assessment during Year One.
In Key Stage One and Key Stage Two, children have an hour daily English lesson that consists of learning grammar and spelling rules in a fun way where children can experiment with the English learning and understand it. Each year group has it own spelling rules to learn and government word lists to focus on as well as grammatical terms to learn and identify. On the other days, children learn about different genres through fiction and non-fiction units.
The English units that are taught are split into the different genres of writing and children cover a range of these each year and develop them as they move through the school. Some of the units covered during primary education include; letters, narrative, persuasive texts and poetry.
Children are taught the features of each text type and then plan, write and redraft their final version to produce a high quality piece of writing that is fit for purpose that they can be proud of.
The links between reading and writing are constant with there being high quality texts chosen during each writing unit. This means that children have a rich repertoire of classic and modern texts to help craft their child’s imagination and writing. Some of the texts we use include; Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis and Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian. Texts are specifically chosen to meet the interest needs of the children and have appropriate challenge to extend the children.
For children who are working below the expected level, differentiated work is provided in a fun way, which helps work on the skills that are vital to the individual’s development. Interventions are put into place and extra support is given.
Learning to read is a fundermental skill for life and we place high importance to teaching children how to read in a fun way. A child who reads at home for pleasure is thirteen times more likely to read above the expected age level for their age. From the moment a child enters our school, we foster a love of reading in them through careful text choices, having a wide range of texts available in the library, enthusiastic staff and events throughout the year such as World Book Day, National Poetry Day and Roald Dahl Day. In all year groups, adults read children texts to model high quality reading skills and for children to develop their love of books.
In the EYFS, children are read exciting picture books by adults to begin their love of reading and stories. Comprehension about the book starts in the EYFS with children making simple predictions about what might happen next and inferring a character’s feelings. Children also begin to take home reading books which are colourful, phonetically decodable and have lovable characters such as Biff, Chip and Kipper.
In Key Stage One, children continue to read the reading scheme whilst developing their fluency. Children are heard read by a teacher a minimum of once a week and they develop their comprehension and decoding skills through the use of ‘Book talk’. Reading is also taught through the English lessons with the direct reading of the high quality texts that underpin the English units which are taught.
By Key Stage Two, most children will have mastered decoding and go onto higher level understanding with the direct teaching of comprehension. Comprehension is taught when children are heard read by an adult during ‘Book talk’ and through the English lessons. Children begin to analyse author’s word choices and from an opinion on texts and justify their views. Everyday, children get a chance to read their own books quietly, which they absolutely adore.
On both sites, there is a rich library full to the brim with innumerable books from a range of genres and a wide number of authors to choose from including classic authors and modern ones. We encourage children to read for pleasure as much as they can. We have comfortable seats in the library and many classrooms have inviting reading corners for children to enjoy a book. In addition, we have classroom libraries where children are always welcome to pick up a book to read and experience new authors.
For children working below age expectations, various interventions are put into place in order to bridge the gap. These include; ‘Improving Reading Comprehension’, ‘BRP’ and daily reading with an adult to target the area of need. A wide range of exciting, engaging books are available for children of all ability ranges.
The reading scheme at Christ the King
Home reading books mainly follow Oxford Reading Tree but are supplemented with Ginn, Collins Big Cat and Phonic Bug. The children are expected to read their reading book daily and home reading records are checked in school. For those children who enjoy eBooks, we also subscribe to Bug Club which allows children to access books online.
We follow the National Book bands which progress in the following order: Lilac
As part of our homework, children in years 2-5 have a Reading Comprehension Record where they complete two task of their choice about their reading books. All of the tasks link to the national curriculum expectations of children and children enjoy completing them. The tasks are a mixture of art based activities and writing activities which also practice the children’s writing skills.
Some examples of work completed:
Children’s thoughts on reading at Christ the King:
“I love all of the different books in the library.” Year 5 pupil.
“Reading makes me happy.” Year 3 pupil.
“I really enjoy the Reading Comprehension homework because it’s art, writing and reading all together.” Year 4 pupil.
We appreciate all of the support that you give your child with the English curriculum. We expect that children will be heard read by an adult daily. As the child gets older, there’s a larger emphasis on comprehension so any questions you can ask your child about their reading book will help their understanding. Please see the below documents for questions you can ask your child whilst you are hearing them read.
Also, spellings need to be practiced at home as well as talking to your child to expose them to new vocabulary and explain the meaning of it to them.