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:
Our approach to the teaching of English can be thought of as having six strands:
- The English lesson: pathways
- Extended writing: across the curriculum
- Guided reading
- 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.
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.
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.
Strand 3) Phonics
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
Strand 4) Guided Reading
We are currently in the process of reviewing our procedures for guided reading, in light of emerging research that suggests that the 'traditional' model may not be the most efficient or useful for children's development in reading.
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.
Each class has a timetabled slot for the sharing of a class novel.
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.