English sits at the very heart of our curriculum – it is through language, story and text that children learn to form concepts, connect ideas and express themselves.
Across both writing and reading, we place a heavy emphasis on developing a child’s vocabulary. We use Talk for Writing techniques from Reception to Year 6 and are part of the Voice 21 Oracy project. Such techniques, paired with immersing our children in rich literature, ensure that by the time children leave St Albert’s in Year 6, the limited word hoard they arrived with in Reception will have expanded enormously, giving them the language they need to understand sophisticated texts and express themselves in a wide range of contexts.
At St Albert’s, we are passionate about fostering a life-long love of reading for our children. As a result, we approach the teaching of reading from all angles, so as to miss no opportunity to spark a child’s interest.
Our English sessions are split into a ‘Read-It’ week and a ‘Write-It’ week. During the ‘Read-It’ week, the children become fully immersed in both the text and genre of writing that they are studying. Lots of exploration of the text takes place during the ‘Read-It’ week, with many opportunities for the children to discuss the text, voice their opinions on key events and author choices, as well as make inferences and deductions.
Daily Guided Reading sessions focus on the skills of comprehension, first through unpicking vocabulary, then moving on to unlocking the meaning of whole texts and critical appreciation.
Teachers read a huge variety of written material regularly with the children, fiction and non-fiction, stories, reports, diaries and poems. We work closely with our local library service to ensure that children are immersed in high-quality class-readers.
Each year group has access to a ‘Reading Chest’; specially chosen titles picked by the children themselves. This has really engaged children during their ‘Reading for pleasure’ sessions. All classes also have access to their own Reading Spine – a collection of classic and well-loved texts which we want the children to love and know well.
Alongside this we have author visits, visits to the library and World Book Day.
In all year groups, we teach writing through high-quality texts – ranging from picture books to Shakespeare, immersive real-life experiences, such as school trips, or a combination of both.
Over their time at the school, children will write a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts, including recounts, news reports, explanation texts, poems, plays and stories of all kinds. We use drama, role-play, storytelling and discussion to engage the imagination, before moving on to vocabulary exploration, grammatical focus and creative writing.
Throughout the Early Years and Key Stage 1 children are taught the key principles of writing in order to lay a solid foundation for developing their skills later on. An emphasis is placed on developing clear handwriting with ‘finger spaces’ between in each word. Children are taught to apply their knowledge of phonics to help them spell accurately, and to structure their work, whether it be fiction writing or a set of instructions. Our curriculum teaches the children to add variation and description to their work by developing their vocabulary, including the use of interesting adjectives and adverbs and developing sentence structure using conjunctions and sentence openers. By the end of Key Stage 1 children have been taught the fundamentals of punctuation and grammar. This structural and technical knowledge is fostered alongside developing a love for writing as a lifelong means for communication and expressing oneself.
Our writing process is developed over five days – we begin with a ‘Gather it’ day where children are immersed in model texts and gather their idea around the writing theme. The children then ‘Plan-it’, on day two, ‘Write-it’ on day three, then ‘Edit-it’ and ‘Publish-it’ on days four and five.
Please click on the links to find out what the children have been up to with reading!
- Nursery Bear Hunt
- Books For Breakfast
- Reading Chests
- A Christmas Carol
- Nursery ‘Dear Zoo’
- Library Visit
- Roald Dahl Day
- Shakespeare Week
- The Gift of Reading
- World Book Day
- Number Day