At Holywell, the teaching of English is quite rightly one of our key priorities. Developing strong literacy skills provides the children the ability to access the wider foundation subject curriculum and is key to future academic success. It is not surprising therefore that the teaching of English is a large focus of our school day right from the moment the children start with us in EYFS.
Below you will find a link to our English overview which comprehensively details our approach to the teaching of English, including phonics, in all of its aspects. Additionally, you can find out more of our approach to the teaching of. You will find more information about the teaching of phonics on our dedicated phonics page within the curriculum section of this website.
Some of the key things we do throughout the school day to teach English are detailed below.
Daily English Lessons
From Y1 onwards, our children engage with daily English lessons of at least an hour. In these lessons the children explore the language and layout features of different text types and genres using high-quality, engaging texts. The way we teach English, particularly fiction units, ensures that all the children read at least 6 high-quality books in full each year. The children are also taught the spelling, punctuation and grammar requirements as set out in the English programmes of study in the National Curriculum before planning and writing their own versions of a wider range of different text types. More details of this can be found in our English overview document which is linked below.
Children from Y2-Y6 also engage in daily guided reading lessons. These sessions last approximately 30 sessions, and each week the children read a different high-quality text or text extract and are taught to 'pull apart' the vocabulary of the text and apply key reading skills such as summarising, retrieving, inference and prediction skills alongside others. More details of our approach to guided reading can be found in our English overview document which is linked below.
Wider Reading Across the Curriculum
We believe that the teaching of reading should not be limited to English or guided reading lessons, and therefore we use the approach 'learn to read so that we can read to learn'. We believe that in English and Guided reading lessons the children learn to read, and that our foundation subject teaching provides the children opportunity to apply there skills in order to 'read to learn'. This means that our humanities teaching, particularly history and geography, as well as Science have high quality texts linked to most lessons. As part of their foundation subject lessons, the children read these texts and retrieve key information in order to learn the lesson content, which is then followed up by high-quality explicit teaching and modelling to ensure the information read is well understood. Our history, geography and science overviews contain reading spines within which detail the high-quality texts used in each unit.
It is an expectation that class teachers spend at least 15 minutes each day reading a high-quality story to their class. These texts are carefully chosen to ensure that our children are exposed to a wide variety of diverse stories and story-tellers which expose them to a rich wide of culture and experience that they might not experience in their own daily lives.
The children are encouraged to read daily at home. In EYFS and KS1 the children have a reading challenge to engage with where they earn a book once they have hit their target number of books to read. In KS2 the class with the highest number of daily readers earns the Reading Trophy for their class. We regularly 'benchmark' the children's reading ability to ensure that each child has a home reading book that matches their reading ability and enables them to make progress. Once the children reach the highest book band level, they are considered free readers and join the Holywell Reading Challenge. As part of this, the children have to read 12 books over the course of the year: two classics, two modern classics, two contemporary novels and six free-choice. This ensures they read widely.