English teaching and learning
Our vision is to instil ‘a love for reading and writing culture’ across the whole school and ensure children leave Minworth Junior and Infant school as literate young adults adequately equipped to continue with the next stage of their educational journey, regardless of their backgrounds, needs or abilities. In order to achieve this, children will be immersed in engaging, challenging texts throughout the curriculum, which aim to capture their imagination and inspire them to write creatively.
Adhering to the structure of the National Curriculum, the teaching of English is broken down into four core areas across the school:
- Reading (including the teaching of systematic phonics)
- Spelling, Vocabulary, Grammar , Punctuation and Glossary
- Spoken language.
Writing: Our aim at Minworth is for all of our children, irrespective of background or ability, to become effective and enthusiastic writers; to be able to write with grammatical accuracy; with appropriate style and flair; with an awareness of the reader; and, to be able to write at length, within whichever genre they are provided or choose to express themselves - today, tomorrow and in the years ahead.
Reading: Reading is at the heart of our curriculum and is the foundation for it. Throughout the school, learning is centred around carefully chosen texts that link directly to the particular topic or theme. In the most part, these consist of real, age-appropriate texts taken from planned year group text trails, but extracts or digital texts will be used where they better suit the targeted genre or purpose. At Minworth, we fully recognise the importance of reading and the fundamental role it plays in learning. As such, we embrace all aspects of literature from the old to the new, the report to the comic, the novel to the webpage, all in a bid to immerse our children in texts that broaden their thinking and their horizons.
The school identifies two important phases in reading development: learning to read and reading to learn. Teaching strategies are employed that recognise children’s needs in each phase.
Phonics: Phonics is recommended as the first strategy that children should be taught, in helping them learn to read. It runs alongside other teaching methods, such as guided reading and shared reading, to help children develop all the other vital reading skills to hopefully give them a real love of reading. At Minworth Junior and Infant School we combine the guidance and phase progression from The Department for Education’s Letters and Sounds programme with the actions and resources taken from Jolly Phonics. This is organised as follows:
Children are assessed on their knowledge of phase one which identifies if a child can discriminate between different sounds, identify the initial and end sounds in words, blend sounds together and split words in to sounds. They are taught these skills continually throughout the year whilst being introduced to phase two, which is learning to hear a sound and knowing how to form it and recognise it in a systematic way by learning one set at a time.
Set 1 - s a t p, Set 2 - i n m d , Set 3 - g o c k, Set 4 - ck e u r, Set 5 - h b f ff l ll s ss
Once children are secure in these sounds they begin to learn the sounds in phase three. Phase three is taught in the same way as phase two, and by the end of phase three the children will know one way of writing each of the 44 phonemes.
Set 6 - j v w x, Set 7 - y z zz qu, Consonant digraphs - ch sh th ng
Vowel digraphs (and trigraphs) ai ee igh oa oo ar or ur ow oi ear air ure er
Children will consolidate the learning from reception and revisit any of the 44 phonemes that children may not be secure on before starting phase four. The main challenge in this phase is to help children to blend and segment words with adjacent consonants e.g. truck, help. As children develop in confidence they are introduced to phase five where children will learn alternative ways to write sounds and split digraphs. For example, they would already know ai as in rain, but now they will be introduced to ay as in day and a-e as in make. At the end of the year all children sit a national phonics screening test.
Children will consolidate the learning from year one before moving on to phase six. This reinforces much of the learning from phase five and helps children to develop greater fluency in reading and begins to explore spelling rules and conventions, e.g. adding -ing and -ed. Any children who did not meet the Government's expected standard in the year one phonics screening test will repeat it at the end of year two.
Key Stage Two
If children are assessed to require or need greater competency in phonics, they will continue to have support to learn the phonemes. Children who are secure up to phase six will learn the spelling strategies and common exception words for their age and year group.
To support the school’s approach to phonics, the school has adopted the Bug Club Reading scheme. The children start on picture books until they are able to recognise and self-blend sounds. As children’s phonetic knowledge develops, they are able to move through the reading bands which provides opportunities to decode more complex words, develop an on-sight vocabulary and read with greater fluency whilst being challenged to develop their comprehension skills. Once children’s reading is secure they will become a ‘free reader’, choosing their own texts. Comprehension and reading strategies continue throughout the key stage two curriculum.