Our overarching aim for English is to promote high standards of literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the written and spoken word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. In order for children to communicate effectively, they need to be confident in speaking, listening, reading and writing. Our language programme aims to develop the many and diverse skills that will enable the child to become a confident communicator in a range of situations. This also includes placing emphasis on the teaching of spelling, punctuation and grammar. A simple handwriting style is taught with the aim of the child acquiring a fluent, cursive script.
Children are encouraged to develop their speaking and listening skills by providing them with opportunities to express themselves to a variety of audiences, for example class assemblies, Christmas plays and church services.
At Willow Bank we have an extremely well-equipped and organised library which is organised to encourage reading and research skills. A colour-coded system for reading books enables the child to read at an appropriate level.
Our aim at Willow Bank Junior School is to provide children with a literacy-rich environment, high quality texts and engaging learning opportunities which will help them to:
Teaching of reading and love of books is given high importance. We use phonics in year 3 to enable children to build on their phonic knowledge from infants. They have access to well-chosen scheme books which allows them to build upon their vocabulary knowledge, reading stamina and fluency throughout the school. Children are encouraged to read these books at home.
Additionally, children have daily reading sessions where they practise their fluency and learn the how the skills of vocabulary, inference, prediction, explaining, retrieval and summarising (VIPERS) help them to gain a deep understanding of what they have read. They have the opportunity to read a range of genres of fiction, non-fiction and poetry and these sessions are delivered in a fun and engaging way. Our specifically chosen Willow Bank book list reflects modern society including a range of texts which are diverse and inspiring.
Our children have access to our well-resourced library to enable to gain a further understanding of a range of authors and have freedom to choose books which most interest them. We take part in national initiatives such as World Book Day and foster a love of reading through daily stories and varied classroom initiatives.
Children will have a life-long love for learning and books. They will understand that they can learn empathy and gain knowledge through reading, and have the confidence, fluency and skills to allow them to gain knowledge from what they have read. They will be well-prepared to be able to use the skills they have learnt effectively once they move on to secondary school and will have made at least good progress from their starting points.
At Willow Bank Junior School, we strive to help our children develop into articulate and imaginative communicators, who are well-equipped with the basic skills they need to become life-long learners; English learning is key in this. We aim to ensure all of our children develop a genuine love of language and the written word, through a text-based approach; this links closely to the way we teach reading, as the text that we use in writing lessons, where possible, is the same text as the one that we use in guided reading lessons.
Careful links are made across the curriculum to ensure that children’s English learning is relevant and purposeful: where possible linking our reading, writing and other curriculum areas. We ensure that children develop an understanding of how widely writing is used in everyday life and, therefore, how important and useful the skills are that they are learning.
Our intention in writing is for children to:
-Write for a purpose whilst seeing themselves as authors
-Take ownership of their writing
-Build the links between oracy, reading and other curriculum areas
-See writing as an enjoyable process
Our writing curriculum is built upon the different purposes of writing: to entertain, to inform, to discuss and to persuade. Children are given the opportunity to write for useful and real life purposes so that they can see the importance of what they are doing. We use a range of high-quality texts and video stimuli for our writing units which link closely to our reading texts and other curriculum areas where possible. The units we plan are based on progressive skills which allow each year to build upon the learning that has gone before.
Through each unit, children look in detail at model texts to identify what they need to include in their own work. They are given plenty of opportunity to practise, incorporating text features and grammatical structures before writing with greater independence. Support and scaffolding is given to those who need it through word banks, sentence stems and model texts. Handwriting and spellings are practised regularly in each year group. At the end of the writing process, children are given the opportunity to edit and improve their work both independently and with others.
Children will develop a love for writing and will see its importance and purpose as well as themselves as authors. They will be able to write for a range of purposes, selecting appropriate text and grammatical structures. Children will develop effective skills in editing and improving their own work and will share their work aloud with other with confidence and enjoyment.
Oracy is the ability to articulate ideas, develop understanding and engage with others through spoken language. Across the school we provide planned opportunities for children to practise their oracy skills in a range of contexts with varying audiences. These skills are woven into all areas of the curriculum.