At Colerne CE Primary School we believe that children deserve the very best teaching and learning provision in English. We strive to develop children who are articulate and imaginative communicators and are well-equipped with the basic skills they need to become motivated lifelong learners. We also aim for all our children to develop a genuine love of language and the written word.
We have high expectations of all children and we are very proud of the creative and exciting opportunities we provide in order to scaffold learning at every level. We are committed to providing a rich and engaging English curriculum that meets the needs of all learners and inspires children to become imaginative and effective writers and readers.
Our aim is that English learning is contextualised in children’s experiences and therefore is carefully planned with explicit links to children’s wider learning. We enrich English learning with visits from authors, trips and experiences that will provide a real purpose for reading and writing.
Our English curriculum is made up of some key elements. The sections below will provide more information about children’s experience of English at Colerne.
Books are more than stories inside; they are the key to unlocking the potential in every child. At Colerne we believe the ability to read is fundamental to a child’s development as an independent learner.
What are our aims for reading?
- To encourage children to become enthusiastic and reflective readers through contact with challenging and enriching texts.
- To read a wide variety of genres and text types.
- To read with confidence, fluency and understanding, using a range of independent strategies to self-monitor and correct mistakes.
- To develop confident and independent readers by inspiring a love of literature and an enjoyment of reading for pleasure
Good reading skills allow children to access all areas of the curriculum. In order to read across the curriculum with fluency, accuracy, understanding and enjoyment pupils need to use a range of strategies: drawing on knowledge of context and grammatical knowledge; applying phonic knowledge and skills; applying alphabet knowledge and developing word recognition. These are skills which the children are taught through English and Guided Reading sessions.
Guided Reading is an opportunity to develop and practise reading skills whilst engaging with a variety of texts. Working with groups of children, teachers support individual’s growing skills using a balance of questioning and guidance to encourage fluency and comprehension of texts.
Whole class reading sessions occur daily in classrooms at Colerne. These sessions encourage children to choose a text and read independently for pleasure. To support reading in class, there is a dedicated book area in each classroom. KS2 children often pair up with KS1 children too.
We also have a well-stocked library including a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction, which children have the opportunity to use during lessons and independently. Parents are welcome to visit the library at the start or end of the school day with their children to assist the selection of books to share and enjoy at home. The school library is a welcoming learning space where the children are encouraged to choose a book that they would like to read and or share at home with their family.
Better Reading Partners
We offer training to volunteers who enjoy coming into school on a regular basis to read with our children. Children who are identified as needing a Reading Partner have individual sessions with a specially trained volunteer 3 times a week. The programme lasts for up to 12 weeks and is different for every child, starting from what the child knows and what he/she needs to learn next.
At Colerne we use ‘Letters and Sounds’ (a programme developed as a result of the ‘Independent Review of the Teaching of Early Reading’) to support children’s phonological development. This is a six-phase systematic, synthetic phonics programme designed to help children become fluent readers by the age of seven. It focuses on teaching high quality phonics, using blending and segmentation techniques. This aims to teach the children the correspondences between sounds (phonemes) in spoken language and letters (graphemes) in written language. These correspondences help the children to read and spell words. We use ‘Phonics Play’ as a vehicle for making our Phonics teaching fun and memorable.
Key Words and Spellings
High frequency words are the words that appear most often in printed materials. Some of the high frequency words are called 'tricky words' because the children are unable to use their phonic knowledge to decode every part of the word.
Learning to recognise the high frequency words on sight is crucial in developing fluency and accuracy in reading and then writing. At Colerne we are committed to supporting the children in learning to read and then spell these words.
Once children are confident with reading and spelling high-frequency words, they are taught spelling rules and are encouraged to apply these rules in their writing. Key words and spellings are tested weekly in school.
Role Play and Drama
At Colerne we value Drama techniques as a core part of the Literacy Curriculum. Children engage in drama activities to provide purpose for reading and writing and to develop speaking and listening skills.
Teachers and children work together to create engaging role play areas linked to each topic. Children use these areas to apply the English skills they have been taught. These Role Play areas are highly valued by staff and children and are an essential tool for enabling independence in all learners.
At Colerne we use ‘Storymaking’ and ‘Talk for Writing’ to strengthen children’s development in writing. Through learning to tell stories, children develop speaking and listening skills and internalise story language and sentence structure to apply in their own writing. Children use symbols and pictures to support them to learn and retell stories for a range of audiences.
We are very well resourced to support children with all aspects of their English learning. We have an extensive collection of quality texts for children to read and enjoy and a wealth of other resources to make learning in English fun and engaging. Children use laptops and iPads regularly to explore digital texts and to write for purpose.