Our inspiring and exciting English curriculum here at Gislingham will enable our children to be avid readers who read fluently and widely and are able to express preferences and opinions confidently. We want them to read for pleasure, having had access to a wide range of text types, genres and authors in order for them to make informed opinions about their favourites. We want to develop children who write with confidence and accuracy for a variety of purposes and audiences whilst using a rich vocabulary and developing their own individual style. We expect our children to be able to write with grammatical accuracy and be able to apply spelling patterns correctly, developing a neat, joined handwriting style by the end of Year 3.
We believe that a secure basis in literacy skills is crucial to a high quality education and will give our children the tools they need to participate fully as a member of society.
Our practice is continually evolving. Both teachers and TAs are supported and aided in their roles ensuring confidence in the skills and facts they are required to teach.
In Reception children are given opportunities to:
- Talk and communicate in a widening range of situations, to respond to adults and each other, to listen carefully and to practise and extend their communication skills.
- Explore words and texts in a vocabulary rich environment with a new story or traditional tale every day to enjoy, to decode and to read for pleasure.
- Enjoy rhyme. Did you know that if children know eight nursery rhymes by the time they're four years old, they're often among the best readers by the time they're eight? Rhyming helps children to break words down and to hear the sounds that make up words in preparation for reading and writing. So we sing songs and have a rhyme time with children every day.
- Read and write through their daily phonics lesson.
- Encourage writing, discussion and storytelling in our role play areas and linked in to the topics we are studying
The importance of spoken language to underpin the development of reading and writing is reflected in opportunities to develop vocabulary and confidence in speaking and listening. Children are encouraged to develop effective communication skills in readiness for later life. Children are provided with continuous opportunities to speak in front of the class when presenting work, in collective worship, drama, debates, group activities, class and sharing assemblies and through our various pupil councils which represent the voices of each class.
Children begin their reading journey at Gislingham through our rigorous phonics programme. Pupils receive daily phonics sessions from the minute they start in Reception and are regularly assessed and grouped.
Children are taught to decode, comprehend and read for pleasure through engaging texts and a variety of reading experiences as part of the English lesson,
Please see our 'Reading' page for further information about our reading curriculum.
At Gislingham our approach is to have consistency and progression from Reception through to Year Six to provide all children with a high-quality education in English. Writing is a fundamental part of this, with many opportunities provided across the curriculum to improve and apply these skills so that children develop a clear understanding of the writing process and how effective writing impacts its reader.
Within the Early Years setting, children are encouraged to begin making marks on paper, before learning correct letter formation and using their understanding of phonics to build words and form sentences.
We have adopted ‘The Write Stuff’ by Jane Considine to bring clarity to the mechanics of writing. Motivating children to write using this approach, allows pupils to have clear assigned goals which enables their confidence to grow. The Write Stuff follows a method called sentence stacking which refers to the fact that sentences are stacked together chronologically and organised to engage children with short, intensive moments of learning that they can then immediately apply to their own writing. An individual lesson is based on a sentence model, broken in to 3 learning chunks. Each learning chunk has three sections:
Initiate section – a stimulus to capture the children’s imagination and set up a sentence.
Model section – the teacher close models a sentence that outlines clear writing features and techniques.
Enable section – the children write their sentence, following the model.
Children are challenged to ‘Deepen the Moment’ which requires them to independently draw upon previously learnt skills and apply them to their writing during that chunk.
The Write Stuff uses three essential components to support children in becoming great writers. These three zones are:
IDEAS - The FANTASTICs uses a child friendly acronym to represent the nine idea lenses through which children can craft their ideas.
TOOLS - The GRAMMARISTICS. The grammar rules of our language system and an accessible way to target weaknesses in pupils grammatical and linguistic structures.
TECHNIQUES - The BOOMTASTICs which helps children capture 10 ways of adding drama and poetic devices to writing in a vivid visual.
In KS1 children are given a set of spellings to learn through a variety of multi-sensory methods. In KS2, spelling patterns are learnt.
Writing is assessed after each writing unit. Moderation of pupils’ writing takes place within school during staff meetings, through governor moderation meetings as well as across schools in the Tilian Partnership.
Subject expertise allows the intentions of our English curriculum to be executed successfully. CPD is important and all staff are receptive to developing their practice which may take place through staff meetings, observations, sharing of resources or online learning.
Children at Gislingham flourish in their English learning and enjoy a life-long love of reading and writing. Pupils have a wide vocabulary that they use within their spoken and written work to communicate effectively and confidently and write for a range of meaningful purposes with accurate spelling, grammar and punctuation and legible handwriting.
As all aspects of English are an integral part of the curriculum, skills taught in the English lesson are transferred into other subjects; this shows consolidation of skills and a deeper understanding of how and when to use specific grammar, punctuation and grammar objectives. We hope that as children move on from Gislingham to further their education and learning, that their creativity, passion for English and high aspirations travel with them and continue to grow and develop as they do.
For more detailed information about our writing curriculum, please see Writing Progression