At St. Paul’s we believe the exposure of children’s literature within the primary school setting is vital as a rich context for learning; not only within English as a subject but to support building a reading culture throughout the school. We aim to use high quality texts as a means of developing the spoken language requirements through debate, drama and discussion using the issues raised through, and within, the text.
By placing books at the core of our English curriculum, we are allowing teachers to use the text as the context for the requirements of the national curriculum. We believe that a context for learning is vital – and this is where our chosen approach can support teachers with ensuring that objectives for reading and writing, including those for grammar can have purpose. We will always aim for our writing opportunities to be meaningful, whether short or long and that the audience is clear. Books offer this opportunity: our final aim would be that children have real reasons to write, whether to explain, persuade, inform or instruct and that where possible, this can be embedded within text or linked to a curriculum area. Writing in role using a range of genres is key to our approach as is writing a critique of the text and making comparisons. Our expectations for writing ensure that by the end of their primary education, all pupils can write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.
- We use class novels and picture books as a stimulus to writing.
- We plan to use the Literacy Tree as a starting point, ensuring our planning follows the format of immersion, gathering content and drafting, writing and editing.
- We plan and teach the grammar curriculum in context within our English lessons (please refer to the grammar skills for each year band.)
- We complete ‘text marking’ activities during the reading phase of each unit to ensure pupils are familiar with the features of each text type and the style and tone required.
- We use high quality texts, modelling and shared/ collaborative writing to demonstrate good practice.
- We provide time for planning, proof-reading and editing.
- We allow children to edit in purple pens to identify and encourage the editing process.
- We use success criteria to support extended writing opportunities.
- We complete an extended writing piece twice in each unit, one piece at the end of week one and the final piece at the end of the unit.
- We assess extended writing using the frameworks or yearly writing objectives.
- We encourage cursive joined handwriting to support spelling and speed.
- We encourage regular opportunities for cross-curricular writing.
Planning, writing and editing
· Text marking activities. (finding features)
· Analysing language choices and their effectiveness.
· Exploring the text as a reader – how does it make us feel?
· Exploring the text as a writer
· Practising skills in context which are relevant to the genre/ unit outcome.
· Teacher modelled writing (to be displayed on working walls.)
· Shared writing in groups.
· Planning the final piece of writing using a planning template.
· Drafting the final draft of writing (over two lessons).
· Proof-reading for spelling and punctuation errors using purple pen.
· Editing an aspect of the text using editing strips.
We encourage our pupils to have a wide and growing vocabulary in a number of ways, these include:
- Spelling lists/ key words to take home and learn.
- Use of knowledge organisers to promote key vocabulary in History, Geography and Science.
- Display of key words linked to writing displayed on class writing walls.
- Weekly comprehension lesson focusing on vocabulary, using VIPERS.
- Modelling the correct vocabulary verbally.
- Using dictionaries, word logs, thesaurus and similar programmes.
- Targeted one to one/ small group support, where appropriate.
At St. Paul’s we teach the statutory requirements as set out in the New English Curriculum Spelling Appendix. To help with this, we use the Spelling Shed throughout school to support the learning of spelling.
- In Key Stage 1, children are taught, alongside phonic sessions the statutory word lists for their year group during spelling sessions.
- In Key Stage 2,, Spelling Shed is used to teach spelling patterns.
- Weekly spelling scores are recorded and shared with the writing subject leader every half term. This will inform any interventions which may need to take place.
- the Statutory Word lists for years 3 and 4 and years 5 and 6 are taught in addition to the spelling requirements.