Curriculum English

Curriculum English

Primary Leader of English: Charlotte Maclean, Secondary Leader of English: Jackie Kilbride.

English Policy - click here to download

 

Introduction

Most learning takes place through the development and use of language. This gives the teaching of English Literacy a special place within the curriculum of Ravenshall School. English is a core subject in the National Curriculum and is delivered as a dedicated subject, but is also an integral part of every lesson which is taught in school.

Being able to communicate is not just about talking. Along with getting your own message across, being able to listen, pay attention, interact, play and understand what’s being said are the fundamental building blocks of communication. Listening is an essential skill for communicating and learning. Everywhere we go there are different noises around us. Sometimes children need a bit of quiet time to help them tune into talking rather than the other noises going on around them. Adults need to show children the way – when we listen to children, they learn what to do in order to be good listeners.

Communication (Speaking) and Listening

Being able to communicate is not just about talking. Along with getting your own message across, being able to listen, pay attention, interact, play and understand what’s being said are the fundamental building blocks of communication. Listening is an essential skill for communicating and learning. Everywhere we go there are different noises around us. Sometimes children need a bit of quiet time to help them tune into talking rather than the other noises going on around them. Adults need to show children the way – when we listen to children, they learn what to do in order to be good listeners.

Understanding is key to speaking and listening. Children need to understand what single words mean and when words are joined together into sentences, conversations and stories. This takes time and children go through phases where they ask lots of questions. This is a good thing as they’re trying to find out how things work and understand the world around them. Adults play an important role in answering the many questions children have and in checking out whether children understand. At Ravenshall we promote an inclusive total communication approach, please see our language and communication section for more information on this.

Phonics

Phonics is a method of teaching children to read by linking sounds (phonemes) and the symbols that represent them (graphemes, or letter groups).

What is a phoneme?

A phoneme is the smallest unit of sound. The phonemes used when speaking English are:

Children are taught letter sounds first. This involves thinking about what sound a word starts with, saying the sound out loud and then recognising how that sound is represented by a letter.

The aim is for children to be able to see a letter and then say the sound it represents out loud. This is called decoding.

Children then need to go from saying the individual sounds of each letter, to being able to blend the sounds and say the whole word. This can be a big step for many children and takes time.

While children are learning to say the sounds of letters out loud, they will also begin to learn to write these letters (encoding). They will be taught where they need to start with each letter and how the letters need to be formed in relation to each other. Letters (or groups of letters) that represent phonemes are called graphemes.

 

Reading:

At Ravenshall, we believe that it is very important for pupils to develop a love of books and enthusiasm for developing their reading skills.  

Success in reading has a direct effect upon progress in most other areas of the curriculum; therefore, we provide an environment with a balanced range of activities to help develop reading skills that include:    

  • enjoyment of songs, rhymes, poems and stories, alongside learning about and using the sound system of our alphabet (Phonics).
  • guided reading
  • regular independent reading
  • home/school reading
  • hearing books read aloud on a daily basis
  • selecting own choice of texts
  • reading in other subjects including ICT texts

This multi-strategy approach to develop reading skills encourages the pupils to understand text on different levels. It helps them read with a deeper understanding from a wide range of different text types including fiction and non-fiction publications, as well as real life texts such as sign posts, labels, captions and lists.

We use three main reading schemes, which are:    

  • Oxford Reading Tree    
  • Project X Alien Adventures    
  • Dockside

All teachers are responsible for hearing children read at least once per week, although this may be more frequent depending on need.

English - Reading

 

 

Writing:

At Ravenshall we promote writing and look for ways to inspire and motivate pupils so that they see themselves as ‘writers’. Talk comes first!

Pupils are encouraged to express their ideas clearly so that they can put thoughts in order and discuss what they want to say. This ‘talk’ helps to develop a wide ranging vocabulary, so that pupils are able to express themselves in a clear and varied way, making their writing lively and interesting for the reader.

Pupils develop their writing firstly through play, talk and mark making. They then develop their writing skills, producing structured legible script using correct letter formation.  At this point emphasis will be placed on the correct use of spelling, punctuation and grammar, which will help to develop this structure and make the meaning of their writing clear to the reader.

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