English Curriculum Rationale
At West Malling CE Primary School and The McGinty Speech and Language Centre, we believe that literacy and communication are key life skills. We strive to give children the necessary tools to be able to communicate effectively and creatively through spoken and written language and to equip them with the skills to become lifelong learners. We encourage children to develop a love of reading by using a range of texts which inspire and excite young readers and writers. We use the CLPE’s Power of Reading resource that uses quality children’s literature and creative teaching approaches. This enables us to develop a rich English curriculum and foster a whole school love of reading and writing.
All children from Early Years to Year 6 are provided with many opportunities to develop and apply their writing skills across the curriculum. Our intention is for pupils to be able to plan, write and edit their writing, using a class Power of Reading text (see document below). They will also develop an awareness of the audience, purpose and context, and an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. We strive for pupils to leave school being able to use fluent, legible handwriting. We use the Penpals handwriting scheme that ensures progression from early development of gross and fine motor skills to confident letter formation and accomplished joins.
Punctuation and grammar is taught from Year 1 in English lessons and by Key Stage Two they are taught in discrete ‘SPaG’ lessons, using the school’s SPaG progression document (see link below).
Read Write Inc. Spellings
The majority of children will be ready to move onto Read Write Inc. Spelling by the time they start Key Stage Two. This programme prepares children for the higher demands of the statutory spelling assessments in England. Each year group has a unit to be explored a week which starts with an interactive introduction, explaining the spelling pattern taught. The children then get the chance to practise the spelling throughout the week through dictation activities, placing the spellings in the right context and learning the spelling using strategies previously taught in Key Stage One. They will then be tested weekly.
Shared reading takes place within English lessons through the whole class reading of the Power of Reading text (see document below). This provides an enriching experience, highlighting vocabulary, themes, genre, SPaG and story telling. The Power of Reading book is usually studied across the whole term and sometimes over two.
Read Write Inc. Phonics
We use Ruth Miskin’s Read, Write Inc. Phonics and Spelling Scheme. This is a whole school approach. The phonics programme is used in Early Years and Key Stage One, daily. Children learn various phonemes (segments of sound) and the corresponding grapheme i.e. how that sound is written. Sounds are divided into 3 sets.
The programme involves specific terminology which your child may talk about when they come home:
Reading Write Inc. Reading
There are book bag books that are sent home which match children’s increasing knowledge of phonics. Once children have moved on from phonic based books, they will have access to a range of free reader books. Children are grouped by ability in guided reading sessions and these are interactive, include partner work, role play and drama. A thought-provoking introduction prompts for thinking out loud and discussion helps children comprehend what they are reading. They will come across Green Words (these are words which can be read phonetically) and Red Words (these are words which cannot be read phonetically).
Key Stage Two Reading
In Key Stage Two, the children have regular formal guided reading sessions. These take place in small groups, where they read a wide variety of extracts from fiction and non-fiction texts to help to develop their reading skills. Each group has dedicated teacher led reading time once a week. They also have the opportunity to answer comprehension questions independently, revisit SPaG learning, practise spellings and read for enjoyment. The children are encouraged to read books from home, our class book corners and our school library.