Speaking and Listening
Talking is fundamental to learning. Children are encouraged to work with partners and in small groups to stimulate discussion, debate, recount experiences, test out ideas and build confidence before sharing ideas with the whole class. Children are encouraged and helped to talk clearly and confidently and with expression in order to communicate ideas and feelings. Similarly and just as importantly, is the need to listen to others and respond appropriately - this is also taught explicitly. All children are provided with opportunities in all areas of the curriculum to develop skills in both speaking and listening.
At St Philip’s we aim to foster a life-long love of reading. Our aim is not only to teach children the skills to read with confidence, fluency and understanding, but also to foster a genuine desire to read for pleasure and purpose. Children spend time throughout the week developing their reading through a range of individual, group and whole class reading sessions where the focus develops from being able to decode words, to understand the meaning of words, to understand how a text is structured, to read between the lines and how all of this has an impact on the reader. We ensure that children read many different styles of literature, including fiction, non-fiction and poetry whilst developing the full range of skills needed to learn to decode and understand text.
We believe children learn to read best when school and home work together in partnership and written communication is directed through the Reading Record Book. Early readers follow a structured programme of carefully selected books organised into coloured book bands. Once children have developed the skills to be an independent reader, they become a ‘free-reader’ and may choose books from our well-stocked library. All children enjoy a weekly visit to the library and are empowered to exercise freedoms of choice and independence when choosing from our vast range of reading material. Please click on the link below to see our Reading for Pleasure statement
A daily phonics lesson is taught in Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 and our teaching follows the progression as detailed in the Government’s Letters and Sounds programme. To equip children with the foundations of early reading skills, a mixture of materials including flashcards, puppets and interactive software are used. Those children who need further phonics teaching in KS2 are also given an opportunity to secure their phonological awareness as part of small group teaching and intervention.
Reading for Pleasure statement
Writing is a crucial part of our curriculum at St Philip’s and all children from Foundation Stage to Year 6 are provided with many opportunities to develop and apply their writing skills not only in English lessons, but across the wider curriculum.
Using high-quality texts as stimulus, children are taught to plan, revise and evaluate their writing whilst developing effective transcription and effective composition skills. Children also develop an awareness of the audience, purpose and context, and an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar.
Planning for English follows the three phase model of reading, capturing ideas and writing. Each unit is planned with a set outcome; ensuring learners are writing for a clear purpose and applying what has been taught in a meaningful way. These units last between one and three weeks, depending on the genre being studied.
Children are provided opportunities to write at length in other curriculum areas and it is expected that their work in these areas reflects the same standards as work completed within English lessons.
High standards of presentation are valued and children are taught to join their writing, developing precision, fluency and speed using the Penpals for Handwriting scheme. Consistent high levels of presentation are rewarded during weekly Celebration Collective Worships.
Spelling is taught using No Nonsense Spelling from Y2 to Y6, with younger children focussing on spelling linked to phonic sounds and letter strings as detailed in Letters and Sounds.
Link to National Curriculum page for English:
Phonics and spelling
In EYFS and KS1, children should be engaged in learning (phonics) every day for 20 minutes, following a cycle of:
- Revisit, in which previous learning is revised
- Teach, in which a new sound/ letter pattern is taught (show them and explain)
- Practice reading and/ or spelling words with the new phoneme/grapheme (sound)
- Apply - read or write a caption with the teacher using one or more high frequency words and words containing the new letter
The teaching of phonics at St Philip’s follows the Letters and Sounds programme of study, an overview of which can be seen below:
YouTube video on the Articulation of Phonemes
Phonic Knowledge and Skills
Phase One (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 Two (Reception)
up to 6 weeks
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 Three (Reception)
up to 12 weeks
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 Four (Reception)
4 to 6 weeks
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 Five (Throughout 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.
For further information, please click here.
In Years 2-6, pupils are taught spelling using Babcock’s No Nonsense Spelling programme.
The programme consists of the following elements:
- The requirements of the National Curriculum, which have been organised into strands and then broken down into termly overviews.
- Termly overviews that have been mapped across weeks as half termly plans. These follow a model of three spelling sessions per week, except in Year 2 where sessions are daily.
- Daily lesson plans for each session, with Supporting Resources, including word lists and guidance on conventions.
The focus of the programme is on the teaching of spelling, which embraces knowledge of spelling conventions – patterns and rules; but integral to the teaching is the opportunity to promote the learning of spellings, including statutory words, common exceptions and personal spellings.
Each lesson is approximately 15 minutes long, but lesson plans are flexible so that the teaching can reflect the extra time needed on a teaching point if required. The Supporting Resources at the back of each book can be used as appropriate to adjust the pace and focus of the lesson. Each lesson clearly signposts when additional resources from the programme can be used.
Within the lessons, the particular focus is identified, followed by suggested teaching strategies. By integrating activities for handwriting, the benefit of making a spelling activity kinaesthetic is secured. The pupil acquires the physical memory of the spelling pattern as well as the visual. Integral to the process is the scope to encourage pupils to learn spellings.
Within the sessions a range of strategies for learning spellings are introduced and practised. This enables pupils to choose the strategies they find most effective for learning different words. For example (see link for more detail of these strategies):
- Look, say, cover, write, check
- Trace, copy and replicate (and then check)
- Segmentation strategy
- Drawing around the word to show the shape
- Drawing an image around the word
- Words without vowels
- Pyramid words
- Rainbow writing
- Silly sentences
- Saying the word in a funny (and memorable) way
- Clapping syllables
To support the teaching, additional resources are recommended and used throughout the programme.
- Spelling journals
- GPC (grapheme-phoneme correspondence) choices chart
- Have a go sheets
- Individual whiteboards
- Working walls
You can find a breakdown of the spelling progression from Years 2-6 here, as well as strategies to support the learning of spellings at home here.
Pupils’ learning is assessed throughout the programme. The ‘Apply’ part of the sequence regularly includes assessment activities to identify if pupils have learnt the key concept taught. These activities include:
- Testing – by teacher and peers
- Independent application in writing
- Frequent learning and testing of statutory and personal words.
Children will be assessed termly using the statutory word list appropriate for their year group (please see the link)
Learning needs to happen in school and at home. There is a high expectation within the National Curriculum that pupils will learn many increasingly complex words. Therefore, your child will receive a weekly spellings list for them to practice at home.
As part of an initiative to encourage -reading for pleasure, Mr Austin-Guest, English Subject Leader, will be sending home a list of recommended books. 'Austin-Guest Suggests...' will be sent home with the first newsletter of each month and will include suggested texts for younger children in Reception and Year 1 and 2, slightly older children in Years 3 and 4 and for our oldest children in Years 5 and 6. Over the next few weeks, these books will appear in the Library and may be borrowed subject to availability.