At Saint Joseph’s all children have a daily English lesson, and the skills of speaking and listening, reading and writing are given a high focus in all curriculum areas. We follow the 2014 National Curriculum for English.
Children are given regular opportunities to write at length, and are taught to plan, edit and reflect on their writing. Writing tasks are usually linked to high quality children’s books that are being read in class, but may also be a part of a cross-curricular activity. Children have opportunities to write letters, factual recounts, stories, poetry and much more!
Wherever possible, grammar, punctuation and spelling are taught in the context of the class book or topic. This way, children are able to apply the rule in a meaningful context straight away and are more likely to embed it, remembering it for future pieces of writing. In addition to this children may have weekly spelling lists and dedicated spelling sessions.
We aim to foster a love of reading in the children through exposure to many different authors and genres. All classes have access to a classroom book area as well as our school library, and Key Stage One make regular trips to John Harvard Library. We use the Letters and Sounds Programme for the teaching of phonics and in particular use PM colour banded books to support their learning. Children have many opportunities to read at school, either in a small, guided group or one to one with an adult. There are also a number of volunteers from local businesses who come into school to listen to and read with the children. In addition, we have a dedicated Reading Recovery teacher to support those children who, in Year One and Two, are having difficulties as readers.
Not all language work revolves around reading and writing; we believe the importance of speaking and listening opportunities for children’s language development cannot be too strongly emphasised. The children are provided with a variety of situations and stimuli, including drama activities and class debates, to cultivate both these skills.