What English looks like at St. Laurence
At St Laurence, reading is at the heart of learning and underpins our whole curriculum. The intent of our reading curriculum is to promote the importance of reading as a lifetime skill, providing children with enjoyment and excitement and an opportunity to gain information about the world around them.
We are determined that every child leaves primary education a confident, fluent reader with a passion for books and a thirst for knowledge.
Teachers read out loud regularly to their class, modelling fluency, prosody and use of expression. Teachers cho0se texts based on their own and the children’s interests, topics covered in class and new, exciting recently published texts covering diverse, current themes from a range of authors. The aim of these sessions is to inspire a love of reading and create a shared experience of high-quality, engaging literature.
Daily Whole Class Reading lessons focus on carefully chosen texts that expose the children to a range of fiction and non-fiction writing. These sessions help children to hone their skills of inference, deduction, explanation, retrieval and prediction; they also allow children to express their own opinions on a text and to explore the author’s choice of vocabulary.
As part of our Accelerated Reader scheme, children’s reading levels are assessed regularly so that they are reading high-quality literature aimed at their reading ability. Children are assigned a book “band” that covers a range of AR levels in order to widen choice and engagement. For example, Band D covers AR levels 4.0 to 4.9 which contains hundreds of up-to-date, engaging books from which children can choose. In addition to our vast library of books in school, children have access to over 6,000 online books via MyOn, a digital library of books that they can access both at home and in school. With regular communication between teachers and families, the home-school reading partnership is key to promoting enjoyment and progress.
All children are assessed on their phonics knowledge when they start at St Laurence. Those that require extra support receive regular interventions using the systematic, synthetic phonics programme Read Write Inc. RWI’s Fresh Start programme, which is tailored towards older children needing phonics intervention, is the focus of group support in Upper School.
Regular, small group sessions following the RWI programme enable them to become fluent readers and writers. Children are assessed termly on their progress and interventions are targeted at their level to ensure rapid progress. All teaching and support staff are trained in RWI phonics delivery and undergo annual refresher training so that best practice is maintained.
Writing at St Laurence is a journey. Beginning with a focus on vocabulary, grammar and punctuation, children build up step by step from word-level work, through sentence-level to whole text writing. Each unit begins with a hook to engage the children, with inspirations ranging from dramatic animations, Science and History topics, whole novels, picture books and short stories. At the core of every writing unit are the children’s interests and topics reflect the varied, diverse curriculum that we follow.
Talk is integral to the writing process. Pupils discuss ideas with talk partners prior to writing and continuously feedback ideas to the class teacher. Drama is also used to support writing either as part of or as a whole lesson. Speaking and listening skills are embedded throughout our school day from wellbeing discussions in morning registration to the class reflection at the end of day.
Each unit culminates in a final, published piece of writing and children quite rightly take pride in the neat presentation of their literacy achievements, which are celebrated through displays and shared with peers and families.
Grammar, punctuation and spelling are taught both discretely in standalone GPS lessons and as part of writing units. The intent of our GPS curriculum is to make grammar accessible and achievable for all pupils to master as it underpins both our spoken and written communications and allows us to be clearly understood by others.
Spellings are differentiated according to need and ability. Each week, children learn a specific spelling set on the fun, interactive Sir Linkalot spelling app and then receive targeted spellings to learn each week; spellings are sent home to learn and are also practised daily through games in class.
English Curriculum Map