Greenlands recognises that teaching and learning in English is an essential part of the whole development of all children, including SEN and disadvantaged children, for their speaking, listening and reading skills.
When I read great literature, great drama, speeches, or sermons, I feel that the human mind has not achieved anything greater than the ability to share feelings and thoughts through language.
- James Earl Jones
Why English Is Important
Reading, writing, speaking and listening together form the key components of human communication. We learn from one another through our ability to communicate, and so it is undeniably true that English lies at the heart of all learning at Greenlands. Throughout the school year, we encourage our whole school community to get involved in a range of events to celebrate our love of English, with an intention of creating lifelong lovers of reading and writing.
Research tells us that children who read for pleasure on a daily basis develop a wider vocabulary, greater general knowledge and a far better understanding of other cultures. It is perhaps one of the single most important factors in a child’s development. Naturally, we therefore believe that it is every child’s right to learn to read, but we hope that our children go far beyond this to develop a true love and pleasure for reading. At Greenlands we believe in both the importance of developing children’s discrete word-reading skills and comprehension, and the need to engender their love of books and reading. The two elements are intertwined; each relies on the other if children are to become life-long readers.
Through discrete phonics sessions, that follow the Letters and Sounds scheme, one-to-one reading with an adult, Reading Eggs and NESSY we teach our youngest children how to decode the written word, whilst building a greater understanding of comprehension as children develop through listening to books being read aloud, investigating them together in guided groups, or working together as a class on shared activities. We develop greater understanding through detailed exploration of whole books, short texts, art work, videos and music, encouraging children to play an active role in the reading process through an understanding of what makes a ‘good comprehender.’ Staff are reading role models who demonstrate and encourage a love for reading during our daily 'Story-time'. Children have access to a wide variety of reading materials through, book fairs, book corners in their classrooms, and the carefully selected texts used in the teaching of English.
As soon as children start in the reception class they begin their reading journey and start on the Dandelion reading scheme. The highly-structured phonic sequence of this scheme encourages reading success and building of confidence from the very beginning. Once children have completed this scheme they will move onto the Oxford Reading Tree scheme. When they are able to tackle longer and more complex books, both fiction and non-fiction and their reading skills and comprehension skills are solid they will be able to choose from a wider selection of non-scheme books. Alongside their schemed book children are also encouraged to choose a 'reading for pleasure' book.
Weekly certificates are given to children who are trying extremely hard with their reading, and our home reading reward system the 'Mad Hatter's Tea Party' has really excited and motivated the children to read more at home .
By the time children leave Greenlands Primary School they will have developed a love of reading and will be confident, fluent readers.
At Greenlands Primary School we recognise how important it is that children becoming skilled, confident writers by the end of year 6. These skills will be essential beyond their school life at Greenlands Primary School, and will enable them to communicate effectively in the wider world.
From the earliest stages of emergent writing in the Foundation Stage, we aim to foster a true love of storytelling by engaging the children in high quality texts. English lessons are planned around high quality texts and follow the principles of ‘Talk for Writing’ and the ‘Power of Reading’. Alongside these texts children are exposed to a range of videos and experiences to help them write purposeful, relevant pieces of work. They learn how to organise their own work so it suits the purpose, and they are encouraged to reflect on their own learning, and the learning of their peers, and to edit and improve their writing as a direct result. We ensure the children have exciting and stimulating things to write about in different aspects of our curriculum.
By the time children are ready to leave Greenlands Primary School they will be able to communicate their ideas clearly in writing. They will have acquired the knowledge and skills relevant to the next chapter in their learning journey.
Speaking and Listening
Throughout the curriculum there is a strong emphasis on enabling children to use language to work together effectively, debate, and deepen understanding of concepts. Research has shown the importance of the link between spoken language, learning and cognitive development. Through using language and hearing how others use it, children become able to describe the world, make sense of life's experiences and get things done. They learn to use language as a tool for thinking, collectively and alone.
Children are taught about the way language works through their reading and writing and discuss the differences in spoken language and the written word. Specific grammar and punctuation content is assigned to particular year groups and matches the national curriculum expectations from 2014.
Cursive handwriting is begun in Reception. The main benefit of teaching cursive handwriting from the start is that children tend to reach fluency faster, whereas if they learn to print first and then learn to join up, it’s like learning two different languages. When children are able to join accurately and their writing is consistent in size they will be awarded their pen licence which allows children to write in pen.
Key Concepts that run through English
To facilitate children to know more and remember more key concepts run through the whole of our curriculum and opportunities to revisit previous learning are planned into every lesson.
- Change - Author, text, genre, vocabulary, tense, meaning
- Power - Effective communication in writing and verbally, how communication can affect relationships
- Diversity - genres, structures, vocabulary
- Comparison - Authors, genres, themes, sentences, vocabulary
- Significance - Authors, books, significant pieces of text
Please click here for home reading activities