At Pear Tree Mead we believe that English is a fundamental life skill. Therefore it plays a vital part in our school lives and our whole curriculum. The teaching of English aims to develop children’s abilities to listen, speak, read and write for a wide range of purposes. This enables children to express themselves in creative and imaginative ways. We wish to create a lifelong enjoyment of English through an active, creative and cross-curricular approach.
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I learn, involve me and I remember”
Ancient Chinese Proverb
English at Pear Tree Mead is a vital part of school life and our curriculum as a whole. The main aim for English is to create a lifelong enjoyment of literacy through an active, creative and cross-curricular approach. We also aim for each child to:
• read easily, fluently and with good understanding
• read a range of text types and to read often, for both pleasure and for finding out new information
• choose books that they want to read and be able to recommend these books to other children
• develop their own imagination and be creative with it
• continually add to their growing knowledge and understanding of words and the power they can have
• write clearly and confidently, for a range of different purposes and audiences, including writing about what is important to them
• understand spelling rules and patterns and be able to apply these to all their work
• use grammar and punctuation effectively
• produce well-presented written work that they are proud of
• use speaking and listening to explore new language
• express their own opinions
• challenge themselves and constantly strive for more
The teaching of English aims to enable children to express themselves in creative and imaginative ways.
Speaking and Listening
At Pear Tree Mead we believe that the quality and variety of language that a child is exposed to underpins the development of reading and writing. Therefore we ensure that pupils have access to a wide range of speaking and listening opportunities that include:
Talking about their own experiences, recounting events
Participating in discussion and debate
Retelling stories and poems
Expressing opinions and justifying ideas
Listening to stories read aloud
Presenting ideas to different audiences
Taking part in school performances
Responding to different kinds of texts
Talking to visitors in school
Listening to ideas and opinions of adults and peers
Role-play and other drama activities across the curriculum.
At Pear Tree Mead we wish for children to find reading a pleasurable and meaningful activity. We want to inspire children to be lifelong readers so we ensure that all children have access to a wide range of reading opportunities that include:
Regular independent reading
Hearing books read aloud on a daily basis
Selecting own choice of books
Reading in other subjects
We have many schemes available in the school which are used to support and challenge each pupil, to ensure they all achieve their best. An example of this is ‘Rapid Reading’, which is the only intervention programme with a proven record of success. A full scale, independent study by NFER (National Foundation for Educational Research), showed that children using it make twice the normal rate of progress in reading.
Our library books are all banded in colours; each colour relates to the previous National Curriculum levels. We have also purchased additional phonic reading scheme books “Phonic Bug” which is being used in conjunction with the main scheme for children who require further support to develop their reading. These books work in a systematic way gradually building on each child’s phonic knowledge and help to fill gaps and develop confident fluent readers. The children really enjoy these books as they are presented well and use television / animated characters of which the children can relate to.
At Pear Tree Mead we want to improve children’s learning and increase parent partnership, therefore, we ask parents and children to change their reading book in our school library. The school library is open every day after school from 3.10pm to 3.30pm. There are two members of staff in the library to support with any needs a visitor may have. The librarians reward the children with stickers on their bookmarks as well as updating a register in order to reward regular attenders.
In guided reading, texts are chosen to match the ability of the group but still provide an element of challenge. The groups are used to teach children of similar abilities the skills they need to be able to read confidently with expression and to understand the meaning and style of different text types. Guided reading is planned through looking at different Assessment Focuses and the core learning objectives from the National Curriculum.
Each year we take part in World Book Day, this works around a theme to interest the children through dressing up and practical activities
Phonics and Spelling
Phonics is taught in line with Letters and Sounds, we also use the Jolly Phonics actions to teach phonemes. Throughout EYFS and KS1 phonics is taught twice daily as a whole class and then in ability groups if needed later in the year. The link below from the Letters and Sounds Website sets out a clear and systematic programme for teaching phonic skills for children starting by the age of five. As a school we try to adhere to this programme
Letters and Sounds: Principles and Practice of High Quality Phonics
Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPaG)
At PTM we teach SPaG in line with the National Curriculum expectations. To ensure that the children have the best teaching we deliver discreet class taught sessions as well as ensuring SPaG in incorporated into English starters and handwriting sessions.
In Year 2 and 6 children undertake a test to check their knowledge in all of the areas. We make sure we give the children plenty of opportunities to practice and apply in the test format. This ensures confidence when they come to taking the test.
At Pear Tree Mead pupils have access to a wide range of writing opportunities that include:
• shared writing
• guided writing
• Creative writing which is related to their own experiences and enjoyment
• creating different text types
• Writing in different curriculum areas
• Handwriting practice
• Planning, drafting, editing and presenting
• using ICT
Teachers promote writing and look for ways to inspire and motivate pupils so that they see themselves as ‘writers’. Teachers work with the children to establish the purpose and audience for writing, this we believe motivates the children and provides them with more ownership in their learning. All teachers make teaching objectives explicit to pupils so they know why they are studying a particular text type, the kind of writing activities they need to undertake and what the expected outcome will be.
As a staff we believe in the importance of modelled writing. This allows the teacher and children to share their thought processes and observe how a piece of writing is created. During these sessions children have the opportunity to critique the teacher’s work, which in turn helps them not repeat similar mistakes
Guided writing takes place with selected groups of children in English sessions to support the children and scaffold their writing.
At Pear Tree Mead Academy we use a cursive handwriting style which is taught throughout the school. We have created a print rich environment across the school so that our children are exposed to all types of font. We use the Letter-join handwriting scheme to support our children’s learning. The scheme covers:
correct posture and grip
easy letters and words
harder letters and words
speedy handwriting for note taking and dictation
The handwriting scheme uses interactive software as well as written practice to support learning. Children have access to Letter-join at home to support their learning.