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Phonics:

Phonics are the sounds that letters make and learning them helps children to decode words and begin to read and write. We teach children to read using synthetic phonics through the 'Letters and Sounds' programme. ‘Letters and Sounds' is organised in phases that build the complexity of the phoneme (smallest unit of sound) and graphemes (the letters used to write the sounds) taught.

We use a rich variety of resources to support this programme, including Jolly Phonics, Phonics Play and phonically decodable reading books, all of which enable us to adapt learning styles to meet the needs of the children in each class and group.

Children in Reception class learn phonics every day as a whole class, with individual teaching as support throughout the week. Year 1 and 2 children learn phonics every day and are grouped by their ability and stage of learning across three phonics groups.

All children who do not meet the required standard in the Phonics Screening Check at the end of Year 1 have additional support through targeted interventions in Year 2, 3 and 4 as required. Further assessments may be required for children who have not met the standard by the end of Year 2.

Whole Class Reading

At Radford Semele C of E Primary School, Reading VIPERS is used to support children with their reading comprehension skills. VIPERS includes a range of reading prompts based on the 2016 reading Content Domain Areas (CDAs) found in the National Curriculum Test Framework.

Each classroom will have the Reading VIPERS displayed in the reading area of their classroom and the class teacher will make explicit links to the skill the children will be learning about. This gives all children across the school a common language to discuss their reading knowledge and understanding.

(Key stage 1      S = Sequence)

 

Whole class reading sessions will provide children with the opportunity to access a wide range of literary genres. A three week rolling programme will be followed throughout the school:

  • Week 1 – fiction

  • Week 2 – non-fiction

  • Week 3 – poetry/picture/film 

Texts will be specifically chosen to develop childrens’ knowledge within Theme, Science or RE.   

 

Teachers carefully select up to 5 key vocabulary words they want the children to learn that week. These will be taught, over-learnt and embedded throughout the rest of the week during VIPER sessions and across the wider school day to allow for children to use these words in different contexts. Where appropriate, they are applied during English and Theme sessions.

 

Children read during these sessions in a variety of different ways. They may hear the teacher model fluent reading and then have time to reread the same extract themselves, they may read individually and feedback, work in groups, take turns in pairs or read aloud to the their peers. A number of these different strategies may be used during one session.

 

Years 1 through to 4 will spend 2 days working on fluency and the remaining 3 days focusing on VIPERS skills. Years 5 and 6 will spend 1 day focusing of fluency and the remaining 4 days developing VIPERS skills. Teachers plan up to 3 key questions each session based on the content domain being focused on, making use of the VIPERS question stems.

Children are encouraged to orally speak the answer before writing anything down acknowledging their first answer may not always be their best. We use a maximum of 3 question each session to ensure children have time to provide quality answers (at times children are given sentence stems and vocabulary that is expected to be used within their answer).

 

Whole Class Reading Timetable (Years 1-4)

 

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Introduce 5 vocabulary words and definitions.

 

Teacher to read through text, modelling the reading thought process.

 

Teacher to ask quick fire retrieval questions

Recap vocabulary

 

Text to be read out loud again using a number of strategies – individual children to read aloud, choral reading, echo reading, independent reading.

 

Teacher to ask children to summarise/

sequence the text

Recap vocabulary

 

Retrieval/

Explain

Teacher to model answer a question, modelling their thought process to the class.

 

Children to answer up to 3 questions.

Recap vocabulary

 

Inference

Teacher to model answer a question, modelling their thought process to the class.

 

Children to answer up to 3 questions.

Recap vocabulary (has anyone been able to apply them to their theme/English work?)

 

Summarise/

Sequence

Predict

Teacher to model answer a question, modelling their thought process to the class.

 

Children to answer up to 3 questions.

 

Whole Class reading timetable (Years 5 and 6)

 

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Introduce 5 vocabulary words and definitions.

 

Teacher to read through text, modelling the reading thought process.

 

Text to be read out loud again using a number of strategies – individual children to read aloud, choral reading, echo reading, independent reading.

 

Teacher to ask quick fire retrieval questions

Recap vocabulary

 

 

Retrieval/

Explain

Teacher to model answer a question, modelling their thought process to the class.

 

Children to answer up to 3 questions.

Recap vocabulary

 

 

Inference

Teacher to model answer a question, modelling their thought process to the class.

 

Children to answer up to 3 questions.

Recap vocabulary

 

 

Inference

Teacher to model answer a question, modelling their thought process to the class.

 

Children to answer up to 3 questions.

Recap vocabulary (has anyone been able to apply them to their theme/English work?)

 

Summarise/

Sequence

Predict

Teacher to model answer a question, modelling their thought process to the class.

 

Children to answer up to 3 questions.

 

 

 

 

Writing

Writing, at Radford Semele C of E Primary School, is taught as part of our daily English Theme lessons and across other curriculum areas. We endeavour to create stimulating and meaningful opportunities for children to write across the curriculum.

Writing begins in the Early Years. In the mark-making area, children are shown how to hold mark-making implements with a secure tripod grip and are provided with materials and ideas to encourage them to draw, colour and write letters, words and letter-like shapes. Children are further encouraged to use ‘writing’ in all areas of their play including outdoors.

In Key Stages 1 and 2, we teach children to understand a range of genres, building on children’s understanding year after year, ensuring continuity and progression in the teaching of English. We endeavour to provide our children with a clear purpose and audience for writing.

We have adopted a thematic approach to our writing which provides children with the opportunity to combine their geographical or historical knowledge with their writing in a purposeful manner. Each class will have a number of high quality fiction and non-fiction texts linked to their topic and teachers use these texts to deliver inspiring writing lessons. For example in Year 4, children learn about Ancient Egypt and will study the text The Egyptian Cinderella and The Story of Tutankhamun; using their knowledge of these texts together with their historical knowledge, children will study writing genres such as newspaper reports and stories with a historical setting.

The thematic approach enables children to become equipped with the skills, knowledge and tools needed to write fluently for a range of meaningful purposes.

Grammar and punctuation

We recognise that writing is integral to all aspects of life and we endeavour to ensure that children develop a lifelong, healthy and enthusiastic attitude towards writing. Writing skills underpin most elements of the school curriculum and it is therefore essential for these skills to be taught in an explicit manner. Grammar and punctuation are taught throughout the school during our English Key Skills lessons and then embedded throughout all other subjects during the school day. Key Skills lessons are carefully planned and structured to ensure a progressive teaching of grammar skills.

Grammar and punctuation lessons are intrinsically linked to our English curriculum, with teachers creating the necessary building blocks which the children will require for each of the specific writing genres. For example in Year 6, children are taught about formal and informal language and they will apply this understanding when writing informal and formal letters as part of their Victorian theme.

Spelling

We aim to teach children to be confident and accurate spellers from an early age. In Reception, phonemes are sent home weekly, after they have been taught in class, with a suggested activity for the children to apply their learning.

In Key Stage 1 and 2, children are introduced to weekly spellings. The spellings are practised in class sessions, at home, and are assessed on a weekly basis. Spellings can be topic words, common exception words, words from the national curriculum spelling lists or words that follow a pattern or rule that the children have been learning.

Learning to spell is far more than learning lists of words. It is a developing process of learning to apply different strategies and patterns appropriately. The purpose of weekly spelling lists is to involve parents in their children’s learning and to inform them about what is expected of their child in terms of spelling.

Handwriting

We encourage children to take pride in the presentation of their work and aspire for children to study handwriting with a sense of enjoyment and achievement.

In Reception class, children take part in an exciting array of activities to develop their fine and gross motor-skills and recognition of patterns, for example forming letters using their index finger in sand or using paint. Children should begin to learn how to correctly hold a pencil, then how to use a pencil, and hold it effectively to form recognisable letters most of which are correctly formed.

In Key Stage 1, children will continue to develop fine and gross motor-skills with a range of multi-sensory activities. Handwriting will be discussed within and linked to phonics sessions. Letter formation is taught in line with our handwriting scheme. Teachers and support staff continue to guide children with how to write letters correctly, using a comfortable and efficient pencil grip. By the end of Key Stage 1, children will be able to write legibly, use upper and lower-case letters appropriately, use correct spacing between words and be writing with a cursive style.

During Key Stage 2, children continue to have direct teaching and regular practice of handwriting. We aim for all children to develop a clear, fluent style and, by the end of Year 6, be able to adapt their handwriting for different purposes, such as: a neat, legible hand for finished, presented work, a faster script for note making and the ability to print for labelling diagrams.

Speaking and listening

Effective oral communication is a key skill for life; it is of vital importance that children can express themselves clearly and confidently, and that they are able to listen attentively to others. The ability to both speak and listen well are the cornerstones to effective learning at school. Speaking and listening skills are therefore an integral part of all the areas of the curriculum as well as being taught within English lessons.

We offer as many opportunities as possible for children to use, apply and develop these skills through a range of planned and meaningful contexts. These include: drama, role play, taking part in productions, church services and assemblies, debating, discussion, circle time, and hot-seating.

Radford Semele C of E Primary School is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people. We expect all staff, volunteers and parents to share this commitment.
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