English allows children to learn and grow independently and is therefore empowering. We ensure that we teach core skills and provide a rich, meaningful and engaging learning environment. We strive to inspire a love and appreciation of English and ensure that every child becomes a competent reader and writer.
At Onslow Infant School, we believe that English is the gateway to learning across all areas of the curriculum and subsequently the wider world. It is therefore our intent to ensure that the teaching of English is enjoyable, motivating and challenging. Children will embark on an exciting journey that supports and develops their speaking, listening, reading and writing skills. The children will become confident speakers who initiate and engage in discussions with others. We will ensure new knowledge and skills taught build on previous knowledge and that their success builds on previous success. We will equip children with the necessary skills required to become capable and confident readers, thus providing a lifelong love of reading and literature. By immersing the children in a rich variety of texts, we will evoke their imagination and develop their vocabulary. This will inspire them to write clearly and accurately for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. By developing children’s reading and writing we aim to prepare them for lifelong learning.
These aims are embedded across our English lessons and the wider curriculum. We have an inspiring and well organised English curriculum that provides many purposeful opportunities for reading, comprehension, writing, speaking and listening and grammar. We promote the use of talk to develop writing skills as well as speaking and listening. We use ‘talk for writing’ to learn and re-tell stories and children use this to plan their sentences before writing. Pupils are immersed into a range of fiction and non-fiction texts and through engaging lessons they are equipped with the skills to write for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.
In addition to English lessons, children excel in early reading through the teaching of phonics. Phonics and spelling rules are taught systematically throughout Early Years and Key Stage One. At Onslow Infant School, we teach reading through Read, Write Inc. Phonics and children participate in daily phonic sessions. This complete systematic synthetic programme provides structure and support for children in Reception and Key Stage 1 to become fluent and confident readers. Children learn to read sounds and blend them into words. They apply this phonic knowledge to read and comprehend storybooks that are carefully matched to the sounds they know.
Children are encouraged to spell by using the sounds they have learnt. Children are taught in homogeneous groups across KS1 and children who need additional support are identified to receive appropriate interventions to ensure they reach their full potential. Children's progress is tracked each half term.
When children are in Year 2, they take part in whole class guided reading lessons and children work with a reading partner to develop and expand on their ideas. They are encouraged to use a range of skills in these sessions, summarising texts, making predictions and inferences, investigating new and ambitious vocabulary, and to be inquisitive asking and answering questions. Children are provided with sentence stems to help them scaffold their ideas.
Once children have learned enough sounds to blend into words, they will read a RWI. Phonics storybook as part of their phonics sessions that is matched to their growing phonetical knowledge. They will take this book home and are encouraged to read frequently at home and all children are encouraged to re-read their books to develop fluency and comprehension. In addition to this, they will take home a reading for pleasure book. This is an Oxford Reading Tree book and parents/carers are encouraged to support their child reading this book.
Where children are reading below the expected level for their age, they will receive additional phonics tutoring and have extra reading sessions. Through our Reading Rockets scheme, we invite parents in from the local community to provide additional reading sessions for targeted children to help them create enjoyable and memorable reading experiences.
We aim to develop children’s English skills and inspire them to develop a love of reading and a knowledge of a variety of authors through story times. At Onslow Infant School, we have a core book list, where fiction and non-fiction texts are carefully chosen in advance for their literary value and content. We aim to choose books that:
· extend children's vocabulary
· have illustrations which are engaging and reflect children from all backgrounds and cultures
· help children connect with who they are
· help children to understand the lives of people whose experiences and perspectives may be different from their own
Throughout the school children are encouraged to choose books independently. Each classroom has its own designated and inviting reading area which includes a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books, some of which are linked to current class topics. In EYFS and KS1, children visit the school library to choose a book that they take home to enjoy reading for pleasure with their families.
Our aim is to develop a love of reading and children that read for enjoyment. Reading for pleasure is promoted in a variety of ways, including a weekly certificate for the ‘Reader of the Week’ in each class. Every year, we celebrate World Book Day and during Reading Week, children are encouraged to ‘Drop everything and Read’ and celebrate stories and books by different authors.
At Onslow Infant School, we use both formative and summative assessments to inform medium term and weekly planning. We ensure children have a solid foundation in both reading and writing by using our Building Blocks document to chart progress and identify specific gaps. This document is passed up during class transition so timely interventions can be put in place.
Progress in phonics is captured through half termly assessments. Every half term, the children take part in an independent write that is assessed against year group outcomes and discussed in termly internal moderation. Data is submitted via Tapestry and the progress of groups of learners is analysed.
Lesson observations, book scrutinies, learning walks and pupil and staff voice/ questionnaires are all used to monitor the teaching and learning of English across the school.
Please see 'Parents - Educational Information for Parents' for a video showing the formation of sounds or click on the link below.