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 language, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.
Speaking and Listening
At Keston our aim is for children to learn to communicate their thoughts, ideas and opinions clearly and succinctly, as well as to listen to and reflect on the ideas of others. We encourage children to turn-take in conversations and adapt their speech to a range of situations and audiences. From an early age, the children are encouraged to participate in a range of activities such as drama and role-play.
At Keston we want children to develop a life-long love for reading. Our aim is for our children to become independent, fluent and enthusiastic readers, who enjoy reading a variety of texts.
At Keston we teach phonics using Pearson’s systematic Phonics programme Bug Club Phonics. Children in Reception, Year 1, Year 2 and some children in Year 3 take part in daily Phonics lessons, learning the common sounds in the English language, how to sound-blend words for reading and develop skills in spelling. During the lessons, they read books containing sounds that have been taught so that they can achieve early success in reading. They also develop comprehension and sentence construction.
Children have opportunities to apply their developing phonic knowledge and skills in the context of shared reading during lessons as well as during individual reading sessions with a teacher or teaching assistant. The reading books are closely matched to the children’s phonics knowledge so that children can focus on fluency and understanding. Children who have completed the phonics programme have access to age appropriate texts for one to one and whole class reading so that they can focus on developing their vocabulary, fluency and understanding of a range of texts.
Reading for pleasure
At Keston we want children to develop enjoyment of reading. We encourage children to read for pleasure and to develop the ability to read fluently and with understanding.
We have two libraries that all classes have access to throughout the week, which are generously stocked with age appropriate and popular texts.
From year one we use VIPERS to support whole class teaching of reading.
VIPERS is an acronym to aid the recall of the 6 reading domains as part of the UK’s reading curriculum. They are the key areas which we feel children need to know and understand in order to improve their comprehension of texts. VIPERS stands for
• Sequence or Summarise
The 6 domains focus on the comprehension aspect of reading and not the mechanics: decoding, fluency, prosody etc. As such, VIPERS is not a reading scheme but rather a method of ensuring that teachers ask, and students are familiar with, a range of questions. They allow the teacher to track the type of questions asked and the children’s responses to these which allows for targeted questioning afterwards.
Writing is developed from an early age by mark making and activities to develop fine motor skills.
We aim for our children to develop their ability to write in a wide range of genres, including fiction, non-fiction and poetry.
In KS1 children are taught to use finger spaces, full stops and capital letters and progress to using other forms of punctuation such as question and exclamation marks. They are taught about using engaging and meaningful vocabulary to make their writing interesting. By the end of KS1, pupils begin to edit and improve to their writing.
In KS2, pupils develop competence in the accuracy of grammar, punctuation and spelling and the structure of text composition. Children are taught the skills of planning and drafting an extended piece of writing, organising their work coherently and the processes of evaluation and editing. Pupils will apply their skills through a range of genres, considering vocabulary and structures appropriate for the purpose and audience.