A child’s ability to communicate is vital to all aspects of their learning, so English learning cuts across all areas of the curriculum. We also plan for literacy-specific learning every day in school, in line with the expectations of the National Curriculum.
The aim is for all Fairlawn children to be confident and enthusiastic speakers, readers and writers, so we provide a broad range of daily activities for children to develop and apply their speaking, listening, reading and writing skills. Included in this provision are opportunities for public-speaking and drama activities and reading and writing in different styles and for different purposes.
At Fairlawn, we recognise the importance of reading as a lifelong skill. In order to foster a love of reading, and to apply phonics skills learnt in school, a home reading scheme is operated from reception through to Year 6, whereby children bring home books to share with their families each week. . Instilling a love of reading is a really important aim of our reading curriculum, so children do get opportunities throughout the week to read for pleasure.
We believe that a secure foundation in phonics makes the transition to fluent reading and writing much easier. We teach systematic, synthetic phonics from nursery to Year 2, and in Key Stage 2 where necessary. We use Twinkl phonics as our main scheme, which we adapt to best suit the needs of our children.
The use of engaging, relevant and high quality texts is central to our writing curriculum. These act as stimuli for children to develop and explore their writing skills. Children write for purpose wherever possible, on a theme linked to the half termly topic.
The teaching of writing follows 5 phases.
Phase 1) Cold Write: The children write a piece based on the genre they will be learning about. This is unaided and without input. This allows the teacher to plan the learning from the children’s starting points.
Phase 2) Immersion and ‘Have a go’ writing opportunities: This phase is about immersion in the text type. This is a crucial phase in the teaching of writing. The idea is to let the children see what a good one looks like. They need to pull this apart (not just language features but also thinking about text level objectives too). The learning wall will be used to display key learning from this stage. This phase may involve drama opportunities and short ‘Have a go’ writing opportunities (note taking, diary entries, character profiles etc).
Phase 3) Writing opportunities – building towards a writing outcome: Phase 3 will offer more ‘Have a go’ writing, but will also be preparing the children for their final written outcome. There may be a mixture of short writing outcomes and extended writing outcomes.
Phase 4) The final written outcome: Throughout this phase, the writing journey is scaffolded by modelling and shared writing.
Phase 5) Hot write: The children now write their own, independent version of the genre you have been studying
Grammar is not taught as a discrete subject, but is integrated into our English curriculum.
The children will have weekly spellings sent home to learn. These will consist of words from the National Curriculum statutory word list, as well as words that are commonly misspelt in their writing.
We teach spelling using a variety of techniques:
- Some words will follow a spelling rule – get children to explore these rules.
- For tricky words think about shape, size etc
- Breaking words into sounds (c-a-t)
- Breaking words into syllables (re-mem-ber)
- Break it into affixes (dis +satisfy)
- Use a mnemonic (necessary – one collar, two sleeves)
- Refer to a word in the same family (muscle – muscular) or parts of the word they already know.
- Say it as sounds/in a funny way (Wed-nes-day)
- Words within words (Parliament – I AM parliament)
- Refer to etymology (bi+cycle= 2 +wheels)
- Learn by sight (look-cover-write-check)
- Sing it!
At Fairlawn, children are encouraged to use a cursive script from Foundation Stage. Please see our Literacy Policy for more details.