English is taught daily at Robinsfield through reading, writing and phonics lessons. We use a variety of teaching and learning styles to develop children’s ability to listen, speak, read and write. Children develop their skills through a mixture of whole class, small group and individual work.
Throughout their time at Robinsfield, children are exposed to a range of high quality texts across a variety of genres. These are carefully selected to support, challenge and foster a love of reading.
The teaching of reading covers two distinct areas:
- Technical reading skills (decoding)
- Understanding (comprehension)
Children are taught a range of strategies to help them to read fluently. This includes phonics.
Phonics is taught as a whole class session daily in Nursery and Reception, and is adapted from the Letters and Sounds scheme of work. They learn recognise the sounds made by individual letters through speaking, listening, reading and writing. They apply their knowledge through reading age-appropriate books containing these sounds, and writing words, and later sentences.
In Years 1 and 2, phonics is taught in groups, and is pitched at a level appropriate to the child’s learning. Again, these lessons are adapted from the Letters and Sounds scheme of work. Children learn to read and write more complex sounds, through a range of texts and writing activities. When they are secure in these sounds they move on to learning other strategies to support them with their reading and writing. These include learning about suffixes and prefixes, recognising common spelling patterns, homophones, and identifying compound words.
Children are given a statutory phonics test at the end of Year 1. This is to assess their ability to read single words. Those who are still not secure are given additional support and will retake the test in the Summer term in Year 2. Children are also given a statutory reading test at the end of Year 2. This is to assess their ability to answer questions from texts of varying complexity.
A list of the spelling requirements in reading and writing has been published by the Department for Education and can be accessed through the link below:
A text is of little use to a child if they cannot make sense of what they have read, and so comprehension is central to teaching reading. We develop this skill in tandem with children’s emerging decoding skills through whole class and small group sessions focused on developing core comprehension skills. These include daily Guided Reading lessons focusing on texts that can be read independently by children (applying the decoding mentioned previously) and Shared Reads, exploring a more complex text in greater detail as a whole class. We take variety of approaches to stimulate discussion and thought, including drama, role-play, class discussions and art to develop a deeper understanding, whether reading independently or reading with an adult.
Supporting your child at home
In order that their reading skills become embedded, we ask that all children read with an adult at home every day. From Reception, children take home books that they can read independently. These books have been carefully selected to match a child’s reading level. In Reception children will change their books weekly, and from Year 1 twice weekly. We encourage as much reading as possible, whether reading independently or with someone else. This provides children with the opportunity to extend their fluency, comprehension, vocabulary and develop a love of reading.
Through the school year we run workshops on supporting your child at home with reading and phonics. We encourage all parents and carers to attend. If you have any questions regarding supporting your child at home, please speak with your child’s class teacher.
Similar to our approach to reading, teaching writing covers two distinct areas:
- Technical writing skills, such as spelling and punctuation
- Writing for purpose
Our curriculum reflects the emphasis on the teaching of spelling, punctuation and grammar in the Primary Curriculum. As part of their daily writing lessons, children are explicitly taught these skills. Children then apply skills in different ways in their writing.
Children are motivated and inspired to write by exposure to quality writing. As such at Robinsfield we use a variety of high-quality texts as the foundation for teaching writing. Children are taught to write in a variety of styles and for a variety of purposes. They are taught to consider their audience and the purpose of their writing. They These include traditional stories, recounts of real events, letters, non-fiction reports, recipes and book reviews.
Whilst this list is by no means exhaustive, it serves to provide an example of the range of texts used as a basis for writing at Robinsfield:
- We’re going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen
- The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
- The Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
- Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr.
- The Jolly Postman by Janet & Allan Ahlberg
- Atlas of Adventures by Lucy Letherland
- Beegu by Alexis Deacon
- All Join In by Quentin Blake
- Anna Hibiscus by Atinuke
- Instructions by Neil Gaiman
- Stephen Hawking by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara
- The Twits by Roald Dahl
- Traction Man is Here by Mini Grey
- The Wolf’s Story by Toby Forward
- Rosa Parks by Lisbeth Kaiser