Our Vision for English
The Bishop Martin English curriculum is built around the National Curriculum, enriched to reflect our children and our local community.
The overarching aim for English is to promote the high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment, drawing upon the wider curriculum. This, in turn, helps build a rich curriculum where intent and implementation leads to the impact and improved outcomes for children.
As part of the English curriculum, children develop their skills in Speaking and Listening, Reading and Writing, which also includes spelling and handwriting. English is taught explicitly through daily lessons and is built upon throughout the wider curriculum. In addition, we have 20-minute daily whole class reading sessions (Read, Enjoy and Discover) which focus on teaching the key reading skills linked to the content domain areas.
Read to Write - Class Readers
At Bishop Martin, we work hard to make sure that children have a love of books and literature and we're very proud that so many of our children enjoy reading. Each class, from EYFS to Year 6, will study a different class text each half-term and this is supported by the Read to Write programme. Thes high-quality texts are used throughout our English lessons and, where possible, link to other curriculum areas.
Read to Write (Literacy Counts) provides high-quality teaching of writing through high-quality literature. From Reception to Year 6, these detailed units of work centre on engaging, vocabulary-rich texts, with a wealth of writing opportunities within and across the curriculum. They also provide clear, sequential episodes of learning; contextualised spelling, grammar and punctuation; wider reading for the wider curriculum; curriculum enrichments for all year groups; model texts linked to writing outcomes and a wealth of supporting resources. Our current class texts are:
Reception – Star in a Jar by Sam Hay
Year 1 - The Secret of Black Rock by Joe Todd Stantdon
Year 2 - A River by Marc Martin
Year 3 - Return by Aaron Becker
Year 4 – The Whale by Vita Murrow
Year 5 - Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen Lavine
Year 6 - Hansel and Gretl by Neil Gaiman
Home Reading Books
Children from Year 2 to Year 6 read books linked to the Accelerated Reader programme as their home reader. Each book has been carefully selected for individual understanding of reading comprehension. This is based on an initial reading assessment children complete at the beginning of each term, via the Accelerated Reader website (Star Reading assessment).
If children are on a banded reading scheme (including EYFS and Year 1) they take home 2 reading books each week and are encouraged to read the book a few times (depending on the length of the book). They will then change their book when instructed by an adult in school. Children are to bring these books in everyday so they can read their book to an adult if necessary or read if directed by a teacher.
Reading Reward Scheme
In order to motivate children to read at home, we have a reading reward scheme. If a child has read 5 times out of 7 in one week (to an adult at home) and has had their reading record signed, they receive a sticker. They collect stickers in order to achieve certain rewards:
10 stickers = Bronze certificate
20 stickers = Silver certificate
30 stickers = Gold certificate
Some children achieve above these rewards and receive Platinum and Diamond awards. These certificates are presented to the children in praise worship. Children who receive Gold and above are also rewarded with a special trip during the summer term. Please see the attached ‘Reading Record Comments and Questions’ document for further guidance.
Early Reading and Phonics
We believe that high quality teaching of phonics is the key to developing independent readers and this is given the highest priority. We want ‘every child to be a reader’ and we implement a rigorous and sequential approach to developing speaking and listening and teaching reading, writing and spelling through systematic phonics.
Phonics is taught daily as a discrete lesson and we use Letters and Sounds as a core scheme to teach synthetic phonics which is multi-sensory, exciting and engaging. During the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 children develop their phonic knowledge and skills and apply these in both reading and spelling. As developing readers, children are encouraged to use a wider range of strategies to aid decoding of text and to enhance their understanding of material across a range of genre. The reading scheme used for KS1 includes a variety of texts which are banded at an appropriate level.
Phonics Play is a website packed with interactive phonics games and many different resources to help your child use their phonics skills in reading.
In order to ensure coverage of the statutory requirements for the National Curriculum, we follow the Babcock LPD Primary ‘No Nonsense Spelling’ spelling programme. In conjunction with this document, we use the Spelling BAM resources to support the relevant spelling rules for each year group.
Children take home spellings which apply to the spelling rule they have been learning in school. There are weekly tests to assess the progress that children are making towards these spellings. It is the teacher’s judgement on how long a class spends on a spelling rule and how many spellings they take home to learn.