Our goal for English education is that children are able to communicate effectively, for a range of purposes and audiences, developing:

- an understanding of language for communication;

- the ability to speak and write effectively and purposefully; and

- fluency and an enthusiasm for reading, both for pleasure and to learn.

English Curriculum Overview 2021 - 2022

English Knowledge and Skills Progression

Phonics

Phonics Progression

Phonics in Nursery

In the Nursery the children are taught the seven aspects and three strands in Phase One of Letters and Sounds.

Aspect 1 – 3:
General Sound discrimination
Tuning Into, Listening and Remembering, and Talking About

  • environmental sounds;
  • instrumental sounds; and
  • body percussion sounds

 

Aspect 4:
Tuning Into, Listening and Remembering, and Talking About
Rhythm and Rhyme

Aspect 5:
Tuning Into, Listening and Remembering, and Talking About
Alliteration

Aspect 6:
Tuning Into, Listening and Remembering, and Talking About
Voice sounds

Aspect 7:
Tuning Into, Listening and Remembering, and Talking About
Oral blending and segmenting

The aim is for the children to experience regular, planned opportunities to listen carefully and talk extensively about what they hear, see and do. The activities within the seven aspects are designed to help children listen attentively, enlarge their vocabulary and speak confidently to adults and each other. They learn to discriminate and reproduce sounds they hear, and use sound talk to orally segment words.

The activities are predominantly adult led in whole class and small group sessions but staff also make use of spontaneous opportunities to develop language and sound awareness during free play and across all curriculum areas.

There is a big focus on the staff modelling speaking and listening, interacting and talking with children. The adults observe, listen and make notes during activities to see who needs further practice or greater challenge.

We supplement the Letters and Sounds activities with extra ideas and activities that support learning in Phase One. Children have daily story times, singing sessions and focus on a rhyme of the week, which we share with parents and carers.

Phonics in Reception

In the Reception year, phonics is taught systematically introducing new single sounds, digraphs and trigraphs, largely following the Letters and Sounds suggested order. Teaching is underpinned by Jolly Phonics actions and stories, with the learning sequence supported and consolidated by Espresso Phonics and Alphablocks.

Each week, newly learnt letter sounds are sent home, with suggested words to segment and blend, so that parents can support the learning.

Ransom Reading Stars, our phonetically decodable reading books, are used in class to support children’s confidence in using their new sounds, practising the blending and segmenting skills modelled in phonics sessions.

These books are also closely matched to children’s phonics levels and taken home for weekly practice.

Letter formation is modelled alongside new sounds being introduced and is then revisited and practised using PenPals letter family groups.

Adequate emphasis is planned for learning common exception words within the high frequency word list to support reading progress. A new word is introduced and practised each week, which is then sent home to enable parental support for learning.

When the PACT (Parents and Children Together) reading programme is introduced, staff select one PM book, weekly, for the children to take home, alongside their decodable reading book. These books support children to become confident and rounded readers, able to use a range of skills when approaching new texts.

Children’s phonic and common exception word knowledge is regularly assessed through group activities and individual sessions in order to identify any children who may need additional support or a greater challenge.

Phonics in Year 1

In year 1, phonics is taught systematically using the sequence of sounds continuing on from the Reception year, based on Letters and Sounds. We encourage a multisensory approach towards children’s learning and incorporate the actions of Jolly Phonics to support their recognition of new letters and sounds (also known as Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence).

We continue to place importance on children’s phonological awareness and incorporate activities such as rhymes, syllables and oral blending and segmenting into each lesson.

Letter formation continues to be modelled alongside new sounds being introduced and is then revisited and practised using the PenPals letter family groups.

Building upon the secure foundation of knowledge they have developed during their time in Reception, children expand their understanding of more complex ways to work with letters and sounds. Children will learn many alternative spellings, work with multisyllabic words and begin to develop control over taught spelling rules. They continue to develop their automatic recognition of high frequency words, including words that cannot be decoded using phonics, known as the common exception words.

Progress is regularly tracked and, following rigorous assessment, we set across the year group for phonics from the second half of the autumn term. You can support your child’s learning through the weekly information on our Google Classroom.

To encourage children to practise and apply their growing phonic knowledge, they will continue to read decodable books in class, according to the phase they are working in. As part of their wider reading programme, they will be given two reading books to take home each week in addition to their decodable book.

In the summer term, children will take the Phonics Screening Check. This is an opportunity for children to demonstrate their understanding of all the sounds they have learnt to date. Children will be asked to read a selection of words, some real, some alien words.

Phonics in Year 2 / Spelling Phase Six

In the autumn term, Year 2 phonics continues to be taught systematically as in previous years. Children are set into targeted groups, and are regularly assessed to ensure they are in the one most suitable for their needs. Children who are still insecure at phase 5, will continue to use decodable books in class and take home the relevant ones to support their learning.

When children are ready, they will move on to the school’s spelling programme, Read Write Inc. This programme supports the National Curriculum aims for spelling. The programme incorporates practice through e.g. dictation and automatic recall. Children’s learning moves from how words sound, using their phonic knowledge, to how words look, their construction and how they can be used in their writing.

Letter formation continues to be modelled, consolidating digraphs and trigraphs to support joined up writing. This is practised using the PenPals letter family groups.

Years 3 – 6

The Read, Write, Inc spelling programme is continued, building on the strong phonics learning of the early years (Nursery – Year 2). Some children, depending on assessment outcomes, may continue to receive specific phonics support. Decodable books will continue to be used as support when relevant.

Daily Supported Reading: Reception - Year Two

We use the Daily Supported Reading Programme from the end of Reception to the beginning of Year 2 to teach children to read. Daily Supported Reading (DSR) is a coherent and systematic approach where children work with trained adults in small groups to read and discuss engaging stories daily. The books used are matched to the children’s independent reading levels and staff use differentiated lesson guides to lead the sessions and move children on when they are ready. Weekly feedback and training sessions with all staff involved supports this process. DSR incorporates the three components of a balanced reader: decoding, fluency and phrasing, and comprehension. 

Destination Reader: Year Two – Year Six

Once children are ready in Year 2, and throughout KS2, we use Destination Reader to move children from ‘learning to read’ to ‘reading to learn’. Destination Reader (DR) involves daily reading sessions which incorporate whole class teaching followed by children applying the skills which have been modelled through partner work and independent reading. Children deepen their understanding of the texts they read through the systematic use of a series of strategies and language stems to support their explanation of these. The eight reading strategies used are predicting, inferring, asking questions, evaluating, clarifying, making connections and summarising.

Writing

After being taught initial writing skills, including phonics, letter formation and sentence writing, children learn how to write in a range of genres as they progress through the school. Please have a look at our Whole School English Overview for more detail about this, as well as the key texts we read in each year group.

Debating and Current Affairs

Debating runs throughout our English curriculum and we use a range of Debate Mate games and resources to encourage and enable children to debate and discuss a range of issues. Every year group has set mid-termly motions, linked to curriculum learning, which they will deliberate over throughout each half term. In Year 5 and 6 we have a focus on developing current affairs and critical thinking through Burnet News sessions.

For questions about the provision of English at William Tyndale, please contact the subject leader, Claire Oliver, via parentmessages@williamtyndale.islington.sch.uk