The Languages Faculty is responsible for reading (including phonics) writing, speaking and listening, drama/role play and modern foreign languages (French).
English (Reading and Phonics, Writing, Grammar, Speaking and Listening)
All pupils in Key Stage 1 and 2 are taught according to the National Curriculum for English.
The main aims of the National English Curriculum is to:
"… promote high standards of literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the written and spoken word, and develop a love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment."
At Oliver Goldsmith, English is taught every day from Reception to Year 6. We use a variety of teaching strategies to develop children’s ability to read, write, speak and listen thoughtfully in English for different purposes and across a wide range of genres.
Our Vision for English
- Inspire a love of reading
- Develop children’s experiences of reading and writing across a range of genres
- To make every child fluent in reading and writing
- To use English as a medium for children to share their knowledge, skills and understanding
- Develop powers of imagination ,inventiveness and critical awareness
- Have a suitable technical vocabulary to articulate their responses; debate and discuss different ideas and to form opinions
In order to achieve our vision, we put a great emphasis on reading for pleasure, grammar and the development of good handwriting and spelling. There is also an emphasis on developing life-long skills such as discussing and debating; formal presentations; dictation and reciting poetry.
We strongly feel that strong writers are developed from strong readers. We aim to foster a love of reading as well as teach the skills of reading. Therefore one of our main priorities for our faculty is to continue to drive standards in reading and comprehension skills. We do this in many different ways:
- Daily phonics lessons (please see section below on phonics).
- Guided Reading lessons. This is where groups of children share a text and are listened to reading and have an opportunity to show their understanding through oral questions. Guided reading sessions take place at least 3 times a week in Reception to Year 6 depending of the needs of the children. Books are selected according to the children’s reading ability. The books are sent home so the children can embed the learning that has taken place in school at home with their families.
- Comprehension lessons. These take place at least once a week from Years 2-6. Children have an opportunity to share a text and answer a range of literal, deductive, inferential and evaluative questions by writing down their answers.
- Weekly library visits. Children have the opportunity to select books from the school library and their class library to read for pleasure. Children are encouraged to read these books in their free time.
- Home-School Reading Record. This enables teachers and parents to work in partnership to encourage an enjoyment of reading, discussing and sharing books and to further consolidate important inference and deduction skills.
- English Visitors and Visits. We have strong links with Wizard Theatre and take part in Book Weeks where authors/poets are invited to do performances/workshops. Year groups also invite authors in if they are studying a specific genre of text.
Letters and Sounds is a phonics resource published by the Department for Education and Skills in 2007. It aims to build children's speaking and listening skills in their own right as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. It sets out a detailed and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children starting by the age of five, with the aim of them becoming fluent readers by age seven.
We introduce phonics in Nursery where children learn the initial sounds of the alphabet and learn to write their name. Phonics is taught in this order:
Phase One (Nursery/Reception)
Activities are divided into seven aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting.
Phase Two (Reception) up to 6 weeks
Learning 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds together to make words. Segmenting words into their separate sounds. Beginning to read simple captions.
Phase Three (Reception) up to 12 weeks
The remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Graphemes such as ch, oo, th representing the remaining phonemes not covered by single letters. Reading captions, sentences and questions. On completion of this phase, children will have learnt the "simple code", i.e. one grapheme for each phoneme in the English language.
Phase Four (Reception) 4 to 6 weeks
No new grapheme-phoneme correspondences are taught in this phase. Children learn to blend and segment longer words with adjacent consonants, e.g. swim, clap, jump.
Phase Five (Throughout Year 1)
Now we move on to the "complex code". Children learn more graphemes for the phonemes which they already know, plus different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already know.
Phase Six (Throughout Year 2 and beyond)
Working on spelling, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters etc
We follow the guidance in ‘Letters and Sounds’ but phonics play for extra resources. Children are constantly assessed in lessons to ensure they are being challenged at all times. As well as daily assessment, children are also assessed every term and children change their streamed group if necessary.
Reception parents are invited to a meeting about how to support their child with reading and writing and we also run whole-school Parent Times on Reading, Phonics, Writing and the Year 1 Phonics Screening Test. This enables parents to ask questions and gain ideas of how to support their child at home.
During guided reading lessons, teachers carefully select the guided reading book depending on the reading ability of the children. We primarily use Project X across the whole school, from Reception to Year 6. Reception use a range of Project X and Oxford Reading Tree to ensure all children can access the books.
Within many English lessons, particular texts are used: large books (of which we have many) sometimes texts/extracts projected on the interactive whiteboard and whole-class readers. The children then become particularly familiar with the text and are often keen to read other texts by a particular author or on a particular subject.
We assess pupils using a range of formative and summative strategies. These include assessing children against the national curriculum criteria and using summative tests such as Rising Stars to see how well the children can apply the skills they have learned. This enables us to identify where the children are making progress and in which areas the children need extra support and input. We have many intervention strategies to support the children who are not making the expected progress, including small group-reading groups. Furthermore, careful monitoring and pupil progress meetings help us to be aware of which children need extra support.
Please find book lists below recommended by the Book Trust.
We believe that teaching children to understand the power of writing is an important part of our job as teachers. We equip the children with the correct writing skills; they will be able to use them effectively within a literate world.
We provide our children with a stimulating writing environment provide encouragement and good quality modelling of writing. We have clear expectations of writing and communicate these targets to the children. We have high expectations of the finished writing product and encourage the children to maintain the same standards at all times
We believe children write well stimulated by the high quality texts and genres they are exposed to by teachers. Our English curriculum has been written to ensure that children have high quality models to draw on in their own writing, and that they learn to think as writers, working with audience, purpose and composition in mind.
In order to do this children are taught to plan, write, edit and rewrite over several weeks working using models and detailed feedback from staff or peers..
Children are taught to write in a variety of styles in context such as persuasive, recounts, instructional, discursive, explanatory, reports as well as narrative (poetry and stories). Children learn how to vary sentences, make interesting and ambitious word choices, and use grammar and punctuation correctly. Each piece of written work is carefully supported through the use of a WALT (we are learning to) and a toll kit to guide the children. Children’s work is then marked by highlighting real successes (green for “got it”) and an area for improvement (pink for “think”). Teachers and children also regularly tick off their targets in their books which demonstrates what they have to achieve by the end of the year.
Grammar, Spelling and Punctuation (GPaS)
Our curriculum fully reflects the more rigorous emphasis on the teaching of spelling and grammar in primary schools. Children are taught explicit grammar and spelling skills in weekly lessons. Grammar skills are then practised during writing lessons, and spelling rules and conventions are taught before being learnt and practised for homework.
Speaking and Listening
The National Curriculum reflects the importance of spoken language in pupils’ development across the whole curriculum – cognitively, socially and linguistically. Spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing. The quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak are vital for developing their vocabulary and grammar and their understanding for reading and writing.
Therefore we ensure children have opportunities to explain their understanding of books and other reading, and to prepare their ideas before they write. During the children’s journey at Oliver Goldsmith, they have opportunities to improvise, devise and script drama for one another and a range of audiences, as well as to rehearse, refine, share and respond thoughtfully to drama and theatre performances. This is carried out through English lessons (role-play and hot seating), assembly performances and whole school productions.
Modern Foreign Language - French
We have invested in a specialist French teacher who works with all children across the school. As a result, the standard of French understood, spoken and written by children is high. Children build upon their skills each year so they leave in Year 6 with a great deal of coinfidence, ready to excel at High School. Find out more about French at OGPS on our French Page!