English sits at the heart of our curriculum – it is through language, story and text that children learn to form concepts, connect ideas and express themselves. Through literacy, in all its forms, children learn to both make sense of the world and shape their place within it.
Across both writing and reading, we place a heavy emphasis on developing a child’s vocabulary. By the time children leave The Laurels, the limited word count they arrived with in Reception will have greatly expanded, giving them the language they need to understand high level texts and express themselves in a wide range of contexts.
In all year groups, we teach writing through high-quality texts that offer children a real and relevant opportunity to respond and immersive real-life experiences.
Over their time at the school, children will write a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts, including recounts, news reports, explanation texts, poems, biographies, instructions and stories of all kinds. We use a range of stimuli and experiences to ignite the children which include props and artifacts through drama, role-play, storytelling and discussion to engage the imagination, before moving on to vocabulary exploration through word aware.
Throughout the Early Years and Key Stage 1 children are taught the key principles of writing in order to lay a solid foundation for developing their skills later on. An emphasis is placed on developing clear handwriting and pencil grip. Children are taught to apply their knowledge of phonics to help them spell accurately, and to structure their work, whether it be fiction writing or a set of instructions. Our curriculum teaches the children to add variation and description to their work by developing their vocabulary, including the use of interesting adjectives and adverbs and developing sentence structure using conjunctions and sentence openers. By the end of Key Stage 1 children have been taught the fundamentals of punctuation and grammar.
The curriculum gives a range of writing opportunities and genres across a year, teaching GPS content in context, working on a writing journey of continuous evaluation and improvement.
We want all our children at The Laurels to develop a lifelong love of reading. As a result, reading is held in high profile across the school with the library at its heart.
All children in KS1 have 3 guided reading sessions a week that are matched to their phonics phase. The lessons begin with a focus on key vocabulary and are broken into a decoding lesson, prosody lesson and comprehension lesson where all children take an active part. This is mirrored in KS2 with appropriate levelled texts.
At The Laurels, we use Accelerated Reader to assess and promote reading. This has proved to be a very valuable tool in
- engaging children with reading
- assessing children’s progress
- ensuring children access reading material at an appropriately challenging level
All children are assessed and read a book of an appropriate level and complete a quiz once the book is finished to measure their understanding. Word counts are celebrated weekly and rewarded during celebration assembly.
To check whether a book is on the Accelerated Reader scheme, or to check its level, go to www.arbookfind.co.uk
For further information, visit ‘Accelerated Reader:What You Need to Know’
Handwriting is taught daily in Reception and KS1 with mark making and patterns in Early Years all the way up to legible, joined handwriting in Year 6