In line with the National Curriculum, the teaching of English is structured to develop skills in:
a) Speaking and Listening so as to become effective communicators and develop self-confidence. This is achieved through listening to and telling stories, sharing experiences, discussion, drama, role-play, school performances and class assemblies.
b) Reading to become independent readers for pleasure, information and instruction. We have a structured reading programme from Nursery to Year 6. Pupils are given the opportunity to read every day as individuals, in groups and in whole class sessions. Since reading is not just about recognising words, the children develop skills associated with oral and written comprehension, expressive phrases and vocabulary, story and character development and using texts as a source of information. There is a wide range of material available - fiction, non-fiction, information, poetry, etc. Children will bring home a reading book every day and children will be taught to use library systems appropriate to their age. We strongly advise parents to sit and read with their child as regularly as possible and to be partners in developing their child’s skill as a reader. Staff are happy to discuss this with parents at any time.
Our aim is to foster each child’s enjoyment of reading.
We place great emphasis on reading for pleasure and giving children the opportunity to read to different audiences. We provide opportunities for peer reading, paired reading with other year groups as well as enjoying lively story sessions at the end of the day.
Our main approach to teaching reading is through synthetic phonics, which introduces the children to individual letter sounds before moving on to blends and diagraphs. We use the Jolly Phonics scheme which incorporates a range of motivational and multi-sensory strategies such as singing songs, performing actions for each of the 42 letter sounds, listening to short stories and looking at flash cards with pictures.
There are five skills taught within Jolly Phonics:
1.Learning the letter sounds
2.Learning letter formation
4.Identifying the sounds in words (Segmenting)
Children are encouraged to take books home to share with adults, and individual reading books are given by the class teacher when they feel the child is ready based on their phonic skills.
Throughout Year 1 we continue to use the Jolly Phonics scheme to further support children with their reading. We also teach guided reading on a daily basis with an additional book. During these sessions children will be given a weekly Oxford Reading Tree book as well to take home to share with an adult. To develop comprehension skills we encourage children to talk about the books they are reading and use the context and picture clues and a range of decoding skills in addition to their use of phonics. Children are given literacy based activities to support and extend their reading through guided reading sessions. Reading books are changed weekly.
Year 2 – Year 6
Some children may still require a Jolly Phonics books to support their learning but most will simply have a weekly Oxford Reading Tree book. These are used for guided reading and will be changed on a weekly basis. As the children progress onto more challenging books they may keep them for longer than a week. In addition to scheme books, children also have the opportunity to take home Free Readers, which are non-scheme books appropriate for the child’s reading level and ability. These will still be sent home and used for Guided Reading.
Children are given the opportunity to read a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry books throughout their time at Christchurch.
In Reception and Year 1 we use the lettering below. Please do not teach your children to use capital letters, except at the beginning of their names, as they will use only lower case (i.e. small letters) to start with. Children in Year 1 will also start learning to join letters.
Small letters are written as follows:
By Year 2 most children have learned to join the letters together as in these examples:
Numbers are written as follows:
We aim to give the children a wide variety of experiences right across the curriculum in order to develop their skills of imaginative writing, poetry, recording, re-telling and sequencing, predicting, letter writing, note taking, drafting and comprehension. We teach grammar and punctuation in order to enable children to express their thoughts in writing. We aim to enhance their understanding of descriptive writing and the appropriate language associated with the various types and styles of written communication.
We use the cursive style of handwriting and aim to teach children to have a natural, fluent handwriting style that is pleasant to look at, quick to accomplish and easy to read. In Key Stage 2 some of the children use handwriting pens with black ink. Handwriting ties in very closely with spelling. It is partly the memory of moving the pencil or pen to make words that helps make for accurate spelling. The school uses the ‘Nelson’ form of joined script.
Across the phases of learning, children are taught to spell and understand the spelling patterns which will enhance their word attack skills. Good spelling is important as it frees a child to write what he or she wants to say. Classes are set weekly spellings which are displayed in the classroom. Spellings will be sent home for children to practise. When learning spellings, one of the strategies a child can follow is:
Look at the word carefully, so that you remember what you have seen;
Cover the word so that you cannot see it;
Write the whole word from memory saying it softly to yourself as you are writing;
Check what you have written.