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English is a core subject within the National Curriculum and has a high profile across the school. Wherever possible, English is taught through a cross-curricular theme, making learning more meaningful to children and allowing pupils to transfer skills of speaking and listening, reading and writing to other curriculum areas.
Spoken language is taught via a variety of speaking and listening activities, including group collaboration and drama work throughout the school. Children develop confidence in explaining, justifying and experimenting with their ideas; deepening their understanding and providing a wonderful platform on which to build creative writing opportunities.
The school has an excellent range of reading materials to suit different ages, abilities and interests. Books are colour banded to suit the reading ability and interest age of the pupils in school. This allows pupils to read from a range of authors and schemes. Children read regularly with an adult, within a small guided group, concentrating on the enjoyment, understanding and response to a particular book or extract. A large variety of Guided Reading books allow all classes in school to complete a Reading Rocks session and follow up work daily.
Reading Rocks is a new initiative that has replaced the Guided Reading sessions. This scheme is for one hour a week and enables differentiated groups more time to study texts at length and learn the skills required to be an active reader.
We greatly value the role of parents/carers in furthering the reading taking place in school and believe this to be an important partnership. Children take home a reading book and are expected to read at least three times per week as part of their homework; discussing their reading in order to develop effective comprehension skills. Each child also has the opportunity to further enhance their reading skills and enjoyment of reading by choosing and changing reading books regularly. We are very lucky to have recently purchased a large selection of new books, making our library areas both incredibly comprehensive and exciting.
Children are taught to recognise the phonics necessary to become proficient readers through schemes such as ‘Letters and Sounds’. Programmes are run by individual teachers on the basis of need. These programmes teach phonetic knowledge in an ordered and thorough way, equipping children with the necessary tools to become independent and confident readers.
From entrance into our school, children are taught a cursive style of writing. Phonics skills and knowledge of letter patterns are taught in a structured way, incorporating a wide range of teaching styles to best meet the needs of all learners. Children are encouraged to become writers from the beginning of their education at KS1, through the process of emergent writing. This practise continues at Langley Mill Junior, where children develop as writers through the reading of outstanding texts and the teaching of specific skills to move them to independent writers; achieving to the best of his ability. Spelling is taught from year group word lists and spelling rules, taken from The National Curriculum.
Our cross-curricular approach is successfully enabling pupils to use their English skills in a variety of exciting and real contexts. We ensure that writing is for a purpose and for a particular audience. Whether that is producing a poem for the school website or a piece of information for a class book, children are able to see a purpose for the task in hand and remain more motivated as a result.
Great importance is attached to guided writing. Children work regularly with an adult, within a small focus group. Through on-going teacher assessments, each child’s exact learning needs can be addressed and specific strengths or areas for development can be targeted effectively.
We believe that learning should be fun and are passionate about the wonder and inspiration to be found in well-loved books.
Confident readers create confident writers. Once a love of literature has been fostered, the sky is the limit!