English at Great Denham is taught through a mixture of discrete teaching sessions as well as through project work. English in our school is led by Mrs Winton and supported by Mrs Swanepoel and Miss Butler ( early reading and phonics).
Please click HERE to see the English Curriculum content
Phonics & Spelling
At our school we teach phonics and spelling using Sounds Write. This is embedded in our Phonics and Spelling programme which includes all national curriculum spelling objectives. It is a comprehensive programme that is taught from Reception to Year 6 with a multi-sensory approach. Daily sessions are taught to Reception through to Year 2, in ability groups so that objectives covered closely match the needs of all learners. In KS2, focus spelling sessions are taught to the children in class groups and where needed, further smaller support groups for phonics are taught. Sessions take the following format:
- Warm up ( revisit, explain, use)
- Teach (model, define, practise, explore, investigate)
- Review (apply, assess, reflect)
The Sounds Write app is used alongside Reading Eggs Phonics to support the learning of these skills.
Please click the link below to see how we teach Phonics at Great Denham.
Children have their own class libraries on book shelves in their classrooms. These books are carefully chosen for each year group and include a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry from a variety of genres, authors and interest areas. Top reads for each year group are available in the class libraries and celebrated in the children’s planners, where they can record those they have read. Rotation of these books between classes ensures variety and interest for all. We are passionate in representing each learner on the book shelf – so children feel represented in the books they enjoy. The class library books are shared with the children, celebrated and recommended between learners.
Children in Reception and Year 1 take home 2 phonics books linked to their focus sound and an additional library book. Those in Year 2 upwards still working on securing their phonological knowledge will take home 2 reading scheme books of the correct level for them. In addition to these, they will take a library book of their choice. As children become fluent readers, they are encouraged to read a range of novels, non-fiction and poetry books; alternating genres to ensure a varied reading diet. Accelerated Reader is used to ensure books chosen by the children, are of a suitable level to support and challenge their development. Quizzes are completed by the children on books they have read to enhance their comprehension skills. Children are taught the importance of vocabulary in the progression of their reading skills and are encouraged to record new vocabulary, alongside antonyms and synonyms for the word in their school planners.
All children in Reception read with their teacher at least once a week, and those in KS1 do so at least once fortnightly, alongside another small group reading session where necessary for those developing their phonological knowledge. Throughout the school (Year 1-6), reading objectives are taught through whole class reading sessions linked to a key text, which then links into the year group project. The reading sessions involve a range of reading fluency and comprehension, oral and written outcomes.
Writing is always woven into our learning journeys here at Great Denham Primary. Children share purposeful experiences and are immersed in their project through these and their classrooms. Writing outcomes are planned as an integral part to the journey, often in response to a hook or key text (book/film). This ensures writing has purpose and an audience - both of which are important for high quality writing. Within a project, writing outcomes are planned to ensure children are either writing to explain, inform, persuade or entertain. In doing so, they will complete fiction, non-fiction and poetry pieces to be proud of. The close link between their reading and project learning, enhances the quality of the writing outcomes and the children’s love to write.
Our curriculum grids for English are used to ensure coverage of all objectives within the reading and writing curriculum. Focus grammar and punctuation sessions are planned in, linked to the key text wherever possible to make the learning real and relevant to the children as writers. Key grammar, vocabulary and punctuation is enforced with agreed images and actions, consistently modelled by teachers and working walls throughout the school. This ensures a multi-sensory robust approach to children gaining the writing skills they need to meet age related expectations.
Children are encouraged to plan, draft and improve their writing through a process of ‘revising and editing’. These skills are taught separately to ensure children know the difference between improving their writing to ensure the purpose has been fully met and improving it by editing the mechanics of their writing, for example the spelling and punctuation. Model texts are used to enhance this process, showing the children what a good one looks like for their age group.
Children gain the experience of ‘react writing’ (short burst pieces) and ‘extended writing’ (longer pieces) whereby the key features/skills are taught prior to the piece. Revising and editing happens informally throughout or at the end of both ‘react writing’ and ‘extended pieces’. For those ‘extended pieces’ that are to be ‘published’ as an integral part of the learning journey, a more formal ‘revising and editing’ process will be completed. This will involve using a more formal rubric - where self, peer and teacher assessment can be recorded, before a re-write of part/all of the writing piece, before it is then ‘published’. Publishing work involves the process of making it high quality and the best it can be for a given audience. This encourages children to reach their full potential, see a purpose in writing and gain a real sense of achievement. Children’s writing is displayed and celebrated in the classrooms, as well as fulfilling its purpose – for example, letters sent off to a charity in response to a request for help or information leaflets being displayed in a museum.