At Aldryngton Primary School we believe in developing a love of the English language and of literature from an early age. From an early focus on phonics and language acquisition we want children to enjoy reading more, to read more often, to read a wide range of materials and to think positively about reading as a tool for lifelong learning. We wish to develop children as writers who understand the varied purposes of writing and who, over their primary years, acquire the skills to be a confident and fluent writer – reviewing and editing their work independently, taking pride in their writing and having the confidence to share it with others. We recognise the vital importance of speaking and listening as part of both the reading and writing processes and look for ways to practise and improve this key life skill not just in English but throughout our wider curriculum.
Our English curriculum has been designed to cover both statutory and non-statutory aspects of the National Curriculum and has three key drivers – Reading and Vocabulary, Problem Solving and Collaboration. Our curriculum design has also been constructed to take account of our key values: Diversity, Resilience, Respect, Understanding, Creativity and Kindness.
From Foundation Stage pupils are encouraged to believe in themselves as writers, understanding the process of writing from thinking aloud to explore and collect ideas, to drafting their work and editing. Writing is often cross-curricular, planned with links to topics in history and other subject areas. Throughout the school, reading is planned alongside writing as we believe in using high quality texts to help deliver our English curriculum. These are often linked to class topics but are also often chosen for the way in which they reinforce our values. Books are carefully selected to give children experience of a wide range of authors and diverse subject matters as well as to provide them with high quality stimuli for their own writing. By the time children leave the school in Year 6, our results have always been significantly higher at both expected and higher levels.
Our phonics and reading curriculum have been carefully designed to maximise learning opportunities. In Foundation Stage, children will begin the Read, Write, Inc. phonics programme. Children will stay on this programme for a large portion of their time in Key Stage 1 and are assessed every half term. There is a national check at the end of Year 1 to assess phonic knowledge. Children who do not pass this test are then retested at the end of Year 2.
When children begin to read successfully they will take home books linked to their current phonics level. They will take a Storybook home that they have practised during their reading lessons and also a Book Bag Book for further enjoyment. We also encourage the children to take home a reading for pleasure book from our library. Once fluent and off the Read, Write, Inc. scheme in KS1, children will then move through our selection of levelled books and will focus more closely on comprehension skills.
In Key Stage 2, we use Accelerated Reader to further develop comprehension skills as well as an enthusiasm for reading. The scheme starts off with online diagnostic tests which produce detailed assessment information for the teacher including scaled scores, reading age and a reading range (known as a Zone of Proximal Development). The reading age covers from 6 years-16 years old. Our well-stocked and regularly updated class libraries give children an excellent breadth of fiction and non-fiction which they can select according to their ZPD.
To further promote interest and enjoyment in English, a programme of enrichment has been established such as author visits and events such as our Annual Inter-House Poetry Competition and Y6 play.