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English

‘Children should be taught to write and speak 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.’

(DfE New Curriculum document 2013)

Through our curriculum at Connaught, children are enabled to express themselves creatively and imaginatively whether they are immersed in reading, composing written texts or engaging in oral debates and presentations.

Reading

At Connaught, we are passionate about reading! We believe that exposure to literature fosters so much of what is essential to children's growth and development. We gain so much through reading:

  • the ability to communicate effectively
  • the means to seek information
  • safe exploration of different emotions 
  • opportunities to experience and learn about the wider world
  • extended and varied vocabulary 
  • tolerance and understanding of other cultures

In addition to our beautiful library, classrooms all have inviting book corners and displays that celebrate the joys of reading. Teachers model good habits by sharing what they are reading at home; we also dedicate one assembly each week to reading to the children. The school runs annual book days, book fairs, Extreme Reading competitions and Readathon challenges to further promote reading.

ERIC (Everyone Reading in Class)

Our timetable prioritises daily ERIC sessions in which all the children have the opportunity to access and analyse a quality text from start to finish; for these sessions, books are selected at a higher level than might be read independently to provide appropriate challenge and engagement. Skills are developed through a structured cycle: 

  • Objective-led questioning, e.g. exploring the difference between fact and opinion, or predicting what will happen next.
  • Immersion activities, e.g. drama, hot-seating. 
  • Assessment-style questions.

Support

Where necessary, specific phonics support is offered to develop children’s reading skills through the use of interventions such as Read, Write Inc and the online Lexia programme. 

Those children who require a more structured approach to reading have access to the Book Banded books to help them to continue to grow in confidence as readers with a text that is appropriate for their age group.

Reading at Home:

Children choose library books or their own texts to take home and read; they are encouraged to record their own thoughts and opinions about the books in their homework diary.

Suggested Reading List for Year 3

Suggested Reading List for Year 4

Suggested Reading List for Year 5

Suggested Reading List for Year 6

These lists are intended to be a guide to books suitable for children in Key Stage 2. Covering a range of genres, the lists are drawn from a number of sources including teachers own recommendations; suggestions by respected authors; reading lists suggested by other schools and the National Literacy Trust’s website.

Some of the texts are more difficult to read than others and care should be taken when choosing those which your child might enjoy. Try the ‘Five Finger Test’ – open the book at random and ask your child to read aloud, holding out a finger for each word they do not know or cannot pronounce. Just one finger and the book is probably too easy; two or three fingers is an appropriate level; four might be too challenging and perhaps a book to read with an adult; five fingers suggests this is a book to leave until they are a little older.

For more information on how to support your child’s reading, please read the following documents:

Supporting Reading at Home

Activities When Hearing Readers

Questions to Ask

Writing

The children are given frequent opportunities in school to write in different contexts and for a variety of audiences, using quality texts as a model. An increasing shift towards a wholly cross curricular approach means that the children’s writing always has purpose, such as creating promotional material for their own travel agency or writing to the government about environmental issues: this results in deeper engagement and motivation.

Opportunities to ‘jump start’ writing are regularly provided through carefully planned drama, role play, hot seating and film clips. Children may be asked to produce their writing on their own or as part of group; they are also given the opportunity to use ICT for their writing.

SPaG (spelling, punctuation and grammar) knowledge drives the writing curriculum, allowing children to choose appropriate vocabulary and grammatical structures and thus enhance the impact of their writing on the reader. There is a clear progression of skills from Year 3 to Year 6 and these are reflected in 'non-negotiables' that the children have as a constant point of reference. 

Please find below some further documents which may help you to support your child with their writing:

Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar: Parent Workshop

Tips for Better Writing

New Curriculum Glossary

Spoken Language

Speaking and listening skills are vital in all learning and social situations. We encourage our pupils to speak clearly and articulate their views and opinions by encountering a range of situations, activities and audiences, which are designed to develop confidence and competence.

Our children have many opportunities to hone these skills through active participation in a range of different activities, such as:

  • Bi-annual class talks, independently prepared and presented to peers
  • Class debates
  • Circle Time in PSHE
  • Drama activities
  • School council meetings
  • End of term Topic Celebrations
  • School productions 

Homework

Children are expected to read aloud at home at least five times per week, making a reflective comment about they have read in their homework diary. Parents are required to sign the reading record and this is then monitored by the teacher. It is important to hear your child read and ask them questions about the text to ensure they comprehend what they have read. (See the link above under 'Reading' for suggested questions). There will usually be a SPAG focus area linked to home reading. 

Children should practise their spellings each week; they are given weekly spellings from the National Curriculum Spellings lists, as well as half-termly spellings which can be found in their homework diary. 

Statutory spelling lists

Weblinks

Please use the following links for KS2 English skills practice and guidance:

Useful websites for English:

Instruction and activities on Reading, Writing and SPaG:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/ks2/english/

Links to online skills practice:

http://www.crickweb.co.uk/ks2literacy.html

http://www.topmarks.co.uk/english-games/7-11-years/spelling-and-grammar

Comprehensive list of links to various areas of English:

http://www.primaryhomeworkhelp.co.uk/literacy/index.htm

Literacy ‘Boot Camp’ for upper KS2 (first 5 days free)

http://www.compare4kids.co.uk/literacy.php