English / Literacy
Queens’ Federation: English Subject Statement
At the Queens’ Federation we aim to foster ‘Learning for Life.’
We will provide a rich, relevant and inspirational curriculum that promotes a lifelong love of learning and equips our pupils with the key knowledge and understanding, skills and personal qualities that they will need to thrive in a rapidly changing world. Our curriculum is designed to be relevant to our children and is linked to the context of our school and the local community.
Learning to read and write well are two of the most important skills that children develop in primary school. At the Queens’ Federation, the development of these crucial life skills is one of our highest priorities. It is our aim that all pupils will:
- read fluently, with enjoyment and good understanding
- write clearly, accurately and creatively, sharing their ideas with confidence
- speak confidently and listen to others carefully and with respect
The development of reading fluency, confidence and understanding is a key priority at the Queens’ Federation. It is our aim to foster a lifelong love of reading in all pupils and believe that reading is key for academic success. We aim to provide pupils with a literacy-rich environment, high quality texts and inspiring learning opportunities.
We believe that phonics provides the foundations of learning that make the development into fluent reading and writing easier. Through phonics pupils learn to segment words to support their spelling ability and blend sounds to read words. The teaching of phonics has a high priority in school.
Spelling and Writing
Pupils will be able to communicate their knowledge, ideas and thoughts through their writing. Our pupils will acquire a wide vocabulary, a solid understanding of grammar and will be able to spell new words by effectively applying the spelling patterns and rules they learn. Pupils will write clearly, accurately and coherently in a range of contexts and for different purposes and audiences. We intend to create writers who can re-read, edit and improve their own writing. Pupils will be encouraged to take pride in the presentation of their writing by developing a fluent and legible joined handwriting style by the time they enter KS2.
Speaking and Listening
We recognise how vital spoken language skills are for pupils and want to equip them with the tools they need to be heard, not just in school, but in their future career and life. The ability to speak eloquently, articulate ideas and thoughts, collaborate with peers and have the confidence to express your views are all vital life skills that support successful learning for life.
Reading is a fundamental part of childhood and we aim to develop life-long readers. Pupils have the opportunity to read in school at different times of the day in a variety of different ways. Whole class guided reading sessions focus on the development of key reading skills – Vocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Explanation, Retrieval and Summarising (VIPERS). In addition to this, individual reading, whole class ‘Raving About Read’ sessions, reading buddy sessions and access to high quality texts across the curriculum all promote the development of reading. Attractive and inviting reading environments, including our school libraries, contain a wide range of books and reading materials suitable for all ages. Reading is also promoted through author visits and the celebration of reading events such as World Book Day.
High quality texts are used as starting points for each English unit of work. Through studying each text, pupils will learn about a specific genre or style of writing. They will be immersed in this type of writing, learning how to replicate features, exploring the writing structure and identifying purpose and audience. Lessons are planned using a three-phase cycle, closely linked to Pie Corbett’s Talk for Writing approach:
- Imitation – the ability to learn a model text
- Innovation – the ability to adapt a well-known model text in order to create a new one
- Invention – the ability to draw upon the full range of texts and life experience to create something new
Where possible, writing is given a real purpose and the pupils are provided with the opportunity to write from first-hand experience through the use of visits and visitors. The teaching of writing is often cross-curricular and links to our topics.
Pupils learn spellings at home and these are embedded in learning the following week in school. Spelling is taught daily in KS1, in Phonics or spelling lessons and weekly in KS2. Pupils who require additional support with spelling receive a variety of interventions that are tailored to address their individual needs.
Beginning in EYFS and continuing throughout KS1 and where necessary in KS2, pupils receive daily systematic teaching of synthetic phonics, following the progression set out in the DfE publication Letters and Sounds. Early reading materials are closely linked to phonic knowledge. Once pupils can decode fluently, reading books are organised according to the national book-banding colour scheme. A number of different high-quality schemes are used throughout the school. Parents are provided with comprehensive guidance about how best to support the acquisition of phonic knowledge and all stages of reading at home. Pupils are supported and encouraged to read regularly both at home and at school.
The development of speaking and listening skills is integral to pupil progress in all areas of the curriculum. Planned experiences such as the use of talking partners, paired and collaborative activities, the giving and receiving of instructions, presentation of learning and drama activities all support our aim for pupils to become confident speakers and listeners. Skill development is enriched by opportunities for pupils to develop these key skills outside of the curriculum. Opportunities include assemblies, class assemblies, pupil leadership groups, pupil voice activities, extra-curricular and phase group productions.
Formative assessment takes place on a daily basis through observation of, in questioning and in conversation with pupils and in the production of written outcomes. Termly summative reading and writing assessments enable pupils to demonstrate their understanding of taught concepts. Both formative and summative assessments feed into the planning process ensuring that high quality teaching supports the needs of all pupils at all times. The Year 1 Phonics Check and end of key stage assessments measure school attainment against national outcomes.
By the end of their school experience, pupils at the Queens’ Federation will be confident, fluent readers who enjoy reading a wide range of reading materials. They will view reading as an essential life skill which enables them to unlock learning in all areas of the curriculum.
Pupils will also have developed the stamina and ability to write at the age expected standard. They will become fluent, independent writers who are able to express their thoughts and ideas through writing and will see themselves as authors. They will write clearly and accurately and be able to adapt their language and style of writing for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.
By the time they leave the Queens’ Federation, pupils will be able to speak articulately with confidence and clarity. They will recognise the importance of listening in conjunction with speaking and will be confident in the value of their own opinions. Pupils will be able to adapt their use of language to suit a range of different purposes and audiences.
The achievement of these aims will ensure that pupils become confident readers, writers, speakers and listeners ready for the challenges of the next phase of their education and beyond.
Information for Parents
Supporting your child in English
One of the most important things that you can do to help your child succeed at school is to read to them and hear them read regularly. Sharing and discussing books together makes a huge contribution to a child’s language development, whether they are at the very early stages of learning to decode words in Reception, or reading more fluently in the older classes. Your child’s class teacher will be happy to talk to you about how you can support your child individually with their reading.
We have compiled lists of recommended books for children in Years 3 to 6. They are all books she has read and loved and will help us to ensure every child learns to enjoy reading. If you have a book token for a present or just want to buy a new book as a treat please consult the lists to help with your choice.
Obviously, the lists are not exhaustive and you may also have favourites which you might like to share with us. We are very happy to keep adding to our recommendations.
The most important learning skill a children acquires in primary school is a love of reading. It is the foundation for all the work they will do in the future. As well as your children reading the books you too might want to help inspire your children by reading to them or sharing books together. If you read a book from the year above you will be helping embed the ideas, vocabulary and sentence structure your child will be reading in the future.
No Nonsense Spelling Facts
Queen Emma Library
The librarians are working hard to keep both the downstairs and upstairs libraries neat and well organised. Keep up the good work!
Just outside the downstairs library, we are very lucky to have such a fantastic amount of space in which reading and writing are being celebrated. Comfortable reading areas have been created to make a welcoming space for children to read.
Our Key Stage 1 Library is looking fantastic! Thank you to Ms Greenhill for all of her hard work painting fictional characters on the library walls. Thank you too to a wonderful group of parents who painted this amazing under the sea scene to brighten up our library space. Colourful book boxes have been purchased to hold our ever-expanding collection of fiction books and we continue to purchase new books to increase our collection of all genres.
Ms Greenhill has been busy again, painting several fantastic murals in our upstairs library. We hope you agree it enhances our library and makes it a very welcoming and inspiring reading environment. Thanks to a range of fundraising activities, new bookcases, beanbags and a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books have been purchased to further enhance this space. Thank you for your generous contributions.
Thank you for all of the fantastic ‘Extreme Reading’ photographs that were sent in. We have all enjoyed looking at different ‘extreme’ ways in which the children have been reading.’
Examples Of Learning
Year 1 have been learning about newspaper reports. We have immersed ourselves in a range of newspaper reports! We looked at a variety of newspaper reports and noted how they were similar and how they were different. We then decided which newspaper report was our favourite and why. We can’t wait to learn more about newspaper reports so that we can write our own report at the end of the unit.
Year 1 really enjoyed the exciting ‘Traditional Tales’ drama workshop sessions with the Spinning Wheel Theatre Company. We had fun thinking about the key elements needed for a traditional tale and how those pieces are put together to make a story. The children worked in small groups to create their own traditional tales using the key parts and developed them as freeze frames to perform to each other. They also explored how to use their bodies to show what the different characters were like. The workshops were a physical and engaging way of recapping and celebrating the work that the children have done in English so far this half-term.
Year 1 had a fantastic time reading out their own imaginative versions of The Three Billy Goats to the class and they enjoying being dressed as a character from tales that we love!
Year 2 have enjoyed the start of their learning about traditional tales by sharing stories and playing games with a partner. We have been thinking about the different features of the stories: settings, good and bad characters, magical elements and the language used. So far, we have found talking animals and imaginary lands!
Year 2 have been creating story maps for their journey stories. They have also explored the characters by using role play . They have been learning about past tense by playing a game and they found features of journey stories too .
Macaw Class wrote absolutely amazing quest stories based on the book the Ice Palace by Robert Swindells. Here are some pictures of them sharing their stories with each other. They went onto publish their favourite few paragraphs and some of their published work can also be seen in the photos.
In Year 3 Macaw class had a go at filming their own videos using the ‘Clips’ app on the IPads. We used different filters and effects on some of our videos and filmed our own poems based on ‘The Magic Box’ by Kit Wright. We wrote our poems so that they were filled with memories from the past and interesting images using adjectives, verbs, adverbs and similes to make them as descriptive as we could. Hopefully they will give you an image in your head of some lovely times! We realised that we had to speak loudly and hold the IPad still to make a really good video, so there will be lots of our learning that we can use next time to improve them even more!
The year 4’s have been using story maps and dictionaries to help support their learning in English. Well done!
In Year 6, our free verse poetry unit produced some interesting results! Without rhyme or rhythm, we needed punctuation to help develop structure and flow. Here are a few more examples.
Jaguar Class had the opportunity to have some free time choosing books to read in our wonderful library. They chose to read independently, in a pair or as a small group. The session went so quickly, with the children becoming fully engaged in their reading. Jaguar Class really ‘Rave about Reading!’
We worked together in English, to identify the writing elements of an English persuasive text. As a pair, and then as a group, we were able to discuss punctuation, grammar and vocabulary we would need to elevate our own writing. In grammar we focused on our use of modal verbs, and recognising them in sentences. We then were able to apply our understanding to persuasive texts.
The persuasive model text needed to be highlighted in year 6. In partners we looked for and discussed persuasive writing elements, high-level punctuation, topic-specific vocabulary and grammar points already covered this year. Well done!
Descriptive writing has been highlighted recently, and we have used senses to help illustrate our ideas.