ENGLISH AT ALWOODLEY PRIMARY SCHOOL
Our English vision is to foster a love of language and literature through the use of quality texts and books; this inspires, excites and engages our children.
At Alwoodley Primary School, we aim to foster a love of language and reading and, therefore, attach great importance to enabling our children to become fluent readers. We aim to develop independence and fluency in all readers to ensure a life-long love of reading and ensuring that they can all achieve their full potential across all areas of the curriculum.
Reading is one of the most important skills a child will learn at school, there has been a wide range of research into the teaching of reading over the years and at Alwoodley Primary School we support and believe in the teaching of Early Reading through the use of Systematic Synthetic Phonics.
In Nursery, Reception and Year One we follow the ‘Letters and Sounds’ phonics programme. Through this programme children will learn the 44 different sounds in the English language and 175+ different ways of writing those sounds (graphemes). Each stage of ‘Letters and Sounds’ builds on the previous skills. By following this programme stringently, we are ensuring that children have the best understanding of reading and how words are formed.
Progression of skills:
From Year Two we supplement this with our ‘No Nonsense Spelling’ which teaches children the basic skills needed to read and write words accurately and independently – applying and embedding the skills and understanding they have learned. Grammar and punctuation is taught both explicitly and implicitly within English lessons. Our grammar and punctuation policy ensures that grammar skills are effectively embedded into the children’s everyday work. By doing this we ensure a progression of skills throughout Early Years and KS1 and expect that by the end of KS1 children can:-
For any children working on Phases 2 – 6 in Year 3 or beyond, we provide daily focused and individualised intervention alongside the whole class teaching of reading to ensure gaps in learning are diminished and progress is accelerated for these children. Class teachers and LSAs regularly assess reading levels.
The correct enunciation of phonemes and modelling of blending by all adults at Alwoodley Primary School is of paramount importance in the accurate and effective teaching of phonics.
Children will experience a wide range of authors and text types during their time at Alwoodley Primary School. We approach reading in three different ways; reading for pleasure, reading across the curriculum and teaching reading skills explicitly. Each year group has their own significant author, throughout the year each class will study this author in depth and examine a range of their work. We aim to instil a passion for reading throughout the school and hold regular events throughout the year to promote this. The children have access to a range of different reading books. Each child in Reception and Year 1 will have access to a fully phonetically decodable book matched to their stage of phonics and a reading for pleasure book for within their coloured book band. Children all also have access to online reading books through the programme ‘Bug Club’. Bug Club books are finely matched to the Phases in ‘Letters and Sounds’ and support the progression of all reading skills through regular comprehension questions and assessments. Below are the Year Group expectations for colour banded books.
By providing the children with a range of books it ensures that they not only suit their ability but also allow them to experience a range of writing styles and text types.
Children are encouraged to use their knowledge of texts to write for a variety of purposes such as: explanations, instructions, reports, balanced arguments, stories and poems. They learn to plan, draft, revise, edit and present their work, before evaluating the success of their writing. From Nursery, our children are taught letter formation using the Irlens handwriting scheme. As they progress through school, the children are encouraged to write in a neat, legible style using a cursive script.
Drama and speaking and listening are an integral part of not only English but also the wider curriculum in order to encourage self-confidence, imagination and empathy. It is used to stimulate, explore and challenge ideas. Communication is a key feature of many aspects of our curriculum.
During the Autumn and Spring term in 2020-21 there have been a number of changes to reading within Alwoodley Primary School. For full details on the changes made and the reasons why, please read the letter to parents below.
A Snapshot of English at APS June 2021
Reception - The children have been reading and rehearsing the story 'Sharing a Shell'. They have, independently, written some super sentences about the story .
Year 1 - This term Year 1 have been learning all about Kenya! We are learning to make predictions about a text, draw inferences about characters, describe and compare setting and write non-chronological reports based on our Kenya research. We have enjoyed using drama and Talk 4 Writing to re-tell stories such as 'Lila and the Secret of Rain' and 'Why Elephant has a Trunk'. We have linked our story work to our art topic this term and have had a fantastic time recreating patterns, textures and prints from the 'Tinga Tinga Tales'.
Year 2 - In Year 2 we have been reading our new book Vlad and the Great Fire of London. We have made predictions, written character descriptions, and looked at using a variety of conjunctions in our work. We are looking forward to reading more because we love this topic at the moment.
Year 4 - In Year 4 we have just come to the end of a poetry unit. We started by investigating the poem 'The Raven' by Edgar Allan Poe. We rehearsed it, explored the tone and intonation of the poem, presented it, unpicked the narrative, looked at the structure of the poem and finally wrote some lines that would fit in the poem. We then linked it a poem in our class book, 'The Scarecrow and his Servant' by Philip Pullman and wrote our own rhyming poems about an inanimate object. Here we are presenting our poems to the rest of the class.
Year 5 - In English this half term we have spent some time writing a manifesto for the Leeds Children's Mayor competition. We have just started our work on Mayan folk tales which links with History. We have read a few different ones and talked about the features and now we are starting to write our own.
New Colour Banded Books - April 2021
Our beautiful new books have arrived in school! We are so excited to reveal the fabulous new reading books to the children for them to choose and read at home and in school. We have all new shelving, colour coded boxes and fabulous reading displays. Happy Reading :)
We have donated all of our many old books to charities to support schools in Pakistan, Nigeria and Ghana. We will update the images when they arrive in the schools.
World Book Day 2021
This year, we celebrated World Book Day during lockdown. We created a Masked reader competition where the children had to guess the member of staff reading their favourite story. We even managed to include a celebrity (Helen Skelton) to join in. The children loved listening to the masked voices and listening to the clues.
Recreate a Book Cover
As a part of World Book Day 2021, during lockdown, children and families were challenged to recreate a book cover from home and send in their photos. We think some family members enjoyed it more than the children :)
Book Advent December 2020
To promote the love of reading in school we created a book advent during December. Each day we investigated a new book and on the final day of term, each class voted for their favourite book. Some magic elves delivered the books to each classroom post lock down for the children to enjoy listening to.
World Nursery Rhyme Week
Thank you to everyone for taking part. There are some brilliant videos of you all in the Video Resource Centre!
If you want to, you could try some of the activities below.
Returning to school (After a lockdown) Septemeber 2020
We bought some gorgeous new books to use with the children to help settle them back into school and to support their transition into a new class. They all have a message of resilience, adapting to change and well being.