At St Mary’s, we aim to develop a lifelong passion for reading, writing and speaking and listening, where English is at the heart of our curriculum. We strive to immerse children in rich and varied texts that foster a habit of writing for a wide variety of purposes. At St Mary’s, we believe that reading, writing and good communication are key skills for life, both inside and out of education, and that is why they feature across all the subjects taught within our school. We immerse children in a language rich environment, challenging children to see themselves as authors, writing for an audience. Writing across all subject areas will prepare our children for high school and the more in-depth approach to analysing, planning and innovating their writing.
We foster a love of reading for pleasure as well as information. We aim for all children to be able to read easily, fluently and with good understanding, in turn becoming life-long readers.
We want to inspire children to be confident in the art of speaking and listening and to be able to use discussion to communicate and further their learning. We encourage all children to become reflective learners, through self and peer reflection. We believe that a secure basis in literacy skills is crucial to high quality education and will give our children the tools they need to thrive in today’s society.
The overarching aim for English in the National Curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.
Through the teaching and learning of English, at St. Mary’s, children should:
- read easily, fluently and with good understanding
- develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
- be introduced to a wide range of genres written by a variety of accomplished children’s authors
- acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
- appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
- write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
- use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
- be competent in the art of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.
Statement of implementation
In the infants, reading is taught through the systematic synthetics phonics programme Read, Write Inc. and through story time sessions, which aim to develop the children’s vocabulary from an early age. Parents are encouraged to support the children’s early reading through the use of book bag books, which are sent home weekly. We believe that this partnership with parents is key in giving every child the opportunity to become a reader, who enjoys reading for pleasure, as well as for learning. Once the children have become fluent readers, we use Read, Write Inc. comprehension resources to develop the children’s comprehension skills, ensuring a focus on the National Curriculum content domains for KS1.
The development of reading continues in KS2 with guided reading sessions, four times weekly. These take place during the first lesson of the day with a key focus of developing and enhancing the children’s vocabulary knowledge, through the use of rich and varied texts. Teacher’s ensure that the KS2 National Curriculum content domains are covered and that the children regularly have reading modelled to them, as well as ample opportunities to discuss a range of text types, reading materials and authors.
Writing is developed through Read, Write Inc, in FS/KS1 and through topic related writing opportunities, through continuous provision, or set writing tasks. Whilst writing is highly modelled, the children are afforded opportunities for independent writing.
From Y2 onwards, we use The Write Stuff programme to develop the children’s writing in a range of genres, both fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Writing is expertly modelled by teachers, and discussions and modelling of the use of vocabulary, grammar and punctuation is integrated within these lessons. Where additional tuition is necessary, independent grammar lessons may be taught.
At St Mary’s, we foster a creativity and excitement for writing where children demonstrate a pride in the work they produce, and a confidence to share their writing with others.
Read, Write Inc planning is used by the staff leading each of the groups. Access to on-line training videos supports staff in their delivery of each stage of a lesson. This ensures that all children, whatever stage of their reading journey, have the same phonics experience and are enabled to make good progress.
A set format of planning a unit of work is used by Y2 and KS2 staff to deliver Write Stuff writing lessons. These plans clearly highlight the writing to be modelled for the children as well as the grammar and punctuation to be focussed on during each part of the lesson.
Throughout FS/KS1 the children progress through the different stages of the RWI programme. The children are assessed regularly, and movement through the groups is fluid. In KS2, whole class guided reading sessions are planned and delivered in a similar way, in order that children make progress through the year and, subsequently, through each year group. A range of texts, which increase in difficulty throughout the key stage, are used to take the children forward on their learning journey. Using the writing expectations for each year group, teachers plan and deliver Write Stuff lessons, ensuring that grammar and punctuation knowledge from previous year groups is secure before moving forward. In this way, the children are supported to make good progress through to Year 6.
All aspects of English are integral to our wider curriculum. English texts and genres have been thoughtfully selected and planned to support and enhance the National Curriculum coverage in Science, History and Geography. Reading, Writing and Speaking and Listening are, therefore, developed through meaningful activities. Our pupils confidently take part in school initiatives, including class assemblies, collective worship, church services, School Council meetings etc.
Reading areas in each class are well resourced with a range of popular children’s literature. Reading materials include books from the reading lists that have been created for each year group. Books, artefacts or experiences are used as a stimulus for writing as well as trips, workshops and visiting authors. On-line subscriptions are also available for staff to access alternative resources, such as images or film clips, which can further stimulate writing or oral discussions and presentations.
Displays throughout school are used both as a learning tool and to showcase the children’s work in English. Collective, whole school displays are also used to celebrate our shared English experiences. This might be through World Book Days, National Poetry Days, or other focussed writing weeks.
Staff use formative and summative information to inform their short-term planning and short-term interventions. This helps us provide the best possible support for all of our pupils, including the more able. Year group reading and writing targets, based on National Curriculum objectives, have been created and these inform both our planning and assessment for learning. Assessment information is analysed by the English Subject Lead, the Deputy Head teacher and Head teacher, as part of our monitoring cycle. Pupil progress reviews are conducted termly. This process provides the SLT and Governors with an accurate and comprehensive understanding of the quality of education in our school.
The monitoring of lessons and children’s books allows the English Lead to support the development of teaching and learning, and deliver necessary inset to support the continued improvement of teaching and learning standards.
With the implementation of the writing journey being well established and taught thoroughly throughout school, children are becoming more confident writers. By the time they are in upper Key Stage 2, most genres of writing are familiar to them and the teaching can focus on creativity, writer’s craft, sustained writing and manipulation of grammar and punctuation skills.
Where the reading curriculum has been successful, pupils will read for pleasure engaging in a wide range of reading material. They will have a high level of fluency, comprehension and evaluative reading ability.
Pupils leave St Mary’s confident to express themselves orally, speaking appropriately in differing situations. They communicate effectively with peers and adults, using excellent and wide ranging vocabulary.
St Mary’s pupils leave school fully equipped for English at Secondary school.
Pupils’ feedback, in terms of the content and approach to delivering the English curriculum, is important to us. Through discussions with the children, we assess their enjoyment of the subject and gauge whether particular texts or approaches are working. Teachers are very evaluative in their teaching and delivery of lessons and will adapt their approach to meet the needs of their class. The English Lead conducts pupil interviews as a further extension of our monitoring and evaluation of the subject.
Treasury of Texts
As a school, we want to promote reading for pleasure and enthuse your child about reading. The following recommendations represent a range of genres which we hope will encourage your child’s desire to read. We have chosen a range of texts, from a variety of authors, with an excellent record of accomplishment in writing high quality children’s books.
The book lists are on display in the classroom, and their guided reading journals will also contain a list. As your child reads a book from the list, they will be given a sticker to show that they have read it. We also encourage you to listen to your children read and also read to them. The discussion that you can have related to the books will be invaluable to their reading development.
Some of the books can be found in the classroom, and your child is welcome to borrow these. You may need to resource others from the library or borrow from one another.
There is an expectation that a minimum of six books, from the list, are read over the course of the academic year. This equates to at least one per half term. It would be fantastic if your child could read more than this.
Your child may read from the book list of a younger year group if they are less confident with reading.
When your child reads a book that they really enjoy, and it is one that they would recommend to others, they will be asked to complete a book review. This will then be displayed in the classroom, to encourage others to pick up and read the book. Your child will be expected to write a minimum of three book reviews, during the course of the year.
Book Report Templates
Class teachers will choose a template that they believe suits their class. These will be put in the Google Classroom, with a message, at the start of the academic year. Please find the selection below.
Reception Autumn 1 Texts
1. A Little Bit Brave by Nicola Kinnear
2. Hairy Maclary fro Donaldson's Dairy by Lynley Dodd
3. The Koala Who Could by Rachel Bright
4. Only One You by Linda Kranz
5. Ruby's Worry: A Big Bright Feelings Book by Tom Percival
Reception Spring 1 Texts
1. The Gruffalo's Child by Julia Donaldson
2. Gorilla by Anthony Browne
3. Six Dinner Sid by Inga Moore
4. Where the Wild Things are by Maurice Sendak
5. The Wonky Donkey by Craig Smith
Reception Summer 1 Texts
1. The Dinky Donkey by Craig Smith
2. The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
3. The Scarecrows' Wedding by Julia Donaldson
4. Tiddler the Story Telling Fish by Julia Donaldson
5. How to be a Viking by Cressida Cowell
English Learning Resources
Please click on the links below to access our resources.