English is the basic language of communication in this country and its mastery is necessary for educational progress. Our English curriculum follows the National Curriculum.
We aim to foster in all our children a love of books so that they become readers for life. Children are taught to read by a variety of methods including phonics, learning key words and using meaning. Their progress is carefully monitored and a wide range of books (fiction and non-fiction) make up our guided and individual reading schemes.
At St Joseph's, we teach reading through the Read Write Inc. Phonics programme. Learning to read is one of the most important things your child will learn at our school. Its impact is so big that we put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible. We want your child to love reading – and to want to read for themselves.
For more information, see our parent guide to Read Write Inc here
At St Joseph's, we value guided reading as a means of improving reading skills, comprehension skills and group discussion. Children are introduced to a wide variety of texts; including classic and modern fiction, poetry and non-fiction. They are explicitly taught reading strategies to improve fluency and understanding of the texts.
Guided reading is supported by reading for pleasure. Children are able to choose from a wide range of books, discussing their choices and recommending books to each other. Teachers choose novels and picture books to read to the class for enjoyment. We are very lucky that Tadcaster Library is right next door to our school and they are very welcoming to our school. Each class visits the library regularly.
From Early Years onwards, children are encouraged to write for an audience and with purpose. Starting with mark making, children are soon writing words and sentences to communicate. This is supported in the first instance through the "Get writing" element of Read Write Inc which teaches children to hold on to the words they want to write, set them out correctly and punctuate them.
Our main scheme for the teaching of writing is "The Write Stuff" by Jane Considine which brings clarity to the mechanics of writing. "The Write Stuff" follows a method called "Sentence Stacking" which refers to the fact that sentences are stacked together chronologically and organised to engage children with short, intensive moments of learning that they can then immediately apply to their own writing. An individual lesson is based on a sentence model, broken in to 3 learning chunks. Each learning chunk has three sections:
Initiate section – a stimulus to capture the children’s imagination and set up a sentence.
Model section – the teacher close models a sentence that outlines clear writing features and techniques.
Enable section – the children write their sentence, following the model.
Children are challenged to ‘Deepen the Moment’ which requires them to independently draw upon previously learnt skills and apply them to their writing during that chunk.
"The Write Stuff" uses three essential components to support children in becoming great writers
The three zones of writing :-
- IDEAS - The FANTASTICs uses a child friendly acronym to represent the nine idea lenses through which children can craft their ideas.
- TOOLS - The GRAMMARISTICS. The grammar rules of our language system and an accessible way to target weaknesses in pupils grammatical and linguistic structures.
- TECHNIQUES - The BOOMTASTICs which helps children capture 10 ways of adding drama and poetic devices to writing in a vivid visual.
Help and support
All children receive quality first English teaching on a daily basis and activities are differentiated accordingly. In addition, where identified pupils are considered to require targeted support to enable them to work towards age appropriate objectives, intervention programmes will be implemented. Some children are able to have the benefit of 1:1 sessions or small group interventions. Additionally, most children read with an adult on a 1:1 basis in Class One and Class Two, at least three times a week. We also offer additional handwriting support and support for children who have been identified as needing additional support with grammar, punctuation and spelling.
SPEAKING AND LISTENING
The development of speaking and listening skills is encouraged across the whole curriculum, with explicit skills taught to enable children to speak for different audiences. Approaches to teaching and learning encourage pupils to voice their ideas in small group and class discussions, as we recognise that sharing and explaining concepts with peers enhances learning. Staff model the use of higher level vocabulary within their speech and expanding children’s vocabulary is a key focus from EYFS. Subject specific vocabulary is embedded across the curriculum, through teacher modelling, in context. Contextual learning helps children to understand new words and supports them in including them in their work.
Drama is used across the curriculum to explore and engage children in their learning. This gives children the chance to embed vocabulary in shared activities. Children in each class are encouraged to lead collective worship - within the classroom, in front of the school and in front of parents. They also have regular opportunities to perform in productions such as nativity plays, Easter services and a summer production.