At St Paul’s we are very passionate about our English curriculum. We believe that an engagement with reading and writing is the window to a successful individual. Throughout all activities, we ensure that the children have the opportunity to develop and practise their basic skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening. Each phase has their own wider curriculum theme which gives children opportunities to use their Literacy skills in other areas of the curriculum. This thematic approach enables the children to express themselves creatively and imaginatively and communicate effectively with others, whilst ensuring pupils are exposed to a wide range of high quality texts.
Early Literacy Development
Right from the outset at St Paul’s, pupils are taught to read and write using phonics. Phonics is a method for teaching reading and writing the English language by developing the ability to hear, identify, and use letter sounds in order. Children are taught all of the letter sounds and use these to segment for spelling and blend together for reading. They are also taught to write simple sentences and are introduced to basic punctuation. At St Paul’s we follow the Sounds Write Phonics Scheme. This scheme allows children to learn initial sounds, segment and blend these sounds in order to read words. We also highlight the importance for children to read ‘alien words’. These are words that are not real, but test the childrens’ ability to segment and blend sounds to read a whole word.
Here at St Paul’s we use a ‘Talk for Writing’ approach in order to develop our pupils writing skills. In Literacy lessons, children are taught how to write a wide range of non-fiction texts as well as narratives, poetry and drama. We aim to teach one fiction, one non-fiction and one poetry unit each half term. These genres are linked to our wider curriculum theme, therefore completely immersing pupils within a certain topic. We believe this gives our pupils the skills required to become successful writers. Each lesson involves oracy development – it is vital that our pupils are able to orally explain their ideas to enable them to successfully record and write ideas down.
Our Talk for Writing approach follows a three part process. Imitate, Innovate and Invent. Each stage is designed to ensure pupils are equipped with the right tools to eventually write their own independent piece of writing (the invent stage).
Our Literacy lessons often begin with a model text, pupils are encouraged to story map and rehearse the features of this text before beginning to write their own pieces of writing. Children pick out the key features of the text and discuss their use and importance.
In this section we look at twisting the model text and creating a class version of the text. This section involves a lot of shared writing, partner work and peer evaluation in order to ensure pupils understand the structure of the text type they are writing. It also gives pupils lots of opportunity to think of their own ideas and magpie fantastic vocabulary.
In the final stage of Literacy, pupils are able to independently write their own version of the model text. Pupils may decide to change a wide variety of elements from the model text, or if they are less confident with a certain genre, tweak smaller parts of the text to make it their own. Pupils are given ample opportunities to edit and improve their work – ultimately working to get their best work into their writing portfolios.
Writing portfolios give pupils an opportunity to ‘publish’ and display their best pieces of writing. Pupils are given the opportunity to publish their writing if they believe it is their best work.
Pupils are also given the opportunity to publish and showcase their writing once each term. At St Paul’s we have a ‘Writing Showcase’ each term (Autumn, Spring and Summer), where the whole school focuses on one writing stimuli. Pupils plan, write and improve their chosen genre, before publishing their final piece in their writing portfolio. Pupils then move around the school, engaging and evaluating other pupils’ work – a ‘best writer’ is then chosen from each class. Writing winners are chosen based on a variety of factors i.e. style, vocabulary, engagement with stimuli, technical features, engaging an audience.
Coverage and Curriculum:
To find out what your child will be covering and learning about in our English lessons, please see the overview documents below.
We believe that reading is the key to success across the curriculum. The teaching of reading and developing a love of literature starts in the very first days of joining St Paul's.
Daily opportunities are provided for pupils to read across the curriculum. We develop a love of reading across fiction, poetry and non-fiction.
For further information about the teaching of reading at St Paul's, click here.