English is taught every day from Reception to Year 6. We use a variety of teaching and learning styles to develop children’s ability to read, write, speak and listen thoughtfully in English for different purposes and across a wide range of genres. Children develop new skills through daily English lessons, enjoying whole class reading and writing, small group and individual work.
Throughout their time at George Eliot children are exposed to a carefully selected range of rich and challenging texts with a view to developing their love of reading, and their knowledge of a wide range of genres, in line with the new Primary Curriculum and our whole school commitment to placing reading at the centre of learning.
The teaching of reading covers two distinct areas:
- technical reading skills (decoding)
- reading with understanding (comprehension)
Group Reading In Action
Children are taught a range of strategies in order to help them read fluently, including whole word reading, and Phonics. Phonics lessons are taught daily at a level appropriate to each child’s learning in Reception and Year 1 where they learn to recognise and apply the sounds made by individual letters, e.g. m, s, a and by groups of letters e.g. -ay, -ee, -oo.
The children gradually learn to practise and apply their knowledge of sounds through reading a range of carefully written texts and by writing simple sentences.
Children are given a statutory phonics test to assess their single word reading skills at the end of Year 1. Those who are still not secure with decoding after the end of Year 1 are given additional small group support.
Comprehension is central to reading and children are given opportunities to improve their comprehension skills throughout their time at George Eliot, through a range of whole class (shared reading) and small group (guided reading) opportunities.
Children have opportunities to read and listen to a range of carefully selected high quality texts which stimulate them as readers, writers and thinkers. We use a range of teaching and learning approaches to immerse children in a text. These include drama games and role play, detailed close reading of selected passages, oral and written re-telling of texts, art work and targeted questions to build their comprehension and deeper understanding of a text.
We have been making a major investment in improving the quality and choice of reading books available in the school, both for children to read in class and group session, and for children to take home. All children are encouraged to choose books to take home to share with their families, and we encourage regular home reading in order to give children the opportunity to develop and extend their fluency and independent reading skills.
We believe children write well stimulated by the high quality texts and genres they are exposed to by teachers. We ensure that children have high quality models to draw on in their own writing, and that they learn to think as writers, working with audience, purpose and composition in mind.
Planning a Piece of Writing Using a Mind Map
A typical unit of work lasts 3 weeks and after an initial period of immersion in the text, children produce a complex extended piece of writing. In order to do this they plan, write, edit and rewrite over several weeks working using models and detailed feedback from staff or peers. Where possible writing is linked to topics, for example the graphic novel – Ug Boy Genius of the Stone Age – links to Year 3’s Stone Age to Iron Age learning.
Children are taught to write in a variety of styles in context such as narrative, persuasive, journalistic, recounts and reports. Children learn how to vary sentences, make interesting and ambitious word choices, and use grammar and punctuation correctly.
Learning About Spelling and Punctuation
Spelling and Grammar
Our curriculum fully reflects the more rigorous emphasis on the teaching of spelling and grammar in primary schools. Children are taught explicit grammar and spelling skills in weekly lessons. Grammar skills are then practised during writing lessons, and spelling rules and conventions are taught before being learnt and practised for homework.
A Graphic Aid to Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar