At Headcorn Primary School we use a variety of teaching and learning styles in English lessons, guided by the National Curriculum and the Renewed English Framework. Our principal aim is to develop children’s knowledge, skills, and understanding of English.
Children have the opportunity to experience a wide range of texts and use a range of resources such as dictionaries, thesauruses and individual whiteboards to support their work. Children use ICT in English lessons where it enhances their learning, as in drafting their work and using multimedia to study how words and images are combined to convey meaning.
Wherever possible we encourage children to use and apply their learning in other areas of the curriculum. The children’s skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening enable them to communicate and express themselves in all areas of their work in school.
Young children are helped to understand the process of writing as they write in a variety of genres. Writing needs a source and it needs a motivation. Connections need to be made with the purposeful everyday writing they observe in their homes and communities, for example, leaflets, advertisements, fliers, comics, stories, newspapers, etc.
From the moment children realise that print conveys meaning they are on a magical journey. When they reach their destination they will have become masters of their own writing. It is our privilege at Headcorn Primary School to be able to share this journey with children to witness the development of these skills and the delight the children show in their mastery of them.
English is planned for carefully using the National Curriculum and the revised framework. Acknowledgement of different learning styles is important and we always aim to plan a range of activities within the learning objective that allows all children to be fully involved, and actively so.
Children are encouraged to write with an audience in mind, for a particular purpose and in a style appropriate to the purpose. To do this, children must have ownership of the writing process in terms of deciding what they should write. Children also have opportunities to write every day, talk about their writing with other people, produce drafts, revise their work as a result of discussions, and present their work for others to read.
What was your favourite story as a child? Can you remember the characters, the setting, the plot and the ending? Why was it your favourite? Has that got you thinking? Has it captured your imagination?
Stories give an enormous amount of pleasure to all ages. Nothing can give a more awe-inspiring picture than that of a young child enthralled and wrapped up in a story being told.
At Headcorn Primary School we recognise that it is not only necessary to master the skill of reading but to have a passion for it as well; reading is at the heart of everything we do. It opens the door to a wealth of opportunities and experiences that otherwise would be unreachable.
Children respond naturally to what they have read. However, reading itself can be a fairly solitary activity and much of the response that occurs during reading may not be expressed or explored unless sharing times are arranged as an important part of classroom practice. We respond to literature in many different ways. Children respond naturally by laughing, talking, asking questions, acting out, requesting that the book be read again, drawing or even by going quiet and sitting captivated.
This is why we, as a whole school, have timetabled a daily reading session where each class is read to by an adult. As well as broadening the children’s ‘story bank’ by hearing a range of well-known texts such as fairy tales, nursery rhymes, legends and myths, they are also given time to discuss and reflect upon what they have heard without the added pressure of reading the text themselves.
Our children’s first experience of reading for themselves is first taught through Read, Write Inc. Phonics Programme (see previous section for more information). Following this, the children will be given many opportunities to develop fluency, pace and understanding of what they are reading. Regularly they are asked to share their responses to a text and discuss meanings, emotions evoked, authors intentions and such through Guiding Reading, with an adult leading the discussion. This can then be mirrored through shared and paired partner reading and also allowing independent times where a child can sit quietly and enjoy a book of their choosing.