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Reading for pleasure underpins our English curriculum, as we prepare the children for a lifetime love of books. All children are exposed to a carefully selected range of high quality texts and whole class reading takes place regularly throughout the key stages.

Reading and Phonics

At St. Andrew’s, we aim to promote an enthusiasm for reading as soon as children enter the school.

EYFS and Key Stage One

A love of books is supported by a variety of teaching methods, beginning with a structured phonics programme (Letters and Sounds) in the early stages of learning to read. Daily phonics lessons take place in Reception and Year 1. In Year 2, these lessons continue, but the emphasis is more on learning to read and spell words from specific word families, root words and spelling patterns.

One-to-one reading in school is crucial to the support of the early development of skills and we value the supportive role of parents when reading at home.

Daily Supported Reading (DSR)  – Children in Year 1 take part in the (DSR) programme. This is extended in Year 2 with guided reading sessions. Guided reading is an integral part of our learning, whereby children work in small groups with an adult and explore a text through lively discussion and exposure to thought-provoking and challenging questions. Ruth Miskin phonetically- levelled books and colour banded books are used as home readers.

In Year 2, some of the key comprehension skills are taught through whole class texts or extracts. This enables the child to have experience of reading a range of texts, as well as helping them to increase their understanding of vocabulary.

Key Stage Two

In Key Stage Two, teachers use higher order questioning techniques, mostly modelled on Bloom’s Taxonomy to engage children in critical thinking about texts. For some very able children in Year 6, the children lead their own discussions on the text they are reading.

Guided Reading and independent reading takes place every day. In addition to this, all teachers read stories to the class throughout the week.

Whole class texts and extracts are used in English lessons. These are chosen carefully to engage our children and offer a rich and varied language. Whole class texts enable the teacher to teach key comprehension skills where needed, as well as immerse the class in a range of modern and classic texts.

Newspapers are delivered every fortnight in the upper school and are often used as guided reading texts.

Reading buddies  Older children read with some younger children to boost their confidence with reading. Our class buddy system also supports reading for pleasure across the school.

Writing

Our English lessons are based around high quality texts. Over a week or more, children will be introduced to a book or extract. They look for the key features and structure of the writing to understand the genre, consider the writer’s use of language and work towards producing their own piece of writing. This reading into writing model is followed throughout the school. Work is drafted, proof-read, edited, improved and refined, through whole class, guided and independent work. The rules of Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling  are taught as part the lessons, in line with the curriculum for children in Years 1 to 6. In addition, children in Year 6 follow an online SPAG programme, where they can practise these skills every week.

Children practise their speaking and listening skills in all areas of the curriculum. However, much emphasis is placed on drama and role play in our Church services, class assemblies, English lessons and some IPC units. Spellings are taught within the context of the lessons and homework for spellings is given out, based on the letter string or rule taught that week.

The children follow a cursive handwriting script, which is taught from Year 1. All children learn to form each lower case letter from the line, so that joining letters together becomes easier. It is a requirement for Year 6 pupils to demonstrate a cursive writing style, in order to achieve an expected level in writing.

Book Week, Arts Week and Parliament Week

At St. Andrew’s School, we enjoy our themed weeks. They provide enriched opportunities for children to develop and master their speaking and listening skills through debating, writing and performing speeches, taking part in drama activities and listening to a range of thought-provoking stories.

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