English Curriculum Intent:
At Bryn Offa C of E Primary School, we believe that a quality English curriculum should develop children’s love of reading, writing and discussion. We aim to inspire an appreciation of our rich and varied literary heritage and develop a habit of reading widely and often. We recognise the importance of nurturing a culture where children take pride in their writing, can write clearly and accurately and are able to adapt their language and style for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. We want pupils to acquire a wide vocabulary, a solid understanding of grammar and be able to spell new words by effectively applying their knowledge of spelling patterns and rules. We believe that all good writers refine and edit their writing over time, so we want children to develop independence in being able to identify their own areas for improvement. We want to inspire children to be confident in the art of speaking and listening and who can use discussion to communicate and further their learning.
At Bryn Offa, English is planned to ensure that language is taught in an exciting, stimulating and enjoyable way including many cross curricular opportunities. Our curriculum has been carefully planned across a 2 year cycle to ensure key skills are taught in the most exciting way possible, ensuring the best outcomes for children. Our approach is to make sure that the essential language skills are delivered across the curriculum, enabling children to become confident learners in applying their communicative skills in reading, writing and spelling.
Please click on the resources below to find guidance on how to support your child at home in Phonics and Early Reading:
At Bryn Offa, the systematic teaching of phonics has a high priority. Phonics is the process that is used to help children read and spell by breaking words down into separate sounds or ‘phonemes’. It enables children to blend sounds together to read whole words and to spell by segmenting words into individual sounds. Learning the correct letter sounds is one of the first things the children do when they come to school. Getting the sounds correct is one of the best ways parents can support their child reading at home. Below is a video of the pronunciation of all the letter sounds your child will be learning. You may need to right click on the video below to give permission for your computer to run it.
Bryn Offa CE Primary School – Phonics Programme
To develop children’s early reading skills at Bryn Offa, we follow a programme aimed to build on children’s speaking and listening skills, as well as preparing children for learning to read through the development of phonic knowledge and reading skills. This programme is very detailed and systematic for the teaching of phonics, from the age of five, through to seven. There are six overlapping stages which can be seen in the table below;
|Stage||Phonic Knowledge and Skills|
|Stage One (Nursery/ Reception)||Activities are divided into seven aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting.|
|Stage Two (Reception) up to 6 weeks||Learning 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds together to make words. Segmenting words into their separate sounds. Beginning to read simple captions.|
|Stage 3 (Reception) up to 12 weeks||The remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Graphemes such as ch, oo, th representing the remaining phonemes not covered by single letters. Reading captions, sentences and questions. On completion of this phase, children will have learnt the “simple code”, i.e. one grapheme for each phoneme in the English language.|
|Stage 4 (Reception) 4 to 6 weeks||No new grapheme-phoneme correspondences are taught in this phase. Children learn to blend and segment longer words with adjacent consonants, e.g. swim, clap, jump.|
|Stage 5 (Throughout Year 1)||Now we move on to the “complex code”. Children learn more graphemes for the phonemes which they already know, plus different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already know.|
|stage 6 (Throughout Year 2 and beyond)||Working on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters etc.|
Phonics Screening Check
At the end of Year 1, children undertake a Phonics Screening Check. This is a statutory assessment that was introduced in 2012 to all Year 1 pupils and is a quick and easy check of your child’s phonics knowledge. It comprises of a list of 40 words, of which 20 are real words, and the other 20 are ‘nonsense’ or ‘alien’ words. It will assess your child’s phonics skills and knowledge learnt through reception and year 1. Your child will read one-one with their current teacher so it is a familiar face. Children will be asked to ‘sound out’ a word and blend the sounds together. The check is very similar to work the children already undertake during their phonics lessons. All year 1 pupils will take the phonics screening check during the Summer Term.
Ways to help your child at home with phonics:-
- Play games with magnetic/ foam letters to see how quickly your child can put them in alphabetical order while singing the alphabet song, or see how quickly your child can spell words made up of the phonic sounds they have been learning in school.
- In the early stages of reading, encourage children to point at the letters when they are sounding them out.
- Encourage your child to ‘sound out’ any unfamiliar words, and then blend left to right.
- Look for words around the house or when travelling look for road signs to see if you can spot familiar words and letter patterns.
- Encourage your child to write notes, e-mails, and letters to your friends and family.
- Encourage and support your child to read regularly at home, or take them to the library to find books that interest and engage them. Make it fun and enjoyable for them!
- Let your child see you reading magazines, newspapers, books for enjoyment as they will want to copy you!
- Praise your child when they are reading and using their phonic skills!
Websites to access at home (which provide more detail on synthetic phonics programmes, and activities to support you and your child at home);
We are passionate about ensuring all children become confident, fluent and enthusiastic readers and writers and believe that phonics helps to achieve this. The reading curriculum at Bryn Offa is taught in a logical, systematic progression which enables children to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to develop as readers.
We view reading as a fundamental life skill and aim to develop a genuine love and lasting passion for reading within every child. Reading is the foundation to all learning; we want children to develop a positive reading ethos in which a love of reading is acquired. Children who enjoy reading, have been shown to have higher attainment across the curriculum. Through providing a wide range of stimulating and engaging fiction and non-fiction texts, we aim to capture children’s imaginations and teach them the skills needed to be proficient and confident readers. Adults in our school act as role models in our enthusiasm for reading and will regularly daily to children. We recognise the importance of ensuring children access a wide range of high quality reading material. Through reading, we want our pupils to have the opportunity to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading will also empower our children both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. Reading is viewed as a key skill across the curriculum so is an integral part of every child’s school day at Bryn Offa. Regular guided and whole class reading takes place across the school, offering a sequence of activities that develop understanding in both word reading and comprehension skills. A range of strategies are used to develop such skills, including: whole class teacher led reading, reading with an adult, sharing a text with peers, echo and choral reading and completing journal activities or follow-up comprehension. When reading a text, children are taught and encouraged to apply their questioning, predicting, summarising and clarifying skills which are proven to develop children’s comprehension of a text both verbally and in response to questions. Throughout reading sessions, high-quality discussions are modelled and promoted to support understanding of the fundamentals of vocabulary and grammar, thus making the integral link to both reading and writing. Pupils are given the opportunity to discuss as individuals, groups or as a class.
Parental Involvement in Reading
Pupils are encouraged to take their books home every night. It is hoped that parents will actively participate in helping their children to become enthusiastic readers by listening to them read, sharing and discussing books with them. Formal records of this can be made in reading record books. As pupils become more able, they are expected to keep their own simple reading record or diary. All children at Bryn Offa also have a log in to ‘Bug Club,’ where children are able to read a range of books to suit their ability online, with a range of follow up questions to support their learning. We ask that children use regularly to allow teachers to carefully monitor and evaluate their understanding of texts.
The teaching of writing at Bryn Offa aims to build, year upon year, on children’s basic skills and conventions of writing. The curriculum is planned on a 2 year cycle, ensuring many cross-curricular links are utilised offering pupils a wide range of genres and purposes for writing. Children’s writing is assessed half termly which is used to set future interventions and targets. Talk for Writing is incorporated into all year groups which is used to help develop young, imaginative, creative and effective writers and for children to develop a love and enjoyment of writing. When leaving the school, they should be writers who can demonstrate:
- spelling at an age-appropriate level or above
- writing in a clear joined-up style
- understanding the purpose and structure of a range of text types
- planning, writing, drafting and editing a range of texts
- creating interesting and imaginative texts through exposure to a rich and varied curriculum
- understanding the function of word types
- using a range of punctuation accurately
- structuring sentences in a variety of ways
During their time at Bryn Offa, pupils will experience a wide range of types of writing and learn to become competent writers through following the progression of skills outlined in the National Curriculum. As a result they should leave the school as confident writers who are able to express themselves on paper in an accurate and appropriate manner.
The ways in which children at Bryn Offa work is always flexible and includes; class, group, pair and individual work. Where needed, children will have guided writing sessions led by their teachers to address specific writing needs.
The teaching of writing incorporates a range of strategies to address the needs of individual children. Shared writing, up-levelling of writing, modelled examples of writing, and teacher scripted writing sessions are some of the strategies that are used at Bryn Offa.
As they develop their understanding of the writing purpose, children need to have a clear understanding and appreciation of the writing process – becoming more skilled at planning, drafting, editing and proof reading their work as they progress through the school.
The teaching of the conventions of English grammar is in accordance with the National Curriculum and, where appropriate, is taught in the context of the children’s wider learning.
Spellings at Bryn Offa follow the sequence set out in the National Curriculum.
Any gaps in children’s phonic knowledge are identified as they progress through the school using the school’s phonic assessment tool. Gaps in children’s phonic knowledge are closed through targeted intervention groups.
The school follows the Spelling Shed Scheme from Year 1. Children are regularly assessed and are set age and ability appropriate spellings which they practice at home through an online app and using a range of spelling strategies they have learned during designated spelling lessons. Each child has a spelling journal where they:
- investigate spelling patterns and rules
- understand the definitions of the words they are learning
- learn about the origins of words
- develop a range of strategies for learning spellings
- learn about associated punctuation skills
- use words in context
- Become fluent through dictation lessons where spellings and punctuation are assessed
In addition to the set programme and learning different strategies for spelling, children are encouraged at all times to use word books, dictionaries and thesauri as a matter of habit. These are kept easily accessible for children and the use of them is modelled.