English at Eastwood
At Eastwood Primary School and Nursery, we strive to build solid foundations in speaking, listening, reading and writing to enable every child to achieve in adult life. The aim for all aspects of our English curriculum is to engage children in high quality learning experiences in order for them to feel excited and passionate about reaching their potential. The skills that children will learn while they are with us will be easily transferred across the curriculum.
We believe English skills have the power to enrich children's lives and our aim is for all pupils to leave Eastwood Primary School and Nursery feeling confident in their ability to speak to different audiences of people, read for both information and pleasure and use research, plans and structures to support their writing to describe, inform, instruct, argue or entertain their reader.
Ongoing formative assessment allows all staff at Eastwood Primary School and Nursery to adapt and tailor their teaching to ensure misconceptions are addressed quickly. Any children that need additional help are supported quickly.
At Eastwood Primary School and Nursery, we know there is a strong correlation between pupils’ spoken language skills and their academic outcomes, social development and emotional development.
Language provides the foundation of thinking and learning; so, we ensure that all classrooms are language rich, with children engaged in high quality talk. Questioning forms the basis of our teaching and we strongly encourage children to be inquisitive and to share their thoughts confidently in a supportive environment. Much of our teaching is dialogue, so that children are actively involved in their learning, this includes working with their peers. We use a range of strategies for checking understanding and taking responses. Through oracy, children learn how other people make sense of the world, how language is used to reason, how emotions and identities are expressed, and how to work together to solve problems.
Approaches to oracy:
- Learning partners
- Group work and discussions
- Feeding back to the class
- Groups or individuals supporting and re-teacher their peers
- Circle time
- Whole class discussions and debates
Reading and Home
At Eastwood Primary School and Nursery, our priority is both the teaching of reading skills and the enjoyment of literature, enabling children to become lifelong, confident readers. Our curriculum is theme based; we teach this through high quality, fiction and non-fiction texts. One resource we use to enhance the teaching of English is the Centre for Literacy Teaching in Primary Schools – The Power of Reading.
It is expected that children read at home at least four times over the seven-day week. For children reading shorter books, it is encouraged that they read these at least three times before bringing them in to change. This is to encourage fluent reading and comprehension. For children in Nursery to Year 2, they follow the Twinkl Phonics programme reading books Rhino Readers. These books match the phonic sounds the children have been learning in their groups and allow them to apply their phonic knowledge to words. The children read these books in school every day. The Rhino Reader books can be accessed through the Twinkl website to read online. We will link these books very soon.
To encourage reading for pleasure, the children will choose and bring home a colour band book that is closely matched to their reading ability. These colour books follow the Oxford Reading Tree scheme. Children will also choose a 'free choice' book which is a book to share together as a family and a library book from either our school library or Kent Elms library.
As a school, we use the Twinkl Phonics programme to plan and deliver our phonics teaching. Twinkl phonics highlights the four cornerstones of phonics and follows the same teaching process in its daily sessions. We start teaching the scheme with our Nursery children and it runs through until the end of year 2.
The children in reception, year 1 and year 2 are assessed in phonics regularly. This is to see what sounds they need to revisit to ensure they don't have gaps in their knowledge. In year 1, the children sit a phonics test in June. They would have had lots of time to learn the phonic sounds needed to pass this test but if a child doesn't pass, they get another chance to sit it in year 2.
At Eastwood, we strive to create an environment that will promote both reading and writing. In order to ensure that all children learn to be confident writers we encourage them to write creatively whilst teaching key skills explicitly and systematically.
As children are immersed in a theme-based curriculum, they study high quality fiction and non-fiction texts and learn from visits and immersive ‘Brilliant Beginnings’ which allow them to develop the knowledge to write with confidence.
In class, teachers plan structured shared reading sessions, write model pieces and demonstrate modelling writing to the children; starting with a blank page, so they understand the characteristics of different purposes of writing. Additionally, children are taught relevant vocabulary, spellings and grammar concepts which help them to write accurately and with precision.
In EYFS, children mainly learn to read and write words through Phonics teaching. They have lots of opportunities to apply these new skills through small group work and writing opportunities in continuous provision.
In Key Stage 1, the main focus of writing lessons is around transcription. Dictated sentences are sometimes used and teachers support children with the composition of their writing with lots of oral rehearsal and discussion until this is secure.
In Key Stage 2, teachers interleave the teaching of transcription and composition and lessons follow an ‘I do’, ‘We do’, ‘You do’ approach where children can apply new or embed previously taught skills immediately. This model is also used in Key Stage 1.
Children receive immediate feedback within the lesson, misconceptions are addressed so children feel a sense of achievement in their work and teachers regularly encourage children to ‘turn back’ where children look at their work from the start of the year or previous term to compare their progress.
In EYFS and Key Stage 1, spelling teaching begins with children learning phonics. Children in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 take home weekly spelling which follow the Twinkl spelling scheme.
Children are taught different strategies to use in school and at home to learn their spellings. These include:
Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check.
Writing the word as many times as possible within a certain time.
Repeating the letters over and over out loud.
Thinking of and writing silly sentences using their spelling words.
Dictation – an adult or friend tells them the sentence including the spelling word or words.
Spotting patterns or rules.
Children are tested on their spellings weekly.
Handwriting is a basic skill that influences the quality of work throughout the curriculum. At the end of Key Stage 2, all pupils should have the ability to produce fluent and joined up handwriting.
We aim to make handwriting an automatic process that does not interfere with creative and mental thinking and this aim is communicated with pupils so they understand the purpose behind practising their handwriting.
Children start their handwriting journey by practising patterns and shapes. They then learn how to form each letter within a ‘letter family’ using the Twinkl phonics formation rhymes. Once children can confidently form all of the letters, teachers begin teaching the joins. When joining, teachers use the sounds or spelling words being taught that day/week so children are practising phonics or spelling as well as handwriting. Teachers use the language ‘entry stroke’ followed by the Twinkl phonics formation rhyme and then ‘exit stroke’.
Helping your child at home
What are pure sounds? - video
Oxford reading tree free eBook library - to find your child's colour band, click levels, book band and then select the colour level your child is on
Rhino Reader phonics books - these are sent home every Monday and must be returned on the Friday.
Phonics Play - free games that embed segmenting and blending phonics skills
English Curriculum Maps
Our Eastwood Library
We have been working hard to develop our school library. We have sorted through hundreds of books and selected the very best for our children. The library is still growing and changing to encourage a love of reading and create an exciting, inviting space for children to borrow books and come to read.
Class Reading Areas
Teachers have also been developing the reading offer in their classrooms.