English sits at the heart of our curriculum – it is through language, story and text that children learn to form concepts, connect ideas and express themselves. Through literacy, in all its forms, children learn to both make sense of the world and shape their place within it.
Our English curriculum promotes a high standard of language, both in the spoken and written form. It is based on the National Curriculum and incorporates a diverse range of high-quality, engaging literature.
All children from Foundation to Year 6 have English lessons at least once a day, which includes whole-class study and analysis of high quality texts as well as writing opportunities. In addition, reading for pleasure is woven into our weekly timetable, developing reading skills and widening the opportunities for our children to exposed to a rich and varied diet of literature.
Throughout our English curriculum, pupils will:
- Read easily, fluently and with good understanding
- Acquire a wide vocabulary
- Develop a good understanding of grammar
- Write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style for a range of audiences
- Develop skills in oracy through speaking, listening and formal presentations
At Wavendon Gate School, we see reading as an integral part of our school curriculum that impacts on all learning. Reading is at the heart of our curriculum and central to every pupils’ life at our school. We value the importance of being a confident reader and work hard to develop children’s reading skills. We want pupils to enjoy reading a diverse range of books and be able to talk about books and authors with confidence.
In our school, children participate in reading activities every day. These vary from taught sessions to opportunities for reading for pleasure and information. During guided reading lessons, children are taught and given opportunities to apply reading skills which include: phonics, sight vocabulary, contextual cues, comprehension, inference and deduction. Teachers use a range of carefully selected resources when teaching children to read. Every opportunity is seized throughout the day to enable pupils to use their reading skills when accessing other areas of the curriculum. Teachers read aloud to the children on a daily basis and engage them, through active discussions, in order to promote an enjoyment of reading and to expose them to a range of vocabulary that may be beyond their current reading ability.
For our pupils, learning to read and becoming a reader is a priority for us. We have developed our reading curriculum to ensure all children have opportunities to and develop understanding in:
- Using their phonics to lift the words off the page
- Developing communication and language skills particularly by learning new vocabulary and key/familiar phrases
- Applying their phonics to read words, captions, phrases, sentences and longer texts
- Daily phonics, reading and English lessons in EYFS and KS1
- Daily reading and English lessons in KS2
- Reading as part of the wider curriculum
- Sharing books, authors and illustrators during daily read aloud sessions
- Opportunities to independently read and be immersed in a book
- Engaging in book talk: likes, dislikes, puzzles and connections
At Wavendon Gate School, we teach early reading using a program called Read Write Inc. Children at our school learn to read using a systematic approach to recognise the sounds that letters make; we call this phonics. Children in Reception and Year 1 have daily phonics lessons to develop their independence in reading.
Read Write Inc. is supported by a wide range of completely decodable texts. These cover both fiction and non-fiction and are exciting and engaging for all our pupils. We match the home reading texts to each child’s current phonic knowledge to ensure that they consolidate their most recent teaching and learning at home.
Click on the link below to find out more about our phonics program.
To support children in upper key stage 2 who are working below national expectations in reading, we deliver the Fresh Start intervention program. Fresh Start uses the same teaching and learning principles as Read Write Inc. phonics and includes many of the same activities. The modules contain fully decodable texts and are age appropriate to capture the interest of our older students. These sessions are delivered daily in small groups or individually. We aim to get students reading accurately and fluently as quickly as possible so they can catch up with their peers.
Emergent and Confident Readers
Once children have a sufficient knowledge of phonics to read some short books independently, reading skills are developed through daily guided reading lessons. During these lessons, children are encouraged to discuss books with a growing understanding and enthusiasm. Exciting and challenging texts are chosen to broaden pupils’ understanding of language, develop fluency and further enjoyment. Please see our overview below which outlines our class focus texts for guided reading sessions.
Whole school reading overviews
Every pupil at Wavendon Gate School is given a reading book that is appropriate for their age and stage of development that they can take home and share with you. Developing readers are encouraged to read their book a few times on different occasions during the week before swapping it for a new one. This is to allow them to develop their reading stamina and to practise new words. Children are regularly assessed using an online system to measure fluency, accuracy and comprehension. The books are available from Reception to Year 6 and they are colour coded with the children moving to the next band when they are secure with the previous one, and have read a breadth of genres including fiction and non fiction titles. Click on the link below to find out more about our school book banding system.
School book band reference sheet
In all year groups we teach writing through high-quality texts, ranging from picture books to Shakespeare, and seek to include theatre visits and visiting artists to help us to bring stories to life.
During their time at Wavendon Gate School, pupils will write a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts, including recounts, news reports, explanation texts, poems, plays and stories of all kinds. We use drama, role-play, storytelling and discussion to engage the imagination, before moving on to vocabulary exploration, sentence craft and creative writing.
Throughout the Early Years and Key Stage 1, children are taught the key principles of writing in order to lay a solid foundation for developing their skills later on. An emphasis is placed on developing clear handwriting with ‘finger spaces’ between each word. Children are taught to apply their knowledge of phonics to help them spell accurately, and to structure their work, whether it be fiction writing or a set of instructions. Our curriculum teaches the children to add variation and description to their work by developing their vocabulary, including the use of interesting adjectives and adverbs and developing sentence structure using conjunctions and sentence openers. By the end of Key Stage 1 children have been taught the fundamentals of punctuation and grammar. This structural and technical knowledge is fostered alongside developing a love for writing as a lifelong means for communication and expressing oneself.
Throughout Key Stage 2, these solid foundations are built upon as children develop their unique writing style. Children are taught to write for a range of purposes – to entertain, inform, persuade and discuss – using explicit sentence models and ambitious vocabulary. They then learn to shape these sentences into coherent paragraphs before planning and creating their own original works of fiction and non-fiction.
Children are also given frequent opportunities to apply their writing skills across the curriculum whether that is writing up experiments in science, recounting events in history or describing processes in geography to name a few.
Children in Foundation are taught basic letter formation using the Read Write inc. letter rhymes during phonics lessons as well as during additional handwriting sessions. Pupils from Year 1 onwards follow the Penpals handwriting scheme and have discreet handwriting lessons to practise letter joins.
Pupils in Foundation and Year 1 are taught spelling through the Read Write Inc. resources during daily phonics lessons. They learn to decode (read) the words and encode (spell) the words simultaneously during lessons.
Pupils in Years 2-6 follow the Spelling Shed curriculum and have access to online games linked to their current learning that they can practise at home. Spelling is taught through three discreet lessons a week.