“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr. Seuss
At Dickleburgh Academy, we believe that the development of language and literacy skills is of the highest priority. English is the main instrument of teaching and learning throughout the entire curriculum and the skills and knowledge acquired in this area inform and underpin all subjects and every area of life both within and outside the school.
Our ‘literacy-rich’ curriculum aims to motivate and inspire children, through a series of lessons that engage and challenge all learners and provides them with a high standard of language and literacy skills. English is embedded within all our lessons and we strive for a high level of English for all. We believe this is vital for achieving success at school and later in life. We aim to ensure that every child becomes primary literate and progresses in the areas of reading, writing, speaking and listening. We believe that the ability to read and write is fundamental to our children succeeding; enabling them to access the next stage of their education and beyond.
Our curriculum is designed to equip pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature, through widespread reading for enjoyment. It aims for all children to acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language. We understand that a good grasp of English is the foundation of the entire curriculum and that children who are confident and adept readers and writers will be empowered to succeed in all other areas.
In English, we implement an inclusive curriculum that meets the statutory requirements of the National Curriculum. Our curriculum is well-planned and provides literacy-rich, cross-curricular opportunities. We ensure that we regularly review previous learning, as well as challenging our more able children.
Teaching and Learning
Development Matters statements are used throughout the year in EYFS to check if pupils are on track to reach the Early Learning Goals for Communication and Language as well as Literacy by the end of the year. To ensure continuity and progression, in Key Stage 1 and 2, we follow the objectives in the revised National Curriculum for English (2014) for all English skills.
Our English planning is based on high-quality fiction and non-fiction texts as well as poetry, all of which provide inspiration for a range of extended written outcomes. Teachers place talk at the centre of the classroom, embedding speaking and listening as key teaching approaches.
From September 2021 we will be using the government validated systematic synthetic phonics programme (SSP) called ‘Little Wandle: Letters & Sounds Revised’. The programme is designed to teach children to read from Reception to Year 2, using the skill of decoding and blending sounds together to form words. The Little Wandle programme provides a full progression through all commonly occurring sounds, working from simple to more complex, and considering the frequency of their occurrence in the most commonly encountered words.
We start teaching Phonics in Pre-School at Dickleburgh Primary Academy, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school. Phonics lessons in Reception begin as soon as the pupils start in September. As a result, all our children are able to tackle any unfamiliar words as they read. We also model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum.
Children are given regular opportunities to apply the phonics they have learned by reading fully decodable books. The phonic progression in these books match the progression of Little Wandle Letters and Sounds. Reading practice sessions take place daily during the phonics lessons and all pupils take part in a weekly group reading session using the appropriate Big Cat phonetically decodable books, with those identified as needing more support prioritised for additional sessions. Each reading practice session has a clear focus, so that the demands of the session do not overload the children’s working memory.
At Dickleburgh, reading is a top priority and is a key driver for our curriculum. It is our intention to ensure that by the end of their primary education, all pupils are able to read fluently and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education.
We encourage all pupils to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop: knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live; to establish an appreciation and love of reading; to gain knowledge across the curriculum; and develop their comprehension skills. We are committed to providing vocabulary rich reading material through our school library and topic books.
Pupils in EYFS and KS1 take part in group reading once a week. The pupils are grouped following assessment of their phonetic understanding and reading level. Appropriate Big Cat books or short chapter books, non-fictions and poetry texts are chosen by the teacher and used for these sessions. During these weekly sessions, we focus on the three key reading skills of decoding, prosody and comprehension. The children take the book from their session home to practise their reading skills with their parents.
Whole Class Reading
All KS1 and KS2 classes take part in whole class reading sessions at least three times a week. This approach ensures that children of all abilities are immersed in the same high-quality literature and the discussions that these texts promote.
In these sessions, a wide range of texts are studied including book extracts, non-fiction texts from a variety of sources, poetry and songs. A range of reading strategies are used: choral reading to develop speed and fluency; echo reading, allowing the teacher to model expression and intonation; paired reading; and independent reading.
All classrooms, up to Year 4, have their own class reading areas with topic themed books, and Year 5 and Year 6 use the new school library as their reading space; additional “silent reading” sessions are regularly made available. All teachers read stories to their classes regularly, with the older classes listening to chapter books over a longer number of weeks.
Every Friday, the older children read with their younger learning partners and there is a daily Reading Club at lunchtime providing an opportunity for pupils to read quietly for pleasure.
We believe that writing is a crucial part of our curriculum. All children from Foundation Stage to Year 6 are provided with many opportunities to develop and apply their writing skills across the curriculum.
Our intention is for pupils to be able to plan, revise and evaluate their writing. To be able to do this effectively, pupils will focus on developing effective transcription and effective composition. They will also develop an awareness of the audience, purpose and context, and an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. We also intend for pupils to leave school being able to use fluent and legible handwriting.
The Mastering English Approach was introduced in the autumn term of 2021. It provides a progressive and structured approach to teaching reading and writing to primary aged pupils, with approaches adapted from T4W, Power of Reading and the previous National Literacy Strategies. The teaching of punctuation and grammar is interwoven within the Mastering English approach to ensure that it is taught within a relevant context, as well as a weekly stand alone lesson.
Our English curriculum ensures that children develop the skills, knowledge and vocabulary that will enable them to communicate effectively and creatively through spoken and written language. Through the breadth and depth that our curriculum offers, children are equipped with the skills to become lifelong learners and to enjoy and appreciate literature and its rich variety.It leads them to become informed, enthusiastic and skilled readers and writers, who can engage with texts and the world around them, as reflective and independent thinkers.
The impact as our children journey through school from Pre-School to Year 6 is clear: progress, sustained learning and transferrable skills.
Spiritual Development in English
We enable spiritual development through our reading and writing curriculum. We expose our children to creative, quality, age appropriate texts and they learn to reflect on what they are reading. They begin to show empathy with characters and interpret their thoughts and actions.
In writing we teach children to untangle their own thoughts, express their emotions and reflect on their experiences. Our children learn that, at times, writing has no limits.