At Monks Orchard Primary School, we believe that English is a fundamental life skill. English develops children’s ability to listen, speak, read and write for a wide range of purposes.
Children are given opportunities to express themselves creatively and imaginatively as they become enthusiastic and critical readers of stories, poetry and drama, as well as of non-fiction and media texts.
To help our children develop a love of reading and to support their confidence and fluency from an early age, we introduce phonics teaching at the very start of their learning journey with us.
We follow a successful and respected programme, Read Write Inc, which has been developed to ‘teach every child to read and write – and to keep them reading. No exceptions.’
Children begin by learning one way to read the 40+ sounds and blend these sounds into words, then learn to read the same sounds with alternative letters. They experience success from the very beginning. Exciting phonic books are closely matched to their knowledge of phonics and ‘tricky’ words and, as children re-read the stories, their fluency increases. Along with a thought-provoking introduction, prompts for thinking out loud and discussion, children are helped to read with a storyteller’s voice.
This immersive and systematic approach to teaching children to read sparks their love for stories and gives them the confidence to read any book they want.
Once Year 2 children have ‘graduated’ the Read Write Inc scheme, children progress to a whole class, all inclusive shared reading approach, where children of all reading abilities are given access to the same rich text to explore and discuss in detail. We carefully select books that children can evaluate and critique.
All our shared reading sessions will focus on a particular reading skill:
Children are aware of the reading skills and are posed questions according to one of the skills.
Teaching and Learning
Reading will always be at the very centre of our English curriculum. Teachers carefully choose stimulating, inspiring and thought-provoking texts to base units of work around. By using a book-based approach, classes become immersed in what they are learning and is provided with a platform to create the perfect context for purposeful writing.
English is planned and delivered in phases:
1) Phase 1: Exploring the text in detail
Explored meaning, vocabulary, VIPER questions
Response to story through role-play and thought bubbles in character
Phase 2: capturing ideas
Vocabulary work – synonyms
Phase 3: beginning of composition
Teacher modelling – teacher writes in front of the pupils, sharing the process as they do.
Shared writing – teacher may start the writing, then allows children to finish off or discuss together.
Paired composition – on whiteboards, with partners.
Phase 4: independent writing
Having built up to this point, and being given the ‘tools’ required, children put it all together to write a meaningful piece of writing with an agreed purpose.
Phase 5: Editing, proof-reading and improving writing
Children are taught, right from the beginning of their writing journey, that a piece of writing is never completely finished and there is always room for development. We encourage self and peer assessment as a way to proof-read and improve each other’s writing and it is modelled by the teacher regularly. At Monks Orchard, children use a ‘blue pen’ as a method of editing and up levelling their writing.
At Monks Orchard, we believe that teaching of grammar, punctuation and spelling is fundamentally important and should be taught through engaging and challenging activities.
Accuracy sessions are taught 3 times across a week, with a focus on either grammar, punctuation or spelling. Children are provided with opportunities to investigate and practise GPS skills taught in a fun and collaborative way.