English is an essential part of your childs' education at St Denys. We strive to make English fun by encouraging your child to become a confident speaker, reader and writer.
At St Denys we believe that English should be taught through topics which encourage the children to learn and develop English skills in exciting ways which stimulate minds and develop imagination and factual understanding.
English includes reading, writing, spelling, grammar and punctuation and speaking and listening. This also includes developing the children's phonetic knowledge which helps them to read, spell and write correctly.
How do we learn English at St Denys?
In the Foundation Stage English is integrated throughout the curriculum. The children experience English through child led, adult led and adult initiated activities. They learn about sounds, letter and words in a language rich environment in which they develop confidence in expressing themselves through reading, writing and phonics. They also have a wealth of opportunities to develop their speaking and listening skills in a range of situations.
In Reception the children read one to one and in small groups weekly.
In Reception writing is through topic work and is supported by a teacher, TA or LSA.
The children also learn letter formation through a handwriting lesson. Using the correct pencil grip and adopting a good seating position are essential when building good writers.
Speaking and listening
Speaking and listening is an integral part of the children's understanding and in Reception new learning is discussed in groups and each child is encouraged to contribute and add their ideas and questions. This adds a deeper understanding which enables children to learn new concepts well and apply them to their English work.
Phonics is taught daily and uses Jolly Phonics initially. As the children learn the Letters and Sounds phonic progression materials are used as a guide to delivering letter sounds, blends, digraphs and key words to the children's vocabulary. Learnt phonics is applied to the children's writing and as they become involved in their own learning their learning develops.
The children will then begin to apply their understanding of sounds to their reading and writing. As phonics progresses the children will be introduced to more digraphs where two letters make one sound and asked to use these new skills in other work. The children in Reception will concentrate on Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the Letters and Sounds phonic understanding. As the year moves on some children may also move onto Phase 4.
Key Stage 1 (Year 1 and Year 2)
In Key Stage 1 we continue to develop your childs' English skills through a range of well planned topic based and skills based activities. We incorperate different genres including work about traditional tales, stories from other cultures, letter writing, character descriptions, factual writing and poetry for example. Skills lessons may include using suffixes, capital letters and full stops, using commas for lists, speech marks or good use of question marks for example. As English has many layers each lesson often includes a variety of aspects within it. English at Key Stage 1 consists of; developing spoken language, improving spelling and its application, developing reading skills, developing a comprehension of what we read and answering questions about it; transcription or writing development, composition of a piece of writing, handwriting and presentation and developing a good understanding of how grammar, punctuation and vocabulary are effectively applied to our work.
A range of texts from a variety of publishers are use to develop reading in KS1 . The children read in ability groups with a main focus which helps to develop a good understanding of each text. Reading books progress through colour book bands.
In KS1 writing tasks are often topic based but can also be linked to key skills which we need to develop. Progress is accessed and next steps identified in order for progression to take place.
A weekly handwriting session ensures that the children in Key Stage 1 form and orient letters correctly. By practising the single letters, then capitals, words and eventually joins in Year 2 the children develop a neat handwriting style of their own.
Speaking and Listening
Class discussion, talking partners, circle time activities, games and drama activities all contribute to developing speaking and ensuring good listening is occuring at St Denys.
In Key Stage 1 we assess the children's phonic knowledge through mock tests, writing, reading and during phonic sessions. This gives us a starting point towards phonic lessons which build up understanding of sounds, words and letter names. Within each class there are a variety of children whose needs are different so we do work within the phases 2 to 6 to consolidate learning, apply phonic knowledge, introduce new phonic digraphs and trigraphs, silent letters, suffixes, prefixes and continue to build up a wealth of high frequency words and common exception words that the children use in their reading and writing too.
These will often be linked to phonic sounds learnt, high frequency words, common exception words or even topic words. There will be a weekly spelling test and new words to learn. Your child should be encouraged to learn their spellings using the look, cover, write , check method, putting their words into the context of a sentence whenever possible.