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English

At Unsworth we believe that the study of English develops children’s abilities to listen, speak, read and write for a wide range of audiences and purposes. Using language helps children to learn and communicate ideas, views and feelings. It enables children to express themselves creatively and imaginatively, as they become enthusiastic and critical readers of stories, poetry and drama, as well as non-fiction and media texts. Through our English curriculum children will gain an understanding of how language works by looking at its patterns, structures and origins, whilst also using their knowledge, skills and understanding in speaking and writing across a range of different situations.

At our school the intent of our English is:

  • To enable children to speak clearly and audibly in ways which take account of their listeners.
  • To encourage children to listen with concentration in order to be able to identify the main points of what they have heard.
  • To enable children to adapt their speech to a wide range of circumstances and demands.
  • To develop children’s abilities to reflect on their own and others contributions and the language used.
  • To enable children to evaluate their own and others contributions through a range of differentiated activities.
  • To develop confident, independent readers through an appropriate focus on word sentence and text level knowledge.
  • To encourage children to become enthusiastic and reflective readers through contact with challenging and lengthy texts.
  • To help children enjoy writing and recognise its value.
  • To enable children to write with accuracy and meaning in narrative and non-fiction.
  • To increase children’s ability to use planning, drafting and editing to improve their work.

Phonics

Our school follows the Letters and Sounds Programme for phonics.

Letters and Sounds is a phonics resource published by the Department for Education and Skills in 2007. It aims to build children’s speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills.

It sets out a detailed and systematic programme of planned phases for teaching phonic skills to children. This starts at the age of five, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven.

Below is a breakdown of each phase and when it is taught within our school.

Phase 1(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.

Phase 2 (Reception) - 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.

Phase 3 (Reception) - 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.

Phase 4 (Reception) - 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.

Phase 5 (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.

Phase 6 (Year 2) - Working on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters etc.

What is the phonics screening check?

The phonics screening check is a short, light-touch assessment to confirm whether individual children have learnt phonic decoding to an appropriate standard. It will identify the children who need extra help so they are given support to improve their reading skills. They will then be able to retake the check in Year 2 so that we can track children until they are able to decode.

The screening check is for all Year 1 pupils and children in Year 2 who previously did not meet the standard of the check in Year 1. It is a statutory requirement to carry out the screening check. It will be a short, simple screening check to make sure that all children have grasped fundamental phonic skills. It comprises a list of 40 words and non-words, which a child will read one-to-one with a teacher. 

Spelling

Aims at Unsworth Primary School

  • To establish consistent practice, progression and continuity in the teaching and learning of spelling throughout the school.
  • To give pupils word work strategies that enable them to become fluent readers and confident writers.
  • To differentiate spelling work according to the needs of pupils, so that all pupils are given sufficient challenge at a level at which they can experience success.


Spelling should be SHORT, SNAPPY and SYSTEMATIC

What is Spelling?

If pupils are to develop as competent readers and writers, it is vitally important that they have secure understanding of the letter sounds and spelling system of the English language. Spelling is a developmental process and development of ability to spell accurately enables pupils to become more fluent and effective writers.  85% of the English spelling system is predictable and therefore to develop confident speller’s strategies, rules and conventions need to be systematically and explicitly taught.

Effective spelling teaching and learning

 

Teachers and Teaching Assistants work towards the school aims by:

  • Presenting pupils with high quality, systematic spelling work.
  • Building on and securing pupils phonic knowledge and skills in lower juniors.
  • Supporting pupils to recognise which strategies they can use to improve their own spelling.
  • Ensuring that pupils apply phonic and spelling knowledge to reading and spelling.
  • Ensuring that pupils are taught high frequency words that do not conform to regular spelling patterns.
  • Ensuring pupils attempt to spell words for themselves, within the range of their spelling knowledge, by building an individual repertoire and the confidence and strategies to attempt the unfamiliar.
  • Helping pupils to apply a range of spelling strategies to spell words in shared, guided and independent writing.
  • Helping pupils to apply range of letter patterns and spelling rules to spell words accurately.
  • Ensuring pupils know and use the correct terminology when making reference to letters and their sounds.
  • Undertaking regular training in spelling teaching through courses, in house training and peer observations.

Reading

In our school we see reading as an essential tool in the process and progress of learning. Through our reading curriculum, we aim to provide rich reading experiences that develop children socially, emotionally and intellectually. Crucially, this is achieved through the development of a stimulating environment that immerses children in literature and the spoken word. It is through this environment that we hope to develop children’s love of literature and expose them to hearing written English.

In our school we see reading as an essential tool in the process and progress of learning. Through our reading curriculum, our intent is to provide rich reading experiences that develop children socially, emotionally and intellectually.

Crucially, this is achieved through the development of a stimulating environment that immerses children in literature and the spoken word. It is through this environment that we hope to develop children’s love of literature and expose them to hearing written English. We feel that reading daily to children is very important to allow them to develop active listening skills and be introduced to an ever-widening range of books and authors.

At Unsworth children will experience reading in three different forms:

Shared - This is where the class teacher or teaching assistant readers a text with the whole class or a large group and discusses different aspects or pulls the text apart to examine how it has been put together.

Guided - This happens in a small group of between 6-8 children a minimum of twice a week with a teacher or teaching assistant. Texts are chosen that aim to challenge children and are usually a level above the reading books that children bring home as guided reading is used as a focused teaching session.

Independent - This is where children read a text for themselves which may be a home reading book or an independent text which a comprehension task attached.

What other reading opportunities does the school provide?

Bug Club

Bug Club, the cutting-edge reading programme for 21st century kids that our school uses from Reception to Year 6

Bug Club instantly engages each child with a personalised reading world. Interactive activities, characters they know and love and a sophisticated rewards system keeps children motivated. The rigorous pedagogy and fine levelling behind the whole-school programme means that teachers and parents have peace of mind as each child quickly achieves his or her reading goals. Children love it, parents cannot stop talking about it and the results keep teachers using Bug Club every day. 

School Library

In Summer 2013 our school library system was catalogued into an online system. All of the children have their own login details and books are scanned out to the children when they take them home and rescanned when they are returned. A significant amount of funding was put into purchasing new books for the library and during 2017 all class library books were placed on the system and the “Word Warriors” were created.

Use the link on this page to visit the online library, where children can login and look at the different books that are available in the library, see which books they have taken out and even write a book review. When you use the link for the first time it will ask you to download Microsoft Silverlight. This is a free program that is safe to download and simply runs the library software on your computer.

Writing

At Unsworth Primary we believe in providing children with a range of different opportunities to write across the curriculum. Within our English lessons our intent is to teach children the necessary skills to become confident and fluent writers. When children enter our Reception class they begin their writing journey, starting to learn how to write individual letters and words, which turn into captions and sentences as the year progresses.

By the end of KS1, children are writing their own full texts, developing a continuous cursive style of handwriting and starting to select precise vocabulary to interest the reader. Across Lower KS2 children consolidate their handwriting style, develop an understanding of controlling paragraphs and vary the types of sentences and language that they apply to different text types.

By the end of KS2, we aim for our children to be confident writers who can independently select different text types for different audiences and purposes.

To achieve this our teaching of writing focuses on 4 key elements as set out in the revised National Curriculum:

Composition - the development of writing stamina, composing sentences and editing work.

Transcription - the spelling of words and application of spelling rules.

Vocabulary, Grammar and Punctuation - the mechanics of writing.

Handwriting - the development of a fluent continuous cursive style of handwriting by the end of Year 3.
 

Within the classroom, children will experience 3 types of writing and below is a definition of each:

Shared Writing – Shared writing involves the class or small groups.  During shared writing, the teacher initiates and models writing, while children contribute their ideas.  Teacher and pupils work together to compose messages and stories.  The teacher models how writing works, the processes that are involved and draws attention to letters, words, and sounds during the writing.  The object of shared writing is to demonstrate and teach the necessary skills and conventions of fluent writing.

Guided Writing – Guided writing involves very specific and focused instruction.  It can be one-to-one or with small groups of children with similar needs.  Each child in a group composes an individual piece of writing with the intense support of the teacher.  They hold the pen and have ownership over their writing.  Mini-lessons are planned to reflect the specific needs of the children that are determined through ongoing assessment.  The aim is to support children in becoming independent writers through building on the writing behaviours focused on in modelled and shared writing sessions.  Children can usually produce more detailed and complex texts in these sessions than they can on their own.

Independent Writing – In independent writing children take responsibility for their own writing.  It provides an opportunity for them to demonstrate the processes and strategies that have been demonstrated through the other elements of the writing block.  It is crucial that sufficient scaffolding of the processes and strategies required to successfully complete the task have occurred prior to children working independently.  Some children will require more support than others and may need to be part of a small group constructing a joint text using interactive or an independent piece using guided writing.

Across the week children will experience the different types of writing and at the end of every 2 weeks, they will write a full independent piece to ensure that they are able to develop their writing stamina and have an opportunity to use the skills that they have been learning. Within our enquiry curriculum children are also given opportunities to write, using a range of different text types that they have learnt.

The aim of this is to give children a real sense of audience and purpose for their writing, as well as giving them content that they can use. In every class from Year 1 to Year 6, the children follow our school writing route map, which is displayed on our writing working walls. The idea of the route map is to provide children with a clear  idea of the steps they need to take to develop an understanding of a particular text type.