English Schemes and Curriculum

Speaking and Listening

We recognise the value of high quality oracy both within and outside the classroom from a very young age. Children are given ample opportunities to express themselves and are exposed to high-quality, modelled spoken English. 

Teachers ensure the continual development of pupil’s confidence and competence in spoken language and listening skills by giving opportunities to improvise, devise and script drama, debate, prepare and present ideas.  

Children are regularly encouraged to improve their fluency by reading aloud to peers as well as whole-class. 

Reading

Learning to read and developing a love of reading is embedded in all we do at St. Joseph’s. We know that word reading and comprehension are fundamental to all other learning.

Early Reading (EYFS & Year 1): Phonics is emphasised in the early teaching of reading and is explicitly taught through the implementation of Floppy’s Phonics – a Government approved systematic, synthetic phonics scheme. During the daily phonics session, the children are taught aural discrimination, phonemic awareness, rhyme awareness, segmentation and blending as well as to read and write all 44 graphemes in the English language.

VIPERS (Year 2 upwards): Once fluency and decoding is secured, comprehension skills are developed through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with their teachers and exposure to a wide range of high-quality stories, poems and non-fictions. The choice of texts in our Guided Reading sessions have been carefully chosen to extend and increase a pupils’ vocabulary as well as gaining knowledge across the curriculum. Guided Reading follows the VIPERS format: Vocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Explanation, Retrieval and Sequencing/Summarising. These skills are taught explicitly through challenging class texts. Visual literacy is also used in these lessons.

Appreciation and love of reading: From their first experiences in school, pupils are actively involved in story times, library visits and book celebrations such as World Book Week and theatre visits/visitors. Each class has a carefully-selected, current focus author to allow exposure to new and exciting texts. Timetabled storytime happen in all year groups as a further opportunity for children to come across words they would otherwise not hear or use as well as feeding their imaginations.

Library lessons: Each class has one library visit a week. These sessions are to promote and foster a love of reading and to encourage free choice of books based on each child’s interests.

Benchmarking: All children from Year 2 upwards are benchmarked three times a year (September, January, April). They are then placed on a coloured-bandband based on their comprehension skills. We use the banding from Oxford Reading Tree scheme. and compliment it with appropriately-matched books.

Reading at home: Levelled reading books are sent home every Monday. Parents are expected to listen to their child daily and this is monitored through the use of reading records which are returned weekly.

Recommended Reads for Year Groups

There is something so magical about walking into a book shop or library and marvelling at all the different worlds you can encounter within those pages. But, sometimes, it’s so overwhelming too! If you’re stuck on what to read next or are keen to discover a new and exciting author, have a look at these recommended reads.

Each class has termly focus authors too – these authors tend to have a catalogue of books for your child to explore so keep an eye out on your class’s Teams page to find out more. Children get to hear stories by their class’s focus authors during storytime.

If you uncover any books or authors to add, please do let your class teacher know so we can add to these book lists.

(Once you’ve finished reading anything from this list or books by authors included on this list, please consider donating it to our library so that others can also experience the magic.)

Early Reading: Phonics – Oxford Reading Tree Floppy’s Phonics

Oxford Reading Tree’s Floppy Phonics is a rigorous and systematic synthetic phonics programme.

Pupils in our Reception and Year 1 classes have daily phonics lessons which follow this structured approach.

Pupils are given regular opportunities to practice their reading through fully-decodable texts that are matched to their phonic knowledge

The key features of systematic (or synthetic) approach to teaching phonics are:

  • The explicit and systematic teaching of the alphabetic code
  • A focus on teaching the three core skills of blending for reading, segmenting for spelling, and handwriting
  • Putting the alphabetic code knowledge taught to date and the three core skills to immediate use with cumulative, decodable words, sentences and texts.

Reading is consolidated by books and activities used in the rest of the curriculum.

Phonics – Floppy Phonics

We use the DfE’s recommended programme: Floppy Phonics in school. This programme is extended using a variety of resources.  The sessions are integrated into our ‘English Hour’ and are rigorously structured and taught in an engaging way, taking the children through a sequence  of phonic development.

The key features of this systematic (or synthetic) approach to teaching phonics are:

  • grapheme/phoneme (letter/sound) correspondences (the alphabetic principle) in a clearly defined incremental sequence.
  • to apply the highly important skill of blending (synthesising) phonemes in order, all through a word, to read it.
  • to apply the skills of segmenting words into their constituent phonemes to spell, that blending and segmenting are reversible processes.

Reading is consolidated by books and activities used in the rest of the curriculum. Boxes of banded reading resources are available in every class and children are encouraged to choose books from both class and school library.

 A video showing how each letter is pronounced

Writing

Writing is an integral part of every pupils’ learning. From the earliest experiences, pupils have regular opportunities to write for a range of genres and across the curriculum. Pupils are actively encouraged to articulate ideas and structure them in speech, before writing.

Early Writing in EYFS: From their first experiences at school, pupils are taught to write recognisable letters, spell words phonetically and, when ready, write simple phrases and sentence that can be read by others.

The Write Stuff: As a school, we follow The Write Stuff by Jane Considine. The Write Stuff is based on two guiding principles: teaching sequence that slide between experience days and sentence stacking lessons. With modelling at the heart of them, the sentence stacking lessons are broken into bite-sized chunks with a heavy-emphasis on vocabulary development. Teachers prepare children for writing by modelling the ideas, grammar or techniques of writing.

Spelling: Spelling is taught in a systematic way and spelling tests are an integral part of the development of correct spelling. Weekly spellings are given out in sets which either: revise previously visited spelling rules from lower year groups; practise a spelling rule linked to the year group’s statutory spellings or relate to a word, sentence or punctuation objective from the National Curriculum. Where necessary, children are given personalised spelling lists.

Handwriting: We have recently implemented the handwriting scheme ‘Kinetic Letters – Making hand-writing easy for everyone’.  Skills are practised daily and is modelled from Reception onwards.

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