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English

Core Subjects:

English

Introduction

The teaching of English is based on the mastering of a reduced number of priority objectives. An explanation of how these objectives were formulated is available here:

Overview

Our approach to the teaching of English can be thought of as having six strands:

  1. The English lesson: pathways
  2. Extended writing: across the curriculum
  3. Phonics and spelling
  4. Guided reading
  5. Handwriting
  6. Other reading

Strand 1) The English Lesson: Pathways

The pathways model is one which we have developed in line with a mastery approach. Its aim is to ensure that all children have a pathway through the lesson that starts at the right level and is well designed to allow each child to make progress no matter what their staring point.

Picture 1
After input and modelling, an assessment task is carried out to find out which children are ready for the blue practice task. Any children assessed as needing more support complete the green SEN task, irrespective of which table they sit on. Any child starting on green has the chance to move on to blue. Any child on blue, if assessed at needing more consolidation will be asked to complete the extra practice task. When the blue task(s) have been completed to the teacher's satisfaction, children move on to an application task - where the children have to use the skills they have been practising in a new context. A further application task exists as an extension for those children who have acquired the concepts to a degree whereby they are in need of further deepening of their learning.
Picture 1

Extended writing: across the curriculum

Extended writing exists outside of the pathways structure and is an opportunity for children to practise all skills learnt up to this point. Extended writing is found in 4 formats: drafted, non-drafted, cold task and topic writing.

 

Picture 1

Strand 3) Phonics and spelling

We currently follow the Letters and Sound approach to the teaching of phonics.

 

Phonics is taught though the early years into Year 2. Phonics also form part of our interventions, for those children who need further support.

 

In Years 1 and 2, we are able to timetable phonics teaching at a consistent time, to enable best use of resources and to benefit from flexible groupings

 

From year 2 onward, we make use of a resource called 'Spelling frame', which is an on-line program that allows all children to be working on individualised sets of words. It allows teachers to monitor progress.

Strand 4) Guided Reading

As of September 2018, we use 'Book Talk' as our primary way to teach reading for meaning. This is a system developed by Jane Considine, and is run at least 4 days a week, for half an hour at a time. During this time, reading is 'guided' by the teacher, as children read books at an appropriate level for them. For ten minutes at a time, children's reading is given a focus (three per half hour session). These are known as 'lenses'. They fall into three groups:

  1. The FANTASTICS, which are the ideas
  2. The STYLISTICS, which is to do with understanding
  3. The ANALYTICS, which is about skills

Strand 5) Handwriting

We follow the Kinetic Letters approach to the strengthening of children's motor control, letter formation and teaching sequence. Children from Nursery to Year 6 are now using a consistent approach to the formation and joining of letters.

Strand 6) Other Reading

We are passionate about reading at Huntingtree. We invest heavily in making sure that the children have the best possible books available to them. We believe that providing greater access to a wide range of brilliantly written, content-appropriate, engaging REAL books is the single most effective way of improving standards of receptive and expressive language in children - in terms of expanding vocabulary, deepening comprehension, sharpening authorial technique and nurturing a love of stories and knowledge.

 

The medium term planning for English lessons is based on quality whole class texts - real books. This drives the learning throughout the term, in comprehension work, grammar focuses and opportunities for writing.

 

The children have a regular weekly slot to change their home reading book, plus extra slots are available at lunchtimes for those enthusiastic readers and devourers of books.

 

We have a team of committed volunteers who are helping children to develop a love of reading.

 

School and home partnership

 

Individuals who are good readers at school are more likely to earn better wages when they are older and are more likely to be happy. Evidence shows us that those children who engage in reading - either reading to an adult or listening to an adult read - for 20 minutes a day are massively more likely to do well. This 'Magic 20' is the basis for our collaboration with parents. We promise to read with your children for 10 minutes every day and we expect parents to do the same.

 

Each class teacher reads for at least 10 minutes every day, sharing of a class novel. This is at a time that best suits the rhythm of each particular class.

World Cup of Books
As part of the transition process, each class from Year 1 to Year 6 participated in the 'World Cup of Books' event.  This gave the children the opportunity to vote on their choice of class novel for the start of the autumn term.  In each year group folder, there are photographs of the decision making process and the final choices.
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