In This Section
At Marie Weller, our English curriculum aims to ensure that all pupils develop the required core skills and knowledge to prepare them for the next stage in their learning. The core English curriculum is divided into the following strands:
We teach the sounds first – in a specific order. We then teach your children to blend those sounds together in order to read words. The children read words in the matched storybooks. Each Storybook is carefully matched to the sounds they can already read – setting them up for success. We read to children ‘real’ books’. Once they have learnt to read, they will be able to independently read these books for themselves.
The English language is very complex. Phonics is the method of teaching reading through the identification of sounds and graphemes. All words are made up of sounds e.g. in ‘mat’ we have the sounds ‘m’, ‘a’,‘t’. A grapheme is another name for the letters we use to write the sound. Write the letters ‘m’ ‘a’ ‘t’ in the air as you say the sounds. We teach phonics so that your children will have the tools to read any word.
We teach using pure sounds. We use pure sounds (‘m’ not’ muh’, ’s’ not ‘suh’, etc.) so that your child will be able to blend the sounds into words more easily. Children need to know sounds – not letter names – to read words.
It shows the most common graphemes for each sound. Each box is a sound box showing different ways to read and write the sound.
We also use Fred in our classrooms. He is a frog who can only speak in sounds, and we call this Fred Talk. For example ‘m’ ‘a’ ‘t’, ‘l’ ‘u’ ‘n’ ‘c’ ‘h’. He helps children sound out words so they can read and spell.
Once they can Fred Talk and blend sounds into words from the simple chart, we teach them Set 3 sounds on the complex chart – the other ways of reading and writing each sound so that they can soon read anything.
More information can be found in the Phonics section.
Reading is fundamental to every child’s educational development and we ensure that it is at the forefront of our curriculum from Early Years through to Year 6 with the aim for all children to leave Marie Weller as confident and competent readers, reading for pleasure at an age-appropriate level.
In Early Years, children are exposed to a word-rich environment, daily stories and picture books to encourage them to ‘read’ pictures, infer, and predict from the very start of their time with us. Daily phonics teaching starts within the first few weeks of your child starting school with us in EYFS following the Ruth Miskin RWI scheme. This continues into KS1 with continued rigorous daily teaching combined with developing early comprehension skills.
The Book Talk approach is a key principal to our teaching of reading. This system encourages the children to look at reading through a wide variety of ‘lenses’ to help understand different aspects of texts, their purpose and the impact on the reader. In Key Stage 2, the lenses form the structure of our class reading sessions; here the children develop their independence and their collaborative skills to find specific evidence from texts and share this with their group and the class.
We firmly believe that sharing books as a class is a fundamental aspect in developing children’s passion for reading and every class has a class novel which all pupils enjoy listening to and discussing. Children also have the opportunity to visit our well-stocked library and borrow books on a regular basis.
We use the Read, Write, Inc. scheme for delivering our spelling curriculum. This is introduced in Year 2 once the children have the required knowledge in order for them to understand the alphabetic code.
For those children who are not yet ready, then continued focus on phonics is essential to give them the skills needed to progress in their learning.
RWI spelling is designed for all children to access throughout Key Stage 2 and systematically builds upon good phonic knowledge in order to spell words and patterns of growing complexity.
The short, daily sessions engage and inspire children through a variety of fast-paced activities, which embed understanding of key spelling patterns to long-term memory through regular and repeated revision. Children do not receive weekly spelling lists to learn from this for homework but will have access to the common exception word lists as exemplified in: National Curriculum – English Appendix 1: Spelling.
At Marie Weller, we aim to ensure that all children leave us with the ability to confidently write at length across a range of genres, with a solid understanding of the grammatical skills required, in order to be clear and coherent in what they want to say.
We have adopted the Read, Write, Inc. scheme for handwriting in Early Years and Key Stage 1 to provide a consistent and systematic approach to the fundamental skills needed for children to become confident writers.
This scheme enables children to develop their automaticity in formation, orientation and placement of letters, which frees up space in their working memory.
Children who are able to write legibly, with fluency and at pace, can focus on the content of what is written and are more likely to develop into creative, imaginative writers.
Our children will write across a wide range of genres throughout their time at Marie Weller. High quality stimuli are integral to engage and inspire children to write for a variety of purposes and audiences.
Extracts from modern and classic novels, poems and non-fiction texts along with video clips constitute a large part of these, however where possible we encourage the use of drama, music and first-hand experiences from trips and visitors to give writing a clear purpose for our children.
As part of our curriculum offer, we ensure that our children are exposed to a diverse range of writing from many different cultures that broaden their understanding of the world that is both around them, and that lies ahead.
Key grammar skills are explicitly taught, and understanding is embedded throughout our writing curriculum.
In Key Stage 1, children are taught the basic skills to construct clear and accurate sentences to ensure they enter Key Stage 2 being able to access the rich curriculum before them. Throughout Key Stage 2, grammar skills are systematically taught and subsequently revisited to enable children to become confident in their use and manipulation.
Speaking and Listening
All subjects across our curriculum play a significant role in developing key English skills, particularly speaking and listening.
Other subjects are planned with an emphasis on building vocabulary progressively and understanding its meaning and application in context.
We draw on the themes of our curriculum intent to provide pupils with opportunities to engage directly with our local and wider communities. For example, presenting at community events; planning and leading local initiatives in addition to interacting and interviewing a wide range of visitors to our school.
Each year the English curriculum enrichment includes visiting authors, attendance at the film festival, theatre visits, topic specific trips, Young Shakespeare Company visits, house writing and poetry competitions, children’s participation in drama and choir productions – all of which present creative opportunities to build the character and confidence within our pupils.