In dedicated English lessons, spelling, punctuation and grammar is taught in engaging, relevant ways through a variety of genre, which is then reinforced in a cross-curricular fashion through other subjects, especially linked to our humanities curriculum.
In Nursery and Reception, children focus on pre-writing skills to build their muscle strength and coordination using programmes such as “Dough Disco”. By the end of Reception, they will be starting to form most letter shapes recognisably and will be beginning to understand that we can use writing to convey meaning, possibly in the form of a short sentence or caption. Our Read Write Inc. programme, especially the letter shape rhymes and “Hold a Sentence” strategy, helps them with their earliest sentence writing.
In Key Stage One, children focus on mastering the basics of writing (letter formation, simple sentences and basic punctuation). We use “Colourful Semantics” which colour code different parts of a sentence so children understand which ingredients a sentence needs. With these building blocks in place, in Key Stage Two, pupils will develop and refine their ‘writing voice’.
By exploring a wide range of genres, studying different authors and being exposed to guided writing, children will develop both their skills and knowledge of writing. Children will also have the opportunity to write for a variety of purposes and in real-life contexts, ensuring they foster an enthusiasm for writing.
Teachers select texts that may be relevant to our school themes to make learning purposeful and relevant. Most units planned will use 'Talk for Writing' so that children are able to learn a text before applying their skills and knowledge. Using the Talk for Writing approach, children learn a model text and then gradually innovate the text to create their own piece of writing, based on the original one. This allows children to have a scaffold to support their writing and removes ‘blank page’ syndrome. Using this approach, children are able to learn transcription skills and apply stylistic devices to it.
Right from the start of school, children are immersed in poems, rhymes and stories that given them a really solid understanding of story text structures and help to develop their love of reading.