English is at the heart of our curriculum at Alpington. Reading and writing are an essential part of our topics, where children learn, use and apply their knowledge for a range of purposes and in different contexts.
Please click here for our online “Reading Corner” which has Alpington favourites, recommendations and websites to help you find your perfect book at home or at school.
Reading is threaded through every aspect of the curriculum in KS1 with children reading instructions, information texts and for problem solving in maths. Cross curricular learning is often linked to a text or story. Story books and longer class readers are read daily as children make the transition to reading longer chapter books themselves. Reading corners continue to be a central point in the classroom where children can choose a book to enjoy by themselves or with a friend.
Phonics is taught daily. In year 1 children learn phase 5 sounds in preparation for the phonics test. Year 2 a focus on spelling rules and conventions.
High quality intervention is in place for children who need additional input to ensure that they don’t fall behind.
KS1 children have access to a banded book scheme which includes a range of good quality books matched to the children’s reading ability. As in EYFS children can choose from a balance of fully decodable books matched to their phonic knowledge and other texts designed to promote a love of reading and develop comprehension skills. Once the teacher is confident that children are reading fluently at an appropriate level they become “free readers” able to choose books from the library at home and at school. Children are taught to choose books at an appropriate level for their reading and guided to choose books from a range of authors and genres. Reading books are changed as often as is needed.
During Key Stage 1 the children are encouraged to form an interest in and take pleasure from a variety of text types. In guided reading they are taught a range of strategies to decode words, with an emphasis on phonetic knowledge, word building skills and vocabulary. They are encouraged to express their opinions about the books they read, giving reasons for their answers and indicate their comprehension of texts through adult questioning and group discussion.
Reading is central to the curriculum with children using their reading skills across all subjects, including for research. Cross curricular learning is often linked to a class novel.
Most children at Alpington are “Free Readers” by the time they reach year 3. They can choose their books from a high quality, age appropriate class library but are also able to read books from home or the the local library.
Specific intervention is in place to ensure phonics is taught to children who still benefit from this.
Age appropriate books are available for children who find reading challenging. Children are also encouraged to engage with more challenging texts than they can read independently using audio books.
Children are part of a guided reading group. Each group chooses a text from an extensive collection, guided by the teacher. Groups read at least twice a week with an adult in school and children read the book independently between each reading session as part of their home work. There is lively discussion about the book, with discussion around new vocabulary, inference and prediction and the authors perspective. Children learn to form and express their own ideas and opinions about the text and to back these up with evidence and examples.
Reading for pleasure is at the heart of reading at Alpington. Children enjoy reading, experience a wide range of books and authors and are given the time to “get lost in a book”.
Progression of Skills
At Aplington writing is at the centre of our topic. From the earliest stages of mark making though to accomplished and fluent writers by the end of year 6, writing has a context and a purpose. Linked across all subjects children have the opportunity to write from different perspectives, to explore their own feelings and those of others, to write to inform, to persuade and to entertain.
Progression in writing skills
Grammar and spelling
Grammar is usually taught linked to the kind of writing that the children are engaged in. This means that children have the immediate opportunity to use their new skills and knowledge in a meaningful context. On occasion this may not be possible and therefore some aspects of grammar may be taught discreetly.
In year 1, spelling is linked to phonics and “tricky words”. From year 2, spellings are taught using spelling patterns and conventions, with common exception words taught separately. Children have a list of words to practice both at home and in school each week. In KS2 children have a weekly spelling test. Children have a spelling book in which to attempt new words and keep a track of words they are learning to spell.