The art of communicating through a high level of skill in Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing is the key to success in all areas of life. At Whinmoor St Paul’s we strive to develop these skills to enable our children to succeed across the curriculum but more importantly in their future lives. Good speaking and listening skills enable children to discuss, debate and effectively put across their ideas to those around them. The ability to read enables a whole world of information and imagination to be opened to our children, whilst writing gives the children a voice to share their ideas with the world.
These pages contain documents and information which will help you get a feel for English in our school and give information about the resources, strategies and schemes of learning we use.
At Whinmoor St Paul’s we use our own comprehensive and engaging phonics plan, which is based on the Letters and Sounds principles and order. Other resources used by staff include phonetically decodable home and group reading books, Phonics Play, Teach Your Monster to Read and a range of other interactive websites. If you would like to see a full copy of the teaching strategies and order of teaching for phonics, it can be downloaded using the link below.
School uses a Phonics based system of spellings in Years 1 and 2 and Topical Resources spelling scheme from Year 3 to Year 6. These resources include weekly lists and follow-up tasks linked to the new curriculum. Classes are given weekly spelling lists to learn at home. These are supported by teaching in class and KS2 have spelling investigation and sentence homework linked to the weekly spellings.
The core of our reading scheme is based around the Oxford University Press Oxford Reading Tree books. This starts in Foundation Stage with a range of textless books and continues throughout school to Year 6. The books we use include phonetically decodable books as well as those which develop sight vocabulary. There are also books to support reluctant readers and those who need a lower level of challenge but have more mature content. The scheme includes traditional tales from around the world, a range of classic novels and non-fiction books. Foundation Stage and KS1 also use books from the Pearson Bug Club scheme to supplement their phonetically decodable reading books. This is also supported by a range of non-fiction materials from the school library and the Leeds Schools Library service.
Comprehension skills are taught through guided reading sessions, group and whole class lessons. Each class from Year 1 to Year 6 uses the Cracking Comprehension scheme of learning to develop core skills of information retrieval and inference whilst learning question technique.
In addition to take home and guided reading texts, classes study a range of class novels during the year. These texts are carefully chosen to inspire, interest and challenge our children. They link to our class topics and support learning across the curriculum. The texts were carefully selected to ensure progression across school and include a wide range of styles. These range from picture books to classics including Dickens. Details of these texts can be seen on our curriculum pages.
Writing is taught and practiced through discreet units of work teaching the relevant skills needed for each year group. The children are then able to show and develop their abilities through cross-curricular writing. This could be in any other subject of the curriculum including: History, Geography, Science, RE and Maths.
Writing is continually assessed against a set of criteria from Target Tracker, which is our school assessment system. Years 2 and 6 are assessed against the Key Stage Statements which are then published at the end of the year.
School uses the Nelson Handwriting scheme. Is is very important that children learn correct letter formation and an accurate style from an early age and this scheme helps children develop a simple to use joined style as they progress through school.
In the last 10 to 15 years as technology has developed and become more readily available even to younger children handwriting has been seen as less of a priority. This should not be the case as the ability to produce neat, fluent handwriting has many benefits.
As well as giving a good first impression to the reader, a confident, fluent handwriting style contributes to reading and spelling fluency because it improves visual perception of letters. In later school life including Key Stage 2 many assessments are based on written work, particularly in time-limited written tests. Without fast and legible handwriting, students will miss out on learning opportunities, under-achieve and may fall behind.
Although many of our children have good handwriting, we all have room for improvement. To promote handwriting we use strategies such as choosing a ‘Handwriter of the week’ who is presented with a certificate in assembly.
In Years 4, 5 and 6 children who have demonstrated consistent joined handwriting will be awarded a ‘Pen Licence’ This means they are awarded a pen to use when writing. However to ensure the standards are maintained these licences need renewing at the start of each school year.
The links on this page give further information and resources to help parents and carers at home. The guidance includes an overview of the letter styles taught in school, both printed and joined.