Purpose of study
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
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.
Teachers should therefore ensure the continual development of pupils’ confidence and competence in spoken language and listening skills. Pupils should develop a capacity to explain their understanding of books and other reading, and to prepare their ideas before they write. They must be assisted in making their thinking clear to themselves as well as to others and teachers should ensure that pupils build secure foundations by using discussion to probe and remedy their misconceptions. Pupils should also be taught to understand and use the conventions for
discussion and debate.
All pupils should be enabled to participate in and gain knowledge, skills and understanding associated with the artistic practice of drama. Pupils should be able to adopt, create and sustain a range of roles, responding appropriately to others in role. They should have opportunities to improvise, devise and script drama for one another and a range of audiences, as well as to rehearse, refine, share and respond thoughtfully to drama and theater performances.
Statutory requirements which underpin all aspects of spoken language across the six years of primary education form part of the national curriculum. These are reflected and contextualized within the reading and writing domains which follow.
The programmes of study for reading at key stages 1 and 2 consist of two dimensions:
– word reading
– comprehension (both listening and reading).
It is essential that teaching focuses on developing pupils’ competence in both dimensions; different kinds of teaching are needed for each.
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 should be emphasized in the early teaching of reading to beginners (i.e. unskilled readers) when they start school.
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 must be 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.
It is essential that, by the end of their primary education, all pupils are able to read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education.
In Key Stage 1 we use the Letters and Sounds phonics scheme.
In Reception and KS1 we follow the Oxford Reading Tree scheme. Children progress through the colour bands until they become a confident and fluent reader. They then move on to a colour banded scheme: bronze, silver and gold. These books form our school library and encourage the children to become more independent readers.
We expect children to read at least 5 times a week as we know that reading is a key to a child’s success. As well as reading their school book we encourage them to read anything; comics, newspapers, non-fiction, fiction and poetry are all important. We want them to love reading so it must be made an enjoyable experience.
Below you will find a link to the recommended Top 100 books that all children should read before leaving primary school and ideas on how you can support your child with reading at home.
In addition to decoding texts we also focus on comprehension during our daily shared reading lessons. In these lessons we teach the many other skills that are required to be a confident reader. These are: Structure, presentation and language
Children are taught about the features of different types of writing, such as subheadings, introductions, conclusions and glossaries; they are also taught about the types of language used in different types of texts, like persuasive techniques and the effects words have on the reader.Viewpoint
Texts and articles are written from different points of view, and we teach the children how we can interpret the language used to identify the opinions of the person writing the text. This is particularly important in news reports, where facts are mixed in with the journalists’ opinions. Furthermore, the children are taught about relating what they are reading to themselves, to British values and morals, to other cultures and to historical events when necessary. Reviewing
We encourage the children to have likes and dislikes with respect to the range of material available for them to read. We teach them how to review books and how to recommend reading material to friends and children in other age brackets. Information retrieval
Children are taught how to skim and scan a text, to search for key words and relevant information in order to quickly find the information that they are looking for. This also involves understanding what different texts look like (eg, newspaper, report, poem, argument, discussion) and where they need to look to find specific information. Interpretation using inference and deduction.
This very important skill teaches children how to “read between the lines” of what has been written down and enables them to make predictions about what might happen, why something has/will happen, why characters behave the way they do and what the overall text means.
The programmes of study for writing at key stages 1 and 2 are constructed similarly to those for reading:
– transcription (spelling and handwriting)
– composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing).
It is essential that teaching develops pupils’ competence in these two dimensions. In addition, pupils should be taught how to plan, revise and evaluate their writing. These aspects of writing have been incorporated into the programmes of study for composition. 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 organizing 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
The two statutory appendices – on spelling and on vocabulary, grammar and punctuation
– give an overview of the specific features that should be included in teaching the programmes of study.
Opportunities for teachers to enhance pupils’ vocabulary arise naturally from their reading and writing. As vocabulary increases, teachers should show pupils how 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. They should also teach pupils how to work out and clarify the meanings of unknown words and words with more than one meaning. References to developing pupils’ vocabulary are also included within the appendices.
Pupils should be taught to control their speaking and writing consciously and to use Standard English. They should be taught to use the elements of spelling, grammar, punctuation and ‘language about language’ listed. This is not intended to constrain or restrict teachers’ creativity, but simply to provide the structure on which they can construct exciting lessons. A non-statutory Glossary is provided for teachers.
- Throughout the programmes of study, teachers should teach pupils the vocabulary they need to discuss their reading, writing and spoken language. It is important that pupils learn the correct grammatical terms in English and that these terms are integrated within teaching.
The National Curriculum that children follow in English primary schools places great emphasis on correct spelling and at the end of Year 6 every child sits a spelling test.
Learning to spell well is extremely useful if we want our children to become confident writers. If they are constantly stopping to think about how words are spelled while they write, it can interrupt the flow of their thoughts, taking them away from what we want them to be thinking about: their choice of words and how they construct those words into sentences that communicate exactly what they want to say. If they are confident spellers, they are also much more likely to make adventurous vocabulary choices, selecting the exact word to communicate their message, rather than playing it safe and using a word they already know how to spell.
The National Curriculum requires children to learn to spell different words in different year groups. The following information shows what your child will be learning at school and also some ways that you can help your child to develop their spelling.
Spelling in the National Curriculum in England
Key Stage 1 (Years 1 and 2)
The National Curriculum for Year 1 states that pupils should be taught to:
- Spell words containing each of the 40+ phonemes already taught
- Spell common exception words (such as the and was)
- Spell the days of the week
- Name the letters of the alphabet
- Add some prefixes (such as un) and suffixes (such as ing and ed) to word
In Year 2, children's knowledge of spelling is assessed by a teacher assessment of children's writing. There is also an optional grammar, punctuation and spelling test that schools can choose to use to help them make an assessment about children's understanding in these areas. The National Curriculum for Year 2 states that pupils should be taught to:
Key Stage 2 (Years 3 to 6)
- Use knowledge of phonics to spell words correctly
- Learn new ways of spelling phonemes for which one or more spellings are already known, and learn some words with each spelling, including a few common homophones (such as there/they're/their )
- Spell common exception words (such as because)
- Spell more words with contracted forms (such as it's)
- Learn the possessive apostrophe (singular)
- Add suffixes to spell longer words (including ment, and ly)
In Years 3 and 4, children in English schools will continue to develop their spelling. The National Curriculum outlines the spelling rules that children will learn in Year 3 and Year 4:
- Use further prefixes and suffixes and understand how to add them (such as dis and sure)
- Spell further homophones (such as except/accept)
- Spell words that are often misspelt
- Use the possessive apostrophe accurately (plurals)
- Use the first two or three letters of a word to check its spelling in a dictionary
The National Curriculum for Years 5 and 6 expects children to be able to:
- Use further prefixes and suffixes and understand the guidance for adding them (such as able and ible)
- Spell some words with silent letters (such as knight)
- Continue to distinguish between homophones and other words which are often confused
- Use knowledge of morphology and etymology in spelling
- Use dictionaries to check the spelling and meaning of words
- Use a thesaurus
By the end of Year 6, children are expected to understand and be able to meet the challenging spelling demands outlined in the National Curriculum. Children's knowledge is assessed through a grammar, punctuation and spelling test that children sit in May as part of a week of national tests.
At Branfil we follow the Read Write Inc. Spelling Programme. This begins in year 2 and continues until year 6. Each child will receive a daily spelling lesson. Your child will bring home their spelling log book every week to consolidate and practice what they have been learning at school. You may like to photograph the page in the log book so you can keep it for reference at home.How can I support my child's spelling at home?
1. Encourage children to have a go at spelling a new word. Only help if they ask you to.
2. Make sure children remember to use their phonics as they try to spell a word. Phonics is the main way that children are taught to spell at the start of primary school. Encouraging children to break the word they want to spell into its individual sounds and then try to match those sounds to the letters of the alphabet is really important. Reminding children to segment frog into its four sounds, sounds like such a basic way of supporting spelling, but practising it is so important if it is to become second nature.
3. Help your child with their spelling homework. Each week your child will be bringing home their log book with spellings to learn from that week. If they are struggling to remember them, you might:
- Draw their attention to any patterns or groups of letters in the words, making links to the phonics they've been taught: which letters are making the sound here? Yes, it's the ai, just like in gain and Spain. That's different to the at sound in play, isn't it?
- You can focus children's attention on the tricky bits in a word by asking them to circle them. For example, show them that said has ai in the middle and ask them to write the word, and then circle this part to help them remember.
4. Ask children to write down the words that they need to remember how to spell. The physical act of writing the words by hand helps to anchor the spelling in children's memories and encourages them to think about the letters that represent the sounds in the word. You just don't get the same benefits if children type the words into a PC or tablet.
5. Hidden words is a game that you can prepare yourself. Write the words on your child's spelling list, hidden in a series of letters. Now that they are hidden, ask your child to find them. For example:
sfhplayknc - play
qrubitpdh - bit
nvzbikejfa - bike
Your child could circle the hidden words with coloured pens. To raise the challenge, you could set a time limit on the game. For example, how many words can you find in one minute?
6. Making silly sentences can be great fun. Challenge your child to write a silly sentence, including as many of the words on their spelling list as possible. For example, your child may have to learn room, took, hoop, foot, book. They could make up a silly sentence such as The boy took his book across the room but got his foot caught in a hoop. Again they could draw illustrations to go with the sentences.
7. Remind children to read through their writing and check for spelling errors. They need to develop a feel for whether a word looks right. They could underline words they are not sure of and then you could both check with a dictionary.
8. Over-pronunciation is a great spelling strategy. So for Wednesday encourage children to say Wed-nes-day as they write. There are lots of words which feature sounds that aren't always pronounced clearly (such as words ending in -ed), so asking children to over-pronounce these when spelling can also be useful (for example, teaching children to say hopped or skipped instead of jumpt can be a huge help).
9. Playing spelling games
Playing games such as hangman can help children to learn about spelling in an enjoyable way. Online games such as Word Worm for KS1 (https://www.oxfordowl.co.uk/for-home/kids-activities/games--1/) can be motivating too.
Finally, remember that learning to spell is a gradual process and children need to go through this at their own pace. Children learn best at home when they enjoy what they are doing so try to keep spelling activities fun and lively.
At Branfil, we want children to have a head full of words and not a head full of worriesHappy spelling!