At Riverside, we want all of our children to become competent readers, writers, speakers and listeners and we believe we can do this by enthusing and motivating them. Our school views the acquisition of English skills to be a vital, fundamental tool through which will support life skills necessary for next steps in education. Consequently, the teaching of all the aspects of English are given a high priority. It is our intention to immerse our children in the wonders of quality texts to instil a love for reading, a passion for discovery and a confidence to explore their imagination.
We follow the National Curriculum through a topic based system and most of our subjects are taught in a cross-curricular way. The children are exposed to a wide range of reading and writing styles/genres and are able to make progress whilst writing for a variety of different purposes and audiences. Topics are planned with a clear English focus and teachers ensure that English skills including Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar are taught through the topic wherever possible, as well as being taught discretely. We believe this will motivate and enthuse our children and therefore allow them to become confident and skilful in English and most importantly enjoy it. Throughout each Key Stage, every opportunity is taken to apply progressive English skills in all areas of the curriculum, build on pupils’ previous knowledge and develop these further. Emphasis is paid on children becoming proficient at editing and improving their own work and that of their peers. This is developed throughout the school from a young age. Children use purple polishing pens to edit and improve their work.
We strive to ensure that our children’s attainment in both Reading and Writing is in line with or exceeds their potential. All children are assessed against the National Curriculum for Reading and Writing and are given specific targets through pupil conferences, marking and feedback. Children are given clear next steps to enable them to make progress and ultimately, become more confident readers and writers as they make their journey through the school, mastering comprehension skills, writing at length and the manipulation of grammar and punctuation.
Our aims in teaching English are:
to enable our children to develop the necessary knowledge, skills, and understanding to use the English language confidently, appropriately and accurately to the best of their ability,
to enable our children to speak clearly and audibly, and to take account of their listeners,
to enable our children to listen to the spoken word attentively with understanding, pleasure and empathy and make appropriate responses,
to show our children how to adapt their speech to a wide range of circumstances and demands,
to teach our children effective communication, both verbal and non-verbal, through a variety of drama activities,
to enable our children to become confident, independent readers, reading a wide variety of materials accurately, fluently and with understanding for enjoyment and for information,
to develop enthusiastic and reflective readers, through contact with challenging and substantial texts,
to foster the enjoyment of writing, and a recognition of its value,
to encourage accurate and meaningful writing, be it narrative or non-fiction; for a range of audiences and purposes using a wide range of vocabulary, grammar, punctuation, spelling, and syntax,
to develop high quality handwriting and presentational skills and with increasing confidence,
to improve the planning, drafting and editing of their written work,
to enable our children to have the opportunity to develop the key skills of communicating, working with others, improving own learning and performance, problem solving and thinking skills.
Children are encouraged, from an early age, to become independent readers in order to support learning in other subjects. We aim to develop children’s reading skills through daily reading and a wide range of books and resources within school, including the Oxford Reading Tree scheme. We take part in Buster's Book Club each week which promotes reading at home. Therefore, parents and carers are actively encouraged to support their child by reading with them each day.
The teaching of phonics (the reading of letters) begins in EYFS and continues into Key Stage 1 where the children have a daily phonics lesson, helping them to become confident, competent and independent readers and writers. We follow the 'Letters and Sounds' phonics scheme. More information about phonics and how we teach it can be found on our parents tab, under parent workshops.
Punctuation and grammar is vital and is taught across both Key Stages 1 and 2. Children are taught to identify different areas of punctuation and grammar and be able to apply these in their writing. Emphasis is placed on ensuring that children’s writing is engaging and interesting for the reader and that children enjoy writing. The school provides lots of opportunities to write for a purpose and regularly shares examples of good writing across the whole school. This includes our termly whole school Big Write Competition, which allows children to write independently in a range of genres.
Opportunities for drama and discussion are included to further enhance language development. We aim to develop children’s speaking and listening skills to help support their development into being able to participate fully as a member of society.
We believe that the more children read and become engaged in reading and drama, the better their writing and confidence will be. We want to encourage creative, thoughtful and engaging writers and aim to enable all children to be able to express themselves through their writing, and become confident, avid readers.
Phonics and Spellings
In FS and KS1, we teach phonics daily mainly following the 'Letters and Sounds' scheme and teaching the 6 phases. For more information see our phonics link on the 'About us' tab.
In Year 2 and KS2, we use the Twinkl scheme of work to teach spellings daily. Through this, the children are taught spelling patterns and rules, and carry out many activities during the week to reinforce the spellings before their weekly spelling test. The children also have access to an online spelling resource, Spellodrome, which can be used at school and at home.
Cursive handwriting is taught throughout the school to develop and support independent, joined writing. To support those for whom writing may be a struggle, there are small group interventions. Children are expected to take pride in their work and therefore we promote a high standard of presentation.
Reading and Writing Expectations
The documents below will show you the key objectives for each year group. It is expected that by the end of the relevant year, children will be able to do the things listed, confidently and independently.
King Fu Punctuation
We learn Kung Fu Punctuation throughout the school to help us to remember the punctuation marks. Have a go at home.