English at Lowton West
'Aiming High Together'
The teaching of English at Lowton West ensures that pupils can write and speak fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and, through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Lessons in English equip pupils with a strong command of the written and spoken word.
Teachers at Lowton West understand the importance of spoken language and how this underpins the development of reading and writing. Opportunities to develop pupils’ confidence and competence in spoken language and listening are provided continually in order for pupils to acquire these skills.
Phonics at Lowton West
Phonetic knowledge is developed through structured daily lessons in Reception and KS1 which allows children to apply their phonic knowledge and skills as the route to decode words.
Key Stage One pupils participate in a daily structured Synthetic Phonics lesson. As a school we follow the Letters and Sounds approach where the knowledge and acquisition of sounds are broken into six phases. By the end of Key Stage One, pupils who have not achieved all aspects of the six phases and require additional phonic support will continue to receive phonic intervention work upon entering Year 3. This support is continued in KS2 through specific programmes of work such as Read, Write Inc and Sounds Write.
Letters and Sounds:
Aspect 1 - Environmental Sounds
Aspect 2 - Instrumental Sounds
Aspect 3 - Body Percussion
Aspect 4 - Rhythm and Rhyme
Aspect 5 - Alliteration
Aspect 6 - Voice Sounds
Aspect 7 - Orally Blending and Segmenting
Within Phase One, children will explore a range of different sounds within words and will learn to differentiate between these. Within Aspect 7 children will learn to hear the individual sounds that are used within a word, for example, c-a-t makes cat. They will segment the individual sounds within the words and blend them back together to read the word as a whole. It is important that children can confidently orally blend and segment the sounds within words before they are introduced to the letters which represent these sounds within Phase Two.
Within this phase, children will learn at least 19 letters. This phase will move children on from oral blending and segmentation to blending and segmenting with letters.
The purpose of this phase to teach the next 25 graphemes (letters) most of which comprise of 2 letters (sh, ng etc.)
No new letter sounds are taught within this phase. The purpose of this phase is to consolidate children's knowledge of graphemes when reading and spelling words. Children will practise reading and writing a range of words -
CVC words - cat, log, moon (words with 3 sounds)
CVCC words - tent, lamp, bolt (words with 4 sounds)
CCVC words - snail, brick, spoon (words with 4 sounds)
It is expected that most children will have completed letters and Sounds up to Phase 3 or 4 ready to enter Year 1.
Throughout Year 1 pupils continue the Letters and Sounds programme of work through:
- Teaching further graphemes for reading
- Teaching alternative pronunciations for graphemes
- Practising reading a range of high frequency words, 2/3 syllable words and sentences
- Teaching alternative spellings for phonemes (sounds within words eg - ai, a_e, ay)
- Practising spelling a range of high frequency words, 2/3 syllable words and writing sentences
Throughout Year 2 pupils continue the Letters and Sounds programme of work through:
- Teaching how to spell words in the past tense
- Learning how to add suffixes
- Spelling long words
- Finding and learning the difficult bits within words
- Learning and practising spellings
Throughout this phase pupils become fluent and accurate readers. Within this phase pupils are expected to de-code words quickly and silently because their sounding and blending routine is now well established.
Reading at Lowton West
At Lowton West we want every child to leave school in Year Six a confident reader, with the skills to read fluently, accurately and with a good understanding when reading across a wide range of contexts throughout the curriculum.
The teaching of reading consists of two dimensions: word reading and comprehension. As a school we endeavour to create a love for reading and know that the benefits of being able to read to a high standard is one of the most important things in a child’s life.
We aim to create and inspire readers who:
- Have an excellent phonic knowledge and skills.
- Have an extensive and rich vocabulary.
- Demonstrate an excellent comprehension of texts.
- Love reading for pleasure and discuss a range of authors and different text types.
- Enjoy using books for research and study.
- Build up core knowledge through having read a rich and varied range of texts.
When children enter Reception at Lowton West, they will be exposed to a love of reading, sharing a wide range of literature, stories and picture books. In KS1 pupils continue their reading journey using a range of books taken from the Oxford Reading Tree Scheme, including the Floppy Phonics series, and Dandelion Readers series. Members of staff regularly assess pupils’ progression in reading using the PM Benchmark assessment materials. This ensures pupils’ reading abilities are matched appropriately to our school reading scheme. This is then complimented with pupils frequently accessing our school library and within our Guided Reading sessions, where teachers select books and reading materials which are banded according to reading ability. All books in the school reading scheme (which incorporates fiction, poetry and non-fiction texts) are colour coded to denote different stages of reading and help children to develop their reading skills. It allows pupils to select and choose reading books and access books within the school library independently.
As they develop as confident readers, children develop comprehension skills through shared reading, class novels and guided reading sessions. This allows children to draw inferences from reading; predict details about what may happen in the text; question and retrieve information from a range of different text types and summarise the key events of what they have read.
Children requiring additional support to develop their phonic knowledge may also access books from the Read Write Inc resources.
In KS2 pupils may continue to follow the Oxford Reading Tree Scheme, including the Project X series. It is a very exciting and high impact scheme that addresses issues such as: phonics, comprehension, developing talk alongside early reading and writing interventions. Pupils can also access a wide range of colour banded reading books in the school library, which continues to promote a love of reading and reading for enjoyment.
By the time children leave Lowton West we aim for them to be competent readers who can recommend books to their peers, have a thirst for reading a range of genres including poetry and participate in discussion about books including evaluating an author’s use of langue and the impact this can have on the reader.
Writing at Lowton West
At Lowton West we want every child to leave us in Year Six with the skills of an excellent writer. We provide a language rich environment that promotes a culture of writing, stimulating the generation of ideas where all ideas are accepted and valued. We strive to develop in pupils a love of books and an enthusiasm for writing that will not only support their learning across the curriculum but also enrich their lives.
We aim to create and inspire writers who:
- Can structure and organise their writing to suit the genre they are writing in, which includes a variety of sentence structures.
- Have the ability to write with fluency and have an author’s voice.
- Think about the impact they want their writing to have on the reader and know how they will achieve this.
- Have a sophisticated bank of vocabulary and an excellent knowledge of writing techniques to extend details or description.
- Display excellent transcription skills that ensure their writing is well presented, punctuated, spelled correctly and neat.
- Re-read, edit and improve their writing so every piece of writing they produce is the best of their ability and better than the last.
We develop these skills by exposing our children to a range of genres throughout their time at Lowton West. It is important to note that we not only develop a love of writing in Literacy sessions, but in all subjects across the curriculum and we expect the highest standards of writing every time a child writes in any subject.
Some of the genres the children will experience are listed below:
Adventure – Mystery – Science Fiction – Fantasy – Historical fiction – Contemporary fiction – Dilemma Stories – Dialogue – Myths - Legends - Fairy tales - Fables - Traditional tales.
Free verse – Visual poems – Structured poems
Discussion texts – Explanatory texts – Instructional texts – Persuasion texts – Non-chronological reports – Recounts – Reviews.
The Writing Journey at Lowton West
The writing journey begins in Reception with the children exploring a range of mark making opportunities where their 'emergent writing' can be seen in a variety of play based contexts. You will see their writing develop from a series of 'scribbles' to an attempt at individual symbols which may contain known letters or numbers (which may not yet be correctly formed). As their knowledge of phonics grows they will begin to write the sounds they hear within words before breaking the strings of letters into recognisable chunks with spaces between.
In Key Stage One, the children are beginning to develop their writing skills further. Letters are correctly formed and to a consistent size. A cursive handwriting style is introduced in Year 1, when children are ready to learn and are forming letters accurately.
Sentences are usually demarcated with capital letters and full stops and children are beginning to experiment with more advanced punctuation such as question and exclamation marks.
The children are beginning to choose words for effect and using interesting words to engage the reader.
Spellings are becoming increasingly more accurate, drawing on word recognition and knowledge of word structure, and spelling patterns.
Children in Key Stage One are developing their writing skills to plan, draft and write simple stories, instructions, chronological and non-chronological reports with a clear written structure.
In Key Stage Two, writing is becoming more sophisticated with the children able to plan, draft and edit a wide range of writing genres.
Handwriting is joined, fluent and consistent.
Spelling has developed with the children being able to spell common misspelt words, to distinguish between homophones which are often confused combined with the spellings of some words which need to be learned specifically
Pupils explore a range of sentence types and develop skills in using complex sentences with complex punctuation such a commas, brackets, colons and hyphens.
The teaching of writing will take on many forms, including demonstration/ teacher modelling, shared writing, guided writing and independent writing. Pupils build up a ‘toolkit’ of writing skills and techniques which they can then explore and apply to a wide range of genres and purposes for writing. Specific skills in spelling, handwriting, punctuation and grammar may be taught discretely and then pupils are encouraged to apply and develop these further during writing activities. Cohesion is evident through the use of structural and presentational devices within and across paragraphs.
From Year One upwards, pupils develop a range of Literacy skills in their Writing Tool Kit books. Here, they will explore, practise and develop skills in reading comprehension, word level and sentence level work, spellings and grammar and develop writing plans and ideas. They will use these tool kits to plan, draft and edit pieces of writing in preparation for writing a final draft in their Writing Books. The pupils will cover a range of writing genres throughout the year and will have the opportunity to revisit and improve their writing, presenting final versions in their writing books at regular intervals during the school year. These independent pieces of written work help inform teacher assessments throughout the year.