At St John’s Primary School we believe that English is a fundamental life skill. English develops children’s ability to listen, speak, read and write for a wide range of purposes. Children are enabled to express themselves creatively and imaginatively as they become enthusiastic and critical readers of stories, poetry and drama, as well as of non-fiction and media texts. Children gain an understanding of how language works by looking at its patterns, structures and origins. Children use their knowledge, skills and understanding in speaking and writing across a range of different situations.
At St John's we understand that Speaking and Listening abilities are the key foundations for lifelong learning. We endeavour to ensure that children learn to listen effectively and speak clearly and accurately. As children grow in confidence, we build on their skills for public speaking and performance through a range of activities.
Across the school, we use a range of strategies to teach reading including enabling children to actively engage in different types of reading: shared, guided and individual. We teach phonics and word decoding skills to help children become fluent readers and successful writers. Discrete daily phonics sessions are taught throughout EYFS and KS1 and continue into KS2 for learners requiring extra support. Phonics are taught using our adapted version of the Letters and Sounds scheme while making use of a variety of interactive programs.
Children in EYFS and KS2 regularly take part in guided reading sessions with teachers. In KS2, children have daily opportunities to read in all areas of the curriculum. Specific reading skills are taught through discrete reading sessions focussing on the texts the class is studying at the time.
As children progress through the school, they use a variety of resources to engage and inspire them to develop a love of reading and an appreciation of quality children’s literature. In addition to graded reading books, all children have access to our class libraries where they can access and borrow from a good selection of both fiction and non-fiction books.
We have adopted "The Write Stuff" by Jane Considine to bring clarity to the mechanics of writing. "The Write Stuff" follows a method called "Sentence Stacking" which refers to the fact that sentences are stacked together chronologically and organised to engage children with short, intensive moments of learning that they can then immediately apply to their own writing. An individual lesson is based on a sentence model, broken in to 3 learning chunks. Each learning chunk has three sections:
- Initiate section – a stimulus to capture the children’s imagination and set up a sentence.
- Model section – the teacher close models a sentence that outlines clear writing features and techniques.
- Enable section – the children write their sentence, following the model.
Children are challenged to ‘Deepen the Moment’ which requires them to independently draw upon previously learnt skills and apply them to their writing during that chunk.
After children have become immersed in the skills for writing, they are provided with opportunities to write at length for a range of purposes and audiences.
Spelling is taught through the use of a spelling log across KS1 and KS2
We use a variety of approaches to enable children to become confident, independent writers.