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St Bernadette's Catholic Primary

With Jesus in our Hearts, we have:

The passion to learn,

The courage to fail,

The strength to love

English

 

At St. Bernadette’s, we believe a high-quality of education in English is vital to teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them.

 

Our English curriculum, which is underpinned by the national curriculum, has been carefully mapped out to include a range of current and high quality texts. These texts include picture books, novels, poetry as well as fiction and non-fiction. These texts are linked to year group topics to support cross curriculum links. This helps children develop their culture capital; knowledge and vocabulary that then can be transferred into both reading and writing.

 

Writing

Class teachers plan writing journeys according to a specific form and purpose. This ensures that skills and knowledge of Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling are being taught for a clear reason and outcomes. Teachers also select reading skills from the national curriculum as an opportunity to not only practice and learn these skills, but to use these them to develop their writing. All skills that are taught throughout a unit of text are used in the child’s final piece of writing therefore children are clear why they are learning these skills and who they are writing for. We carefully choose and plan high quality text drivers (both visual and digital) as a basis for our English units, linked to a topic, where possible. We endeavour to encourage children to find their inner author.

Through high quality teaching of the national curriculum we try to ensure that all children:

  • read easily, fluently and with good understanding
  • develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
  • 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
  • are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.

 

Handwriting

The children learn handwriting through the Pen Pals scheme.

 

Reading

In the Early Years and Key Stage 1, phonics is taught daily to all children. Alongside this, children are exposed to a wide range of ‘real books’ by accessing a range of texts from their class library and school library. At this key stage, there is a greater emphasis on the teaching and learning of decoding skills.

 

From Year 2 until Year 6, children are introduced to a wide range of genres through shared reading lessons. This is a whole class based reading lesson where the children are explicitly taught the skills of: vocabulary, inference, prediction, explanation, retrieval and sequencing (VIPERS). The children practise these skills through a range of differentiated activities, where the children respond both verbally and through short writing activities. This shared reading experience encourages children engage in discussions with their peers, share thoughts and ideas, undoubtedly promoting reading for pleasure and a love of reading, while developing comprehension skills.

 

Early readers across KS2 develop their phonics and reading skills by working in small-group adult-led Guided Reading sessions, where children share the same book, which is appropriate to their reading and phonics level. During this time, the children will focus on decoding, sight-reading common exception words (tricky words) and exploring the meaning of new vocabulary all of which appears in their text. The adult uses carefully planned questioning to check comprehension skills, which the children respond to verbally.

 

Developing a love of reading is at the heart of our English curriculum.  All classes have their own book corners where children can choose books at their leisure. Moreover, we have a well-resourced library which all classes visit at least once a week where the can borrow a book of their choice. The school have a close link with the SLS (School’s Library Service), who ensure that our library and class libraries contains new and exciting texts as well as texts that link to current topics.

 

Author of the Month

At St Bernadette’s we strive to promote the love of reading within our children.

To be a fluent reader is not only a necessary life skill, but one of life’s greatest pleasures. Books are a gateway for children and adults to explore new worlds, learn about the past, spark imaginations and develop critical thinking skills. Children should learn that reading is also a way to relax therefore an important mental health tool.

To ensure our children read a rich variety of books and have an opportunity to learn about different writers and genres, we have launched Author of the Month.

Each month is dedicated to a different author. This is promoted in class as well as our school library, where children are able to borrow books written by the author.

 

Developing Reading skills and Reading for Pleasure

In addition to the above, we also develop reading skills and reading for pleasure by:

  • World Book Day - Each year, we take part in World Book Day which is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate books as a whole school community
  • Summer Reading Challenge – Every Summer we encourage teachers and pupils to take part in the summer reading challenge in association with our local library
  • Readathon – Children are encouraged to take part in the readathon to raise money for new books. Last year we raised £1800.
  • Parents and Careers are welcomed into school to hear children read
  • Supporting Reading at Home – a document produced by our English manager which is written for parents to support their child in their reading journey. This document explains the importance of reading for pleasure as well as having a growth mindset. It also includes examples of questioning, reading strategies and useful websites. This document is available to all via the website
  • Supporting Phonics at Home - a document produced by our English manager which is written for parents to support their child in their phonological learning journey. This documents explains what systematic, synthetic phonics is and its importance when developing early readers. It includes a glossary of phonetic terms and explains the importance of teaching ‘pure’ sounds. The document has a hyperlink to a website that parents can access to hear the 44 sounds being pronounced correctly, ensuring that they are modeling correctly at home. It also includes useful activities and websites. This document is available to all via our website.
  •  All children in Reception are provided with a phonics wallet, which contains sound cards for children to use at home. Videos to support parents with home reading are uploaded onto Tapestry.
  • We provide supplement reading materials such as Oxford Owls and Wheelers online library by ePlatform
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