The English National Curriculum is divided into 3 sections: Spoken Language, Reading and Writing.
At St Martin’s, we strive to equip all children with the skills to become competent, confident users of language in all its forms, enabling them to attain high standards in Literacy and Oracy. Each day, the children take part in a structured English lesson, where over the course of a week, they will have the opportunity to develop their skills in reading, writing, grammar, punctuation, spelling, comprehension and phonological awareness. We use the National Curriculum as the basis for this work. Wherever possible we link our English work to our theme so the children can see a real purpose to their speaking, reading and writing.
At St Martin's we teach reading through Phonics. Children in Reception start working on the various phonics phases and this continues through Key Stage 1 and on into Key Stage 2. In Reception and Key Stage 1 our school uses the 'North Somerset Phonics Into Early Spelling' programme. Children's progress through the Phonic stages is assessed regularly so that we can determine progress or where support will be targeted. Children who join the school in Key Stage 2 also undertake a coding test so that we can ensure that they are reading at the correct level. Other reading takes place in class either individually or as part of guided group reading sessions. Reading is encouraged across all aspects of the curriculum. As children move through the early stages of acquiring Phonics, they practice by reading texts which are decodable from the various reading schemes and also begin to develop their sight vocabulary. They will be taught to develop the skills of understanding, reading for meaning and information retrieval. They will be able to compare, evaluate, analyse and comment on texts, focusing on their purpose, genre, language, impact and structure.
They are given access to e-books through Bug Club, this can be accessed both at home and at school from a selection made by the teacher.
Once children have a secure knowledge of letter/sound correspondences and can blend words confidently, they access our reading scheme from various publishers, which are designed to give children experience of a variety of reading genres. There are fiction and non-fiction books within each level.
Our aim is to enable children to develop as effective and fluent readers who have a love of books. We see the teaching of reading as a joint venture between home and school. All children are encouraged to select books from the classroom, library or home. It is expected that parents will support and encourage their children as much as possible by listening to them read on a regular basis. Each child has a reading record book which forms an invaluable means of communication between children, parents and staff. Once children can read fluently and with a good understanding, their teacher will assess to see if they are ready to become free readers, they can then self-select books for independent reading from the school library or from home. You can find more information on Reading at home with your child and Reading Guidance for Parents using the links below.
Writing is an essential communication too, therefore children are taught to write in a meaningful way for a variety of purposes and audiences and in a range of styles and appropriate formats. These include story writing, poetry, instructions, explanations, reports and persuasive writing.
We aim that the children become competent spellers and are confident to spell familiar words accurately and that they have the confidence to apply rules they know to unfamiliar words. We follow the North Somerset Learning Exchange Programme for spelling and each week spelling rules are taught in the class and children are expected, with the support of parents, to practise these new spellings at home for a weekly spelling test. They are also expected to use taught spelling rules within their writing.
In order for children to develop their written and verbal communication skills, there is a high focus on grammar within the teaching of English.
We use a cursive style of writing which the children learn from when they enter school in Foundation Stage. They will also begin to join their handwriting during Key Stage One which will enable them to develop a clear and fluent handwriting style.