English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils, therefore, who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised.
The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:
- read easily, fluently and with good understanding
- develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
- acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
- appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
- write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
- use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
- are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.
The national curriculum for English reflects the importance of spoken language in pupils’ development across the whole curriculum – cognitively, socially and linguistically. Spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing. The quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak are vital for developing their vocabulary and grammar and their understanding for reading and writing.
Phonics is taught on a daily basis throughout the EYFS and KS1 and as appropriate, in KS2. Children are supported in naming and sounding the letters of the alphabet and digraphs as well as linking sounds and letters in the order in which they occur in words. Schemes such as Letters and Sounds and Jolly Phonics are used with the specific needs of individual children taken into account when planning methods of teaching.
Reading at key stages 1 and 2 consist of two dimensions:
- word reading
- comprehension (both listening and reading).
Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the speedy recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. This is why phonics is emphasised in the early teaching of reading.
Good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge (in particular of vocabulary and grammar) and on knowledge of the world. Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction. All pupils are encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum. Reading widely and often increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Reading also feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure-house of wonder and joy for curious young minds.
Reading at Cathedral School
At Cathedral school we take a great pride in our children’s attitude to and love of reading. Events such as Book Week have paved the way for a real enthusiasm in developing the essential skill of reading. Learning to read the words on a page is just one small part of developing a lifelong enjoyment of reading and an ability to use reading to discover new things. Our aim at Cathedral School is to help children become independent readers who enjoy reading and learn from it.
Taking a book to read at home is just one part of our children’s reading diet. At Cathedral School children enjoy reading books they have chosen quietly in our class reading corners, in the library, with a peer or supporting a younger child as a reading buddy. They enjoy reading a range of different texts with staff during a wide variety of lessons to support their learning. They also read individually with a teacher, teaching assistant or Volunteer reader.
Each child’s reading diet is specifically tailored to their individual interests and need. We use the Oxford Reading Tree scheme which offers a wide choice of new texts which include Traditional tales, Classics, a range of up to date and relevant non-fiction texts, poetry and even Graphic Novels.
At school, children develop a range of reading skills throughout the curriculum including whole class sessions, one to one reading and reading independently. Staff and volunteers regularly record information about the reading your child has done at school in their blue reading record. This will be in the form of a comment or a sticker. Below is some information about the ways in which we teach children to read at school.
|Whole class teaching||Whole class teaching happens throughout the day. Children are exposed to a wide range of texts in Literacy and across all areas of the curriculum, both fiction and non-fiction. They use their reading skills to find and interoperate information across a wide range of subjects.
Children also have at least 4 dedicated whole class reading sessions a week. Specific reading objectives are targeted through exercises such as ‘Text Talk’, ‘Reading circles’, Independent Reading, Reading a class text and Comprehension Skills. These objectives are varied as required depending on the needs of the individual children.
|Reading with a teacher||All children can expect to have a one to one reading session regularly with a teacher. During independent reading sessions the teacher will target specific children to read with the aim of focusing on a specific objective as well as discussing the text and supporting the child’s enthusiasm and engagement in a wide range of texts in order to support the development of positive attitudes to reading and understanding of what they read.|
|Reading with a TA||All children will have the opportunity to read with a TA regularly. Some children will, based on specific needs, be daily or weekly readers with a TA. TAs will focus on specific objective as well as discussing the text and supporting the child’s enthusiasm and engagement in a wide range of texts in order to support the development of positive attitudes to reading and understanding of what they read.|
|Reading with a volunteer||Some children will, based on individual need, be daily or weekly readers with a trained Volunteer. Volunteers will focus on specific objective as well as discussing the text and supporting the child’s enthusiasm and engagement in a wide range of texts in order to support the development of positive attitudes to reading and understanding of what they read.|
|Reading with a buddy||Some children will, based on individual need, be daily or weekly readers with a Buddy. The Buddy’s focus with be discussing the text and supporting the child’s and engagement in a wide range of texts in order to support the development of positive attitudes to reading and understanding of what they read.|
What we read:
|In class reading provision||Every classroom has a dedicated quiet reading corner in which children have access to a wide range of fiction and non-fiction texts. If a specific text is not available they are able to request it. Children are also given access to a wide range of texts throughout the curriculum including on line texts.|
|Reading scheme||At Cathedral School we use the Oxford Reading Tree Reading Scheme. The scheme has many benefits including offering a wide range of fiction and non-fiction texts that are stepped in a way that supports children to make sustained progress. Each individual book has a guide for parents to help support the reading of that particular text. Children should be encouraged to read a wide range of texts in addition to the reading scheme.
Children will move away from the reading scheme when staff judge that their progress, ability, level of independent reading at home and ability to choose appropriate texts is sufficient. This will usually happen from Year 4 upwards.
|Book Bingo||Children across the school are given a ‘Book Bingo’ card. The cards suggest a range of books for the child to read independently. The purpose of book bingo is to encourage children to read and enjoy a wide range of different authors and texts; this will support them develop new interests and find new favourite authors. In year 5 and 6 these cards are personalised and children are given the opportunity to recommend books to each other.|
Writing at key stages 1 and 2 consists of two dimensions:
- transcription (spelling and handwriting)
- composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing).
Writing down ideas fluently depends on effective transcription: that is, on spelling quickly and accurately through knowing the relationship between sounds and letters (phonics) and understanding the morphology (word structure) and orthography (spelling structure) of words. Effective composition involves forming, articulating and communicating ideas, and then organising them coherently for a reader. This requires clarity, awareness of the audience, purpose and context, and an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. Writing also depends on fluent, legible and, eventually, speedy handwriting.
Spelling, vocabulary, grammar, punctuation and glossary
Opportunities to enhance pupils’ vocabulary arise naturally from their reading and writing. As vocabulary increases, pupils will learn to understand the relationships between words, how to understand nuances in meaning, and how to develop their understanding of, and ability to use, figurative language. Pupils will also learn how to work out and clarify the meanings of unknown words and words with more than one meaning.