At St Minver School we intend to provide our pupils with opportunities to develop their spoken language, reading, writing and vocabulary through teaching English as a subject in its own right but also as an integral part of the teaching of every subject.
We intend to provide our pupils with a high-quality education in English which will teach them to speak and write fluently in order to communicate their ideas and emotions to others, and to read and listen competently so that others can communicate with them. We aim to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for both enjoyment and learning.
Spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing. The quality and variety of language that children hear and speak are vital for developing their vocabulary and grammar and their understanding for reading and writing. It is our intent to ensure the continual development of our children’s confidence and competence in speaking and listening, so that they can develop a capacity to explain their understanding, thoughts and ideas. We aim to do this by providing opportunities including:
- to listen and respond to adults and peers
- to ask relevant questions to extend their understanding
- to articulate and justify answers and opinions
- to give well-structured descriptions and explanations
- to speak audibly and fluently with an increasing command of Standard English
- to participate in discussions, presentations, performances and debates
- to consider and evaluate different viewpoints
At St Minver School we believe that all pupils should have the opportunity to become fluent, confident readers who are able to successfully comprehend and understand a wide range of texts. We want pupils to develop a love of reading, a good knowledge of a range of authors, and be able to understand more about the world in which they live through the knowledge they gain from texts. By the end of their time at our school, all children should be able to read fluently and with confidence, fully prepared for the next steps in their education.
At our school we use a variety of strategies to support the teaching of reading, as all learners are individual and therefore can require different approaches to secure their skills.
In Early Years and throughout Key Stage 1, children are exposed to a variety of books which are linked to their developing phonic knowledge. Children are also introduced to high frequency words to develop their sight vocabulary. Parents are guided by staff so that they can fully support early reading development. Daily phonics lessons are part of the EYFS and Key Stage 1 timetable, and they continue into Key Stage 2 for those children who are identified as not yet secure in their phonic knowledge. These children are identified through assessment including the Phonics Screening Check.
Throughout the school, children read regularly to teachers, teaching assistants and to volunteers. Staff identify vulnerable children who need additional support in reading by recognising them as priority readers, and these children are given extra opportunities on an individual basis. Independent reading books are taken home daily to support children at an individual level and are chosen to aid and challenge our pupils. Rather than relying on one reading scheme, we recognise that children have different interests and we have therefore ensured that we have an eclectic range of reading schemes available. Children are encouraged to read at home daily and parents are encouraged to write comments to create a log of their progress.
In addition to independent reading, all children from Year One onwards take part in whole-class guided reading. This provides pupils with further opportunities to explore challenging texts, discussing their themes and consolidating their skills.
Each class fosters a love of reading by having designated reading areas which children can access regularly. All classes visit our school library on a weekly basis, where they can choose from our stocks of fiction and non-fiction texts or our growing collection of magazines. In all classes, regular story-times provide further opportunities to immerse children in a range of carefully chosen quality texts.
By the time children leave St Minver School, they are enthusiastic readers who have a thirst for a range of genres. They can read books to enhance their knowledge and understanding of all subjects in the curriculum and can communicate their research to a wider audience.
Writing is fundamental and integral to our curriculum at St Minver School. It is our intent that St Minver children:
- develop the ability to express their thoughts and ideas clearly and creatively through the written word.
- compose, edit and improve their own writing.
- confidently use the essential skills of grammar, punctuation and spelling.
- write in a style which is fluent and legible.
- write clearly and accurately and adapt their language and style for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.
- acquire a wide vocabulary and have a strong command of the written word.
- develop a love of writing and be well equipped for the rest of their education.
We recognise that reading is fundamental to the writing process, and that children write successfully when they have a full understanding of the features of specific genres. Throughout the school, we choose quality texts to support our curriculum and these texts are used as a stimulus for writing. We teach and model continually so that children can write clearly and accurately, adapting their language and style for a range of contexts. We use the VCOP targets to develop writing skills, covering vocabulary, conjunctions, openers and punctuation.
We place a strong emphasis on presentation and handwriting, teaching letter formation from EYFS and aiming for all children to write in a cursive style by the end of Key Stage 1. In Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar sessions, the children learn key objectives and skills and are then provided with further opportunities during their wider curriculum to embed their new learning. Weekly spellings are progressive throughout the school and focus on the spelling strategies that are required for each year group. A look, cover, write, check approach is used and actively promoted.