At John Ray Infants English is a paramount area where children will learn skills for reading, writing, speech, language and spelling through stories, topics and even drama. This is a daily skill that the children use often without even realising and we spend a lot of time breaking down each area of English for the children to achieve their potential during their time with us. English is of course a cross curricular subject which we link with all of our lessons when doing reading and writing.
In reading (primarily in year 1 and 2) we are trialling out different strategies to develop the children’s love for reading as well as helping them read to fluency with expression. The other main aim is that our children read for pleasure. We use echo reading (children repeat sentences/phrases) to help them hear the expression needed when reading (particularly where speech is evident) as well as recognising familiar and common exception words which are repeated. We also spend time looking at the comprehension and understanding of text as well as spending time reading alone for a short period of time, developing their focus and understanding during a reading session. All staff also choose books to read with the children in class as well as parents when they attend our weekly reading café.
Our phonics sessions in year 2 are mainly focused on the actual spelling of words, with a particular focus on the prefix and suffix of words. Our weekly spelling test will then relate back to the phonic lessons of that week which will also include at least 2 or 3 common exception words for year 2. In year 1 the children’s phonics lessons also link back to weekly spellings which are sent home. The phonics sessions in year 1 are more sound based which help with the words for that week as well as including words from their year 1 common exception words.
Writing in key stage one is always linked to the topic for that half term. There are a huge range of genres that the children need to learn including instructional writing, diaries, letters, poetry, fact files and many more. Each topic across the year will lend itself to a different genre that the children will learn to write in the style of. These are often repeated but are also used in another topic other than the English lessons themselves; teaching the children how they can use their writing and spellings knowledge as a cross curricular skill. We use different resources to support the children such as word mats, key spelling lists, talk for writing/story maps and so on. This gives the children the confidence to write even if they are unsure of some spellings and the reading they do in class and at home introduces them to language that they can use in their.
Phonics in Foundation Stage follows the Letters and Sounds Scheme, which they use alongside Jolly Phonics and PhonicsPlay. (https://www.jollylearning.co.uk/jolly-phonics/ and https://www.phonicsplay.co.uk/). They start from Phase 1 focusing on listening skills, rhyme and alliteration. They then move on to Phase 2 where children are taught the letter names and sounds of individual letters and some digraphs. Phase 3 is started when children are applying phase 2 sounds to blend to read and segment to spell.
By the end of Foundation Stage all children will have been taught a range of single sounds, digraphs and trigraphs, as well as tricky and high frequency words. The expectation is that all children will be able to read and understand simple sentences, use phonic knowledge to decode regular words and read them aloud accurately. They will also be able to read and spell some common irregular words. In writing the children will also be able to use their phonic knowledge to write words in ways that match their spoken sounds.
Overall the school follows the National Curriculum guidelines but we are able to teach the different areas in a way that makes the learning exciting for the children with relevant links to our current topics.