Vocabulary lies at the heart of enabling social mobility in our community. At St. Edmund's, we believe that by learning to speak, read and write fluently and confidently, our children are empowered to give voice to how important and special they are. We believe that confident communication is at the heart of success in reading and writing, which is why children’s spoken language and listening skills are continually developed through modelling, collaboration, and structured discussion.
Effective teaching of English nurtures independent thinking and effective communication – it must also encourage children to develop a genuine love for this beautiful language and to recognise its power. Mastery over such a wide-reaching curriculum is a challenge that we encourage our children to meet with determination, perseverance and resilience. By reading with fluency and understanding, our children are given opportunities to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. We believe that these skills are essential to engaging fully as citizens and that they are best delivered when children take pleasure in enjoyable, challenging and inclusive experiences.
Reading widely is essential so that children come to understand themselves and the communities around them more deeply and so that their imaginations can be fed. By speaking and writing with ambition and increasing fluency, our children become ever more able to communicate ideas and to give voice to their rich imaginations.
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Literacy is fundamental for learning at St Edmund’s RC Primary School. It underpins the school curriculum by developing students’ abilities to speak, listen, read and write for a wide range of purposes, using language to learn and communicate, to think, explore and organise. All curriculum areas support students’ learning to express themselves correctly and appropriately and to read accurately and with understanding.
In English, during Key Stage 1 pupils learn to speak confidently and listen to what others have to say. They begin to read and write independently and with enthusiasm, using language to explore their own experiences and imaginary worlds. Pupils learn to speak confidently and listen to what others have to say. They begin to read and write independently and with enthusiasm. Children use language to explore their own experiences and imaginary worlds. They work in small groups and as a class, joining in discussions and making relevant points. They also learn how to listen carefully to what other people are saying, so that they can remember the main points. This is built on the Early Learning Goals where in Reception, the children use language to imagine and recreate role and experiences becoming attentive listeners and interact with others in play.
Throughout our Early Years and Key Stage 1 pupils' interest and pleasure in reading is developed as they learn to read confidently and independently. They focus on words and sentences and how they fit into whole texts. They work out the meaning of straightforward texts and say why they like them or do not like them.
At St Edmund’s RC Primary we use the Read Write Inc (RWI) programme to get children off to a flying start with their literacy. RWI is a method of learning centred round letter sounds and phonics, and we use it to aid children in their reading and writing.
Reading opens the door to learning. A child who reads a lot will become a good reader. A good reader will be able to read more challenging material. A child who reads challenging material is a child who will learn. The more a child learns, the more he or she will want to find out.
Using RWI, the children learn to read effortlessly so that they can put all their energy into comprehending what they read. It also allows them to spell effortlessly so that they can put all their energy into composing what they write.
When using RWI to read the children will:
- learn that sounds are represented by written letters
- learn 44 sounds and the corresponding letter/letter groups using simple picture prompts
- learn how to blend sounds
- learn to read words using Fred Talk
- read lively stories featuring words they have learned to sound out
- show that they comprehend the stories by answering questions.
When using RWI to write the children will:
- learn to write the letters/letter groups which represent 44 sounds.
- learn to write words by saying the sounds in Fred Talk
- write simple sentences
Alongside all the other reading that goes on throughout each day at St. Edmund’s, Shared Reading is used to foster a love of reading by sharing a core selection of high-quality texts, creating a living library inside a child’s mind.
Teachers can add to supplement this list; however, a core list is chosen so that a common bank of stories can be shared to bind our school community together. This ’Reading Spine’ includes modern classics, contemporary fiction, non-fiction and picture books. You can see our Reading Spine by clicking here.
During Key Stage 2 pupils read enthusiastically a range of materials and use their knowledge of words, sentences and texts to understand and respond to the meaning. They increase their ability to read challenging and lengthy texts independently. They reflect on the meaning of texts, analysing and discussing them with others.
Across the whole school, children have a guided reading session with a teacher. This is where children have opportunity to discuss various learning challenges in a supportive way delving in between the lines to gain further meaning, inference and deduction. Children are also taught to look for meaning beyond the literal and make connections between different parts of texts. In addition to this, comprehension is taught once a week in every year group from Year 1 to Year 6 embedding all of their learning.
To entice children to read at home, children across Key Stage 1 and 2 access rewards through our exciting Reading Reward Cards! For every week that children read at home on at least five days, their reward card will be stamped. Once they have collected four stamps, children can exchange their stamps for brilliant rewards at lunch time!
During Key Stage 1 pupils start to enjoy writing and see the value of it. They learn to communicate meaning in narrative and non-fiction texts and spell and punctuate correctly.
Throughout our school, the children learn exemplary texts, grammar, sentence construction and how to plan texts. The children are taught rich composition skills using adventurous vocabulary, sequencing ideas and events and recounting information in a clear structure in a high standard to suit the purpose and its reader. Children are then taught to draft and re-draft their work, making substitutions, developing their ideas and vocabulary with right discussions which then extends their writing into exciting texts. The children have discussions about their writing as if they were authors as well as readers.
Punctuation is also taught within this writing technique giving context to their grammar and punctuation. However, spelling, grammar and punctuation is also taught both discretely and embedded in English lessons to ensure full coverage and understanding. Spelling is taught through the RWI Spelling programme which consists of 15 minute daily sessions.
Within both key stages, children develop an understanding and appreciate for non-fiction and non-literary texts such as: persuasion argument, explanation, instruction and descriptive writing. They are also taught how to write diaries, autobiographies, biographies and letters. They are taught to identify and use the most appropriate vocabulary for each text type and also links between structural and organisational features such as paragraphing, sub-headings and links in hypertext.
After completing the RWI program of study, children begin to learn spellings through the Nelson spelling scheme. The scheme is fully matched to the latest UK curricula and includes regular assessments to help your child meet their potential. Each week, new spelling rules, structures and patterns are introduced in small steps. Children can access their weekly spelling lists on Spelling Shed. Spelling shed is a fun and exciting way for children to revise their spellings each week. All children in school have their own profile and can personalise their own avatar with points earned by completing homework.
In Key Stage 2, children are expected to learn words from a given list in addition to their weekly spellings. The word-lists for years 3 and 4 and years 5 and 6 are statutory. The lists are a mixture of
words pupils frequently use in their writing and those which they often misspell. Your child will have many opportunities to learn these words in school; additional opportunities to learn them at home can also be found on Spelling Shed.
Awards are presented each Friday during our celebration assemblies to reward classes and individuals who have practised frequently over the last seven days.