Here at St. Mark’s, we aim to inspire a passion and develop children’s love for all aspects of English: reading, writing, speaking, listening, and performance. Our curriculum is aligned with the National Curriculum for English 2014. Our aim is for St. Mark’s School to be a reading school, full of avid and enthusiastic readers who care about books and believe that books can be a gateway to knowledge.
At St. Mark’s, we know how essential the support from parents’ and carers’ is, therefore parents and carers are encouraged to share in their child’s development of reading through the exploration of books, listening to their child read and using different question types to improve comprehension. Our English curriculum aims to help our children learn to:
- read easily, fluently and with good understanding
- develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
- acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
- appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
- appreciate a range of diverse characters in books and understand the importance of representation
- write clearly, accurately, and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes, and audiences
- use discussion to learn; they should be able to elaborate and clearly explain their understanding and ideas
- be competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others, and participating in debate.
We provide children with a literacy-rich environment, high-quality texts and inspiring learning opportunities such as author visits, exciting whole school writing days, creating books collaboratively to share with other classes and much more. We have also introduced whole school reading time at the end of each day, giving children the opportunity to sit and enjoy listening to a story together.
We ensure that our English teaching and learning provide many purposeful opportunities for reading, writing and discussion. We use a wide variety of experiences, quality texts and resources to motivate and inspire our children. All pupils receive a daily English lesson. Teachers also ensure that cross-curricular links with concurrent topic work are woven into the programme of study.
•Teachers create a positive reading and writing culture in school, where both are promoted, enjoyed, and considered ‘a pleasure’ for all pupils.
• Promotion of reading: teachers reading aloud regularly to their class.
• Pupils in EYFS and KS1 to have daily phonics sessions, following Read, Write Inc.
• Age-appropriate spellings sent home weekly for pupils to practise their words and to write a sentence containing each word at home. Evaluated once a week.
• Daily Guided Reading sessions in years 2-6, using the carousel approach where applicable and following the appropriate reading VIPERS domain.
• Pupils are being adventurous with vocabulary choices.
• Pupils to acquire strategies to enable them to become independent learners in English (utilising spelling rules and patterns and how to tackle unfamiliar words when reading).
• Pupils to discuss and to present their ideas to each other by talking, being able to elaborate and explain themselves clearly, make presentations and participate in debates.
• Working Walls – in all classes, aiding pupils and guiding them through the processes of Reading and Analysing, Gathering Content, Planning and Writing.
• Vocabulary promoted through displays in class, all curriculum areas, enhancing and encouraging a wider use of vocabulary.
• Vocabulary mats to be used where needed and thesauruses and dictionaries which are easily accessible for pupils to use.
• Teaching a range of genres across the school (progressing in difficulty) both in English and other curriculum areas; resulting in pupils being exposed to, and knowledgeable about, literary styles, authors, and genres. Children should be able to express preferences and give opinions, supported by evidence, about different texts.
The impact on our children is clear: progress, sustained learning, and transferrable skills. We aim that by the end of KS2 all our children will have made considerable progress from their starting points in EYFS. With the implementation of the writing journey (including mastering of the Phonic Code by the end of KS1), being well established and taught thoroughly in both key stages, our children are becoming more confident writers. By the time they are in upper Key Stage 2, all genres of writing are familiar to them, and teaching can focus on creativity, writer’s craft, sustained writing and manipulation of grammar and punctuation skills.
Our children also become more confident, fluent readers and they realise the importance of reading for pleasure along with reading for information and knowledge.
As all aspects of English are an integral part of the curriculum, cross-curricular writing standards have also improved, and skills taught in the English lesson are transferred into other subjects; this shows consolidation of skills, progression, and a deeper understanding of how and when to use specific grammar, punctuation, and grammar objectives. We hope that as children move on from us to further their education and learning that their creativity, passion for English and high aspirations travel with them and continue to grow and develop as they do.