It is our intention when teaching the English curriculum that our pupils acquire the necessary knowledge, skills and understanding to become life-long learners and leave our school ‘secondary ready’.
English is a core subject of the National Curriculum and a pre-requisite for educational and social progress as it underpins the work undertaken in all areas of the curriculum. The acquisition of language skills is of the upmost importance and therefore the teaching of all aspects English is given a high priority at South End Junior.
We predominantly teach writing using Pie Corbett’s ‘Talk for Writing’ approach, employing the three stages of imitation, innovation and invention to a range of non-fiction and fiction genres. We aim to link our writing context to our curriculum projects as well as planning real life reasons for children to write, enthusing them with a purpose for their writing.
Children are inspired to write through the use of high-quality texts and by us immersing them in vocabulary-rich learning environments. The etymology of words is explored with the children and they are encouraged to create their own definitions for any newly acquired vocabulary.
As far as possible, grammar and punctuation techniques are taught through our ‘Talk for Writing’ chapters of learning to enable us to teach not only the basic skill, but also how to control the use by evaluating the impact for the reader.
Spelling is taught systematically to ensure that children understand the link between phonics teaching and phonetically plausible spellings. As they move through KS2, common exception words are learned and these are spelled with increasing accuracy. We focus on teaching the spelling patterns in each year group as outlined in the National Curriculum.
Non-negotiables for each year group are tracked to ensure new curriculum expectations and the progression of skills are met. We set the children personalised, small-step targets to ensure any gaps are addressed and their writing meets age-related expectations.
We believe that all pupils should be encouraged to take pride in the presentation of their writing, in part by developing a fluent, joined, handwriting style. We use the PenPals scheme to teach handwriting and use their joined font type as a model across the school.
Click here to view our writing long term overview. This overview is subject to change to cater for pupils needs and interests.
Reading is everywhere: it is the stepping stone to the entire curriculum. At SEJ, we believe that every child has the ability to become a reader and by the time the children leave us they will have been exposed to a large variety of texts. We ensure that the children are given the opportunity to read a range of high quality fiction, non-fiction and poetry throughout their four-year learning journey at SEJ. As a school, we are committed to instilling a love of reading and implement reading for pleasure across the school. We want the children to enjoy reading and allow them to choose reading books that inspire and engage their imagination. As teachers, we aim to be reading role models and provide the children with opportunities to hear us read and share reading books with them, creating a collaborative love of reading. The Five Plagues of Reading support our chosen book lists at SEJ, this ensures that the children are exposed to a progressive book shelf which includes archaic texts; stories which have a non-linear time sequence; stories which offer complexity of narrator and plot; and resistant texts. These text types have been proven to support children when understanding more complex texts, allowing the children to access them with confidence.
At South End Junior School, we encourage children to read in a variety of different ways: during project and English lessons, Accelerated Reader sessions, shared reading, reading at home and reading comprehension lessons. Our new and exciting curriculum provides the children with opportunities to explore different topics. These projects link to a range of fiction and non-fiction texts, which are incorporated into the Book Nooks within each classroom. Children are free to access these when reading as they support the children’s knowledge of their current project as well as any previous and upcoming curriculum projects.
Accelerated Reader (AR) is an effective tool that is used daily at SEJ, the children complete Star Tests four times per year to indicate their optimum level of reading, and this then allocates their Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) and the range of books that will facilitate best growth. Once a child has a ZPD, they can choose from a selection of fiction and non-fiction books within that range. The children read their chosen books during their 20-30 minute AR session in class and then complete a quiz once they have finished each book. The quizzes assess the children on their understanding of what they have read including vocabulary. Children in upper Key Stage 2 are encouraged to make notes in their ‘Reading Journals’ whilst reading lengthier texts to support their quizzing. Please encourage your children to write notes in their journals when reading at home too.
Shared reading allows the children to listen to their teacher read a story – this is the class read and often links to the current project in each year group. By listening to an adult read, the children can hear the pace and expression that is used to engage the reader. The staff are all very enthusiastic when sharing stories and enjoy reading high quality texts to the children, exposing them to texts that they may not have chosen to read themselves.
Comprehension is a vital skill. It is important that the children not only enjoy reading, but also understand it. By teaching the different skills of reading, the children learn how to pick apart a text and understand what it means. The teaching of reading is based on developing key skills such as: inference, prediction, explanation, retrieval and summarising. By working as a class or in small groups to look at a text as a reader, we can understand the text better and can answer questions based on the authors’ choices.