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English

At Westacre, we strive to embed a life-long love of language and communication by learning about literacy skills through the use of quality children’s texts, books and topics that inspire and excite young readers and writers.

 

Literacy Aims

- For our children to become confident life-long readers, who love the world of books
- For our children to be able to communicate meaning through the spoken and written word with confidence

 

Our Curriculum

Our curriculum is flexible and responds to the needs of our children. Lessons are meaningful, exploring audience and purpose of communication, creating challenge and reinforcing core skills.

When planning our lessons, we aim for the children to learn through engaging and challenging texts, which stimulate imagination and gives them the confidence to move beyond what is familiar, to new skills in speaking and writing. They develop the depth of their understanding of what they read, hear and see. Children are taught to be competent users of spoken and written English, enabling them to participate fully in the world beyond school.

 

The curriculum is made up of specific areas:

* Spoken Language

* Reading

* Writing

* Spelling

* Grammar and Punctuation.

 

Spoken Language

Spoken Language is woven into every lesson. If children speak well, with confidence, in a range of situations, they will develop strong reading and writing skills. Children are taught how to speak in a range of contexts, adapting what they say and how they say it. They are taught how to respond appropriately to others, thinking about what has been said and the language used.

 

Reading

Reading can be a wonderful, relaxing experience and can open up a whole new world for our children. We aim for children to become confident readers, but we also want them to enjoy the experience. If children can read fluently they can develop as independent learners. Hearing children read is important but it is only a small part of the picture. Through guided reading activities, children are taught how to make sense of what they are reading so that reading becomes a skill they can use to support all of their learning, in all subjects.

At Westacre, we use Renaissance Accelerated Reader (AR) to support and track progress in reading for all children. AR is a powerful tool for monitoring and managing independent reading practice. The information generated from children’s AR reading quizzes is used to ensure that pupils read appropriately challenging books - difficult enough to keep them engaged but not so difficult that pupils become frustrated. AR aims to develop a lifelong love of reading and motivate children of all ages to read more suitably challenging books.

 

Writing

Writing is an essential skill and by providing children with engaging activities, we believe we can foster confidence and a lifelong love of writing. Children will be able to write well if their speaking & listening and reading skills are fluent. Our cross-curricular approach ensures that children are provided with a wealth of writing opportunities – not just during English lessons. Children are taught how to write with an audience in mind, how to use a rich vocabulary to convey thoughts and ideas and how, through using accurate spelling and punctuation, the reader is able to receive the full meaning intended.

  

 

Spelling

At Westacre, we have a comprehensive approach to spelling. Three spelling sessions every week take place in spelling ability groups, where children focus on the specific spelling rules that they need to practise. In addition, a further two spelling sessions take place in children’s English groups - one session focuses on the spelling of specific topic vocabulary and the other gives every child the chance to work on the spellings that they need to practise, in light of their independent writing. For a small number of children, alternative spelling provision is available to ensure that our approach to spelling is bespoke to the needs of every child.  

 

 

Grammar and Punctuation

Grammar is concerned with the way in which sentences are used in spoken language, in reading and in writing. Grammar is taught in creative and meaningful ways that go beyond simply knowing terms and categories, towards encouraging children to love playing with grammar and language. The purpose of punctuation is to clarify the meaning of texts. Readers use punctuation to help make sense of written texts while writers use punctuation to help communicate intended meaning to the reader.

 

SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social, Cultural) Link
Spiritual development in English involves the children reflecting on their own personal existence through literacy appreciation and analysis. Through careful selection of novels and plays, pupils are exposed to a diverse range of beliefs and experiences. Through empathy with characters, children develop a growing understanding of how ideology contributes to personal identity. Children will be provided with opportunities to extract meaning beyond the literal, consider alternative interpretation and hidden meanings while engaging with ideas in fiction, non-fiction, poetry and drama. Children explore how choice of language and style affects implied and explicit meaning. Pupils are provided with opportunities to reflect on their own life and lives of others using diaries, journals, letters, biographies and autobiographies. Students experience a rich variety of quality language use, and learn how to use language in imaginative and original ways, drawing on their reading, and considering how words, usage and meaning change over time.

 

We promote spiritual development
•    by responding to a poem, story or text, pupils can be asked ‘I wonder what you think happens next?’ ‘How would you feel if you were the person in the story?’ ‘Where have you met these ideas before?’ eg. when responding to text through drama or debate/discussion.
•    by appreciating the beauty of language, eg. poetic language within stories and poems 
We promote moral development:
•    by exploring stimulus for thinking about the consequences of right and wrong behaviour, pupils can speculate and apply their learning to their own lives. When they do this they are developing their speaking, listening and higher-order thinking skills. 
•    by considering different perspectives and showing empathy.
We promote social development:
•    by supporting conceptual and language development through an understanding of, and debates about, social issues, eg. refugees, bullying, stereotyping, the environment.
•    by working collaboratively, eg. as part of a dramatized response, to prepare a verbal response to an argument, to evaluate each other’s work. 
•    by providing opportunities for learning to continue at home through topic homework projects, reading and spelling practice.    
•    by providing opportunities for talk in a range of settings, to a range of audiences and purposes, eg assemblies, performances and structured discussion.
We promote cultural development
•    by providing opportunities for pupils to engage with texts from, or representing, different cultures.
•    by providing opportunities for pupils to engage with texts that represent a strong literary heritage.
•    by providing opportunities for children to visit the theatre and experience theatrical productions.    
 

 

How you can help your child

  • Reading to your child – role model
  • Reading with your child – talking about reading
  • Asking higher order questions about characters, themes, settings, motives and plot prediction. Asking why? and how?
  • Word games – Scrabble, Boggle, Taboo Junior, Pass the Bomb! Balderdash, Hangman, Tennis Elbow etc.

 

 

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