What English looks like at St Laurence
At St Laurence, reading is the cornerstone of learning and forms the foundation of our entire curriculum. Our reading curriculum aims to instil a lifelong love of reading in children and encourage them to discover the world around them. Our goal is to ensure that every child completes primary education as a competent and confident reader, with a genuine passion for books and a drive to acquire knowledge.
To achieve this, our teachers read aloud to the class regularly. They select books based on both the students and their own interests, classroom themes, and popular contemporary works by diverse authors. The intention is to inspire children’s love for reading and create a shared experience of engaging, high-quality literature.
Whole Class Reading sessions centre on carefully chosen texts, designed to expose children to various kinds of fiction and non-fiction writing while developing their inference, deduction, explanation, retrieval, prediction and vocabulary skills. These lessons also allow pupils to express their views on a text and explore the author’s choice of vocabulary.
Our Accelerated Reader program supports this endeavour. Children are regularly evaluated to determine their reading levels, and they are assigned a mini-ZPD range that includes a variety of AR levels to expand their choices and engagement. Students visit our library every day and choose from thousands of up-to-date, engaging books. Furthermore, they have instant access to over 6,000 digital books through MyOn’s online library, which they can use both at home and in school. We maintain regular contact with parents to encourage reading at home, fostering a home-school reading partnership to encourage progress and enjoyment.
Phonics play a pivotal role in our approach to reading. We assess every student’s phonics knowledge when they enrol at St Laurence. Pupils requiring extra support receive Read Write Inc’s synthetic phonics programme, including Fresh Start, which caters to older children who require phonics skills instruction. Regular smaller group sessions follow the RWI programme, allowing children to become fluent readers and writers. We assess children’s progress every term and target interventions at their level to expedite their progress. All teaching and support staff receive training in RWI phonics delivery and attend regular refresher training to ensure best practices are maintained.
Our writing programme focuses on the journey of discovery, beginning with vocabulary building, grammar, punctuation, and sentence construction, and graduating to entire text composition. Every unit begins with an activity that piques the students’ interest, drawing inspiration from Science, History, whole books, picture books, and short stories. At the heart of every writing unit, children’s interests inform the topics we cover, showcasing our diverse, varied curriculum.
Talk plays a crucial role in writing at St Laurence. Students brainstorm ideas with their partners before writing and continuously provide feedback to their teacher and peers. Drama also supports writing as part of lessons or even part of the curriculum. Speaking and listening skills are embedded in all aspects of the school day, from wellbeing discussions in morning registration, to end-of-day class reflections.
Each unit culminates in a final piece of writing, which is accompanied by neat presentation and celebrated through displays and shared with peers and family.
Our GPS (Grammar, Punctuation, and Spelling) programme focuses on making grammar accessible and attainable for all pupils. We believe that grammar underpins spoken and written communication and helps us to express ourselves clearly. In addition to stand-alone GPS lessons, our writing and Whole Class Reading lessons teach punctuation, spelling, and grammar through explicit instruction and application.
Spellings are differentiated based on ability, and students learn a specific spelling set each week, as part of Spelling Shed’s interactive scheme. Additionally, students receive weekly targeted spelling, which they practise every day through classroom games and learn at home.
Overall, at St Laurence, we firmly believe in a holistic approach to reading and writing. Through high-quality teaching, focus on each child’s unique abilities, and regular assessments, we aim to foster a love of reading and writing that stays with our students throughout their lifetime.
English Curriculum Map