At Roecroft Lower School English sits at the heart of our curriculum. We believe all children should be given every opportunity to develop their reading, writing, and speaking and listening skills. We offer an engaging, progressive curriculum from the moment children start in the early years until they leave us in Year 4 and promote the use of English skills across all areas of our curriculum. Our purpose is to enable children to:
• Read with enjoyment and for a variety of reasons.
• Write for different purposes in an appropriate style using spelling, punctuation and syntax accurately and confidently.
• Communicate effectively.
• Develop accurate listening skills
Consequently, this allows children to achieve their full potential not just in English lessons but across all curriculum subjects and feel better equipped to access the curriculum as it becomes more challenging and rapid in the next stage of their education.
For further details of what your child is learning each term in English please see our 2019/20 English Curriculum Map.
Phonics is a systematic way of teaching children how to read and write by developing their phonemic awareness – the ability to hear, identify and manipulate different sounds used in the English language. Children learn the correspondence between sounds and graphemes that represent them in order to become successful readers and writers. At Roecroft, we teach phonics in daily sessions using the Read Write Inc. phonics programme.
We teach spelling from Year 2 to Year 4 using the Read Write Inc. spelling programme. In daily sessions, children build their knowledge of word families, prefixes and suffixes, common exception words and spelling rules. Spelling homework is sent home each week during term time and children are tested weekly.
Spelling is embedded in all lessons, reinforced using focused activities in English lessons and teachers promote accurate spelling across the curriculum. This enables all children to have confidence in expressing themselves when writing by the time they leave us in Year 4.
In each year, children are expected to learn to read and spell common exception words (also known as red words). These words contain graphemes which have not yet been taught, but are words that the children frequently use in their writing. These can be found below if you would like to practise with your child:Year 1 Common Exception Word List
Year 2 Common Exception Word List
Year 3 & 4 Common Exception Word List
In all year groups, we teach writing through high-quality example texts – ranging from wordless picture books to chapter books. Children are given the opportunity to write for a range of different purposes through extended writing sessions called Big Write. These sessions improve children’s writing stamina and independence. Over their time at school, children will write a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts, including recounts, news reports, poems, plays and stories of all kinds.
Prior to writing, children develop their understanding and vocabulary through drama, storytelling and discussion. They learn about grammar, features of different text types and punctuation before planning their own piece of writing. Then as children develop as writers, they have further opportunities to edit and evaluate their writing, improving their vocabulary, grammar or spelling choices.
Reading is a fundamental part of our English teaching. We believe children should be given every opportunity possible to develop their reading skills. We strive to ensure every child develops a love of reading and becomes an independent and confident reader.
Children are taught to read in a variety of ways. In the Early Years Foundation Stage, children develop their reading skills through daily phonics sessions, 1:1 reading and independent reading activities. In Key Stage 1 and 2, children develop their reading fluency and comprehension in English lessons, a weekly shared comprehension lesson, 1:1 reading and across the curriculum in other lessons. By the end of Key Stage 2 children regularly read independently for a sustained period.
We believe in exposing children to a wide variety of different texts. Every day, teachers read aloud to their classes a text which the children wouldn’t be able to access independently. They model expression, tone, intonation and key comprehension strategies. Children also regularly have the opportunity to choose a fiction or non-fiction book from our school library that they can then read independently or share with others in their class.
We believe parental involvement is key to developing a child’s confidence and enjoyment of reading. During term time, children take home books from our phonics-based reading scheme to share at home. Our reading scheme offers a range of different texts at each level including non-fiction, poetry and stories of all types.
For further information of how to support your children with their reading comprehension at home please see our guides below:
At Roecroft, handwriting is taught as a separate discrete lesson as well as through daily phonics and accurate modelling by teachers across the curriculum. Every term, we run a handwriting competition where children’s achievements in handwriting are celebrated. Children in years 2-4 also have the opportunity to earn a pen license when they reach the expected standard for their year group.
As part of the National Curriculum, children are expected to develop an explicit knowledge of grammar allowing them to make conscious and controlled choices as both speakers and writers. We believe the most effective way to teach grammar is through reading, speaking and exploring its use within writing. The following guides detail the grammar which will be introduced in each year group and can be used to support your child at home.