“It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be” - J.K. Rowling
English is at the heart of the whole curriculum at King Charles and develops pupils' key skills in speaking, listening, reading and writing through strong links to our thematic topics .
Pupils are taught in Early Years and Key Stage One to read using a phonics programme called Read Write Inc (RWI). This allows them to develop word building and decoding skills, becoming confident readers and enthusiastic and talented writers. With this as a foundation, children are then introduced to a wide range of texts –through an 'End Goal' approach to units of work.
Reading is a key development area for our school. We aim to provide stimulating and engaging texts which cover a range of fiction and non-fiction genres. Our love of reading is clear to see when walking through our King Charles II themed fiction library to see pupils changing books, discussing their favourites authors and reading quietly for pleasure.
Guided reading takes place daily with a clear focus on skill and knowledge development through a Reciprocal Reading approach. Extracts of high quality texts with challenging vocabulary form the basis of these sessions with systematic skill progression. A typical week will involve the following activities;
Day 1: Teacher led skill development focusing on a particular reading objective.
Day 2: Independent practise of the skill taught on day 1.
Day 3: Reciprocal reading session with teacher.
Day 4: Reading comprehension activity linked to Day 3.
Day 5: Bug Club interactive comprehension.
Children are then able to apply these skills to the vast range of books in our library that are linked to our online Accelerated Reader Programme where children are set ability appropriate quizzes to show their understanding of what they have read in a fun, engaging way.
Pupils also use these skills when interrogating good examples of writing linked to their topic so that they have the opportunities to gain knowledge and understanding of all subject areas within our curriculum.
Parental engagement and support is essential to pupils making progress in reading. For this reason we provide the following to allow parents and children to enjoy reading together at home;
- Parents workshops for every year group on how best to support with reading at home including how to question children.
- Home reading books and reading records which are checked and changed weekly.
- Library books that pupils take home and can change weekly.
- Bug Club: our online, interactive reading comprehension platform.
Pupils' understanding of the skills they are developing daily and how these build into a bigger picture to enable them to write for specific audiences and purposes is essential to them developing as writers. For this reason, all of our writing genres start with a 'delivery day' that sets the children a task based around a text linked to their thematic topic.
For example, when pupils are learning about The Egyptians in Year 4, their End Goal is to produce a diary from the viewpoint of Howard Carter for display in The British Museum in London. The pupils then begin their learning journey by interrogating good examples of diary extracts to identify structural, word and sentence level features of the text and the impact of using these on the reader. This is known as Phase 1. Once the children know what is needed to produce a good quality diary entry, they are given time to practise using these features in a range of ways and combine them so that they are confident in constructing effective sentences. This is Phase 2. Phase 3 begins when the pupils are ready to apply all of the knowledge and skills of using the features of a personal recount to draft their diary entry from the viewpoint of Howard Carter. They are taught to edit their work and justify their choices of language and sentence construction before producing a final draft which is in the form of the task set at the start of their learning journey.
As a result, our pupils produce high quality, extended pieces of writing that are fit for audience and purpose and are celebrated across the whole school community.
Speaking and Listening
Being able to communicate effectively is essential to all development and particularly for English. For this reason we provide a wide range of opportunities for talk throughout our curriculum. Every class has visit co-ordinators who welcome guests and other adults into their class and share their 'End Goals', learning journeys, targets and achievements with confidence and pride. pupils present their final pieces of work in a range of ways, for example performing a presentation on Darwin, or presenting their balanced discussion about Oliver Cromwell to parliament. Pupils use their work as a basis for developing key skills that will enable them to be confident speakers who communicate effectively and who listen intently. Click on the link to see some of the examples of how our pupils use their speaking and listening skills across the curriculum.