The teaching of English incorporates Speaking and Listening, Writing and Reading. At Heber our aim is to foster a love of reading, writing and discussion where children are excited and motivated by the high quality, engaging texts we use. It is important to us that children see their cultures, families and relationships reflected in the texts we use.
Our English curriculum is meaningful and provides children with real reasons to write, whether to explain, persuade, inform or instruct. These writing opportunities are embedded within our texts and often link to other curriculum areas. Spoken language is developed through debate, drama and discussion using the issues raised through, and within, the text. We believe that children should be excited by literature, confident with their own abilities of reading, writing and spoken language.
Speaking & listening is not taught explicitly; it permeates every element of school life. Children are given the opportunity to rehearse and practice their ideas before committing them to paper.
Discussion also plays an important part in the development of children’s speaking & listening skills. Children have the opportunity to participate in debates, class assemblies and performances throughout their school life. Year 6 end their year with a production at Alleyn’s Theatre.
Role play gives children the opportunity to immerse themselves, to explore and imagine in a safe space. Our children build confidence and learn to take risks through a range of drama activities. A core focus of our drama approach is to enrich language through opportunities to improvise, script and orally rehearse. The impact of these memorable learning experiences has been reflected in the quality of the children’s writing. Heber took part in a 2 year-long project with The Globe Theatre. The focus of this project was to integrate drama into all aspects of English lessons. To support children’s acquisition and application of vocabulary. The drama strategies taught to teachers are now fully embedded across all years and play an integral part of English teaching.
At Heber we are passionate about Reading and want to make sure that all our children develop a love of Reading and that every child leaves us as a critical reader.
Whole class Guided Reading lessons take place twice a week. Children study high quality texts where rich discussion, questioning, follow up tasks and pre-reading tasks form the basis of these sessions.Comprehension skills of: retrieval; inference; structure; language choice; purpose/viewpoint and context are also covered.
We are lucky at Heber to have a school library which children visit weekly.Children are encouraged to borrow books that interest them.
World Book Day plays an important part of our Reading Curriculum, bringing the whole school together to focus on the same text for the week.In the past we have studied texts such as ‘The Tempest’, ‘Change Sings’ and ‘The Journey’ trilogy.’ We use this opportunity to participate in a range of activities to explore different themes and promote our love of reading.
Buddy Reading is also set up and takes place half termly where the younger classes are buddied with older classes to enjoy reading together.
Phonics is taught everyday in EYFS and KS1. Phonics is an early reading tool, where children in EYFs and KS1 are taught letters and sounds correspondence through the scheme Monster Phonics. Monster Phonics helps children to learn and recall spellings by using colour. Each sound and colour is also represented by a monster that makes that sound (a sound cue). This brings phonics to life and makes Monster Phonics highly engaging. Children develop their reading fluency and confidence through banded books that are matched to their phonics knowledge.
Teachers plan rich and varied writing tasks that where possible relate to the topic being studied at the time. Our teaching of writing offers;
- Quality children’s literature by significant authors
- Engaging starting points and immersion through experiential learning with a clear sense of audience and purpose.
- A clear build up to writing longer pieces using drama, planning and shorter writing tasks.
- Editing; this plays an integral part of the writing process and is taught explicitly.
- Grammar, Spelling and Reading objectives are embedded throughout our English lessons
Every year, the coverage of books is reviewed and adapted to fit the needs of each individual cohort. Newly published texts are often replaced with older texts in order to ensure the curriculum is relevant and current to the children.
Spelling is taught explicitly through Phonics in Foundation Stage and KS1 and through Spelling lessons in KS2. KS2 Children are taught a new spelling pattern each week and are tested on these words weekly. Spelling Shed is an online platform that all children have access to in order to support their spelling. Statutory Word lists are also embedded into our spelling scheme. During other English lessons, teachers will focus on the transferring of skills from the children’s Phonics and Spelling sessions to their everyday writing.