The English National Curriculum has three strands:
- Speaking and Listening
Through reading, writing and speaking and listening activities, children learn about a wide range of fiction and information text types. They are taught about:
- Comprehension and composition
- Grammar and punctuation
- Handwriting and spelling work
In Key Stage 1, the children build upon their work in the Foundation Stage. They learn to speak confidently and listen to what others have to say. They begin to read and write independently and with enthusiasm. They use their language to explore their own experiences and imaginary worlds.
In Key Stage 2, children learn to change the way they speak and write to suit different situations, purposes and audiences. They read a range of texts and respond to different layers of meaning in them. They explore the use of language and how it works.
At St. Patrick’s we teach English through a daily literacy hour. The hour includes:
- Some focussed whole class teaching;
- Some independent or teacher led group work;
- A plenary (a chance to reflect upon, consolidate and extend learning)
In addition, extra time is dedicated to activities such as reading, spelling and handwriting. We aim to be more creative in our approach to teaching English: using drama, games and real life audiences and purposes whenever possible.
What can parents do to help?
Listening to your child read is the most important homework.
- Regular special time
- Short and sweet
- Communicating with each other about the text
- Praise! Praise! Praise!
At least three reading journal comments per week – this should be filled in by the parent in KS1 to acknowledge reading has happened. In KS2, we expect a minimum of 4 reading comments made by the children themselves. (It is a good idea for parents to sign the reading journal each week to show that you have seen it).
Read to your child – even when they are in the juniors!
- Encourage/ model expression
- Getting them to join in – pointing at the text.
- Caring for books, model how books should be treated with respect.
Prompts when children are stuck
- Sound out (if appropriate).
- Search for words within words.
- First sound, follow on, and reread.
- Use picture cues.
- Ask which part of the word is hard.
Points for discussion
- Care for books.
- Look at cover, author, blurb.
- Make predictions.
- Compare to other similar texts.
- Share/discuss experiences
After or during reading
- Think of another title for this book.
- Think of words to describe the main character in the story.
- Think of a different ending.
- How would you have behaved if you were one of the characters?
- What do you think will happen next?
- Talk about the pictures.
- Talk about the bit you liked best.
- Talk about similar experiences.
- Retell the story.
Make writing purposeful
Ask children to write:
- A shopping list
- Instructions for something.
- A letter
- A story to be read aloud.
Do look for comments from the teacher that suggest specific improvements and help your children to make them.
- At parents evening
- In your child’s homework book
You can work with your children to help them follow these comments.
And above everything else...
Seek for a balance between encouraging your children to succeed and improve and accepting and loving them for who they are right now.
Point out that there are lots of ways to be clever and help them to focus on their strengths and their successes not their weaknesses and their failures. Encourage them to talk themselves up rather than talk themselves down.