English is at the heart of the curriculum at St James and we aim to enable children to express themselves creatively through the mediums of speaking and listening, reading and writing. We use a combination of fiction, non-fiction and poetry in each year group to stimulate the children’s interest and fire their imaginations.
Speaking and Listening
At St James we believe that to be understood and to understand others is a vital life skill so we therefore place specific emphasis in our curriculum upon:
elaboration, explanation and clarification of children’s understanding
developing the children’s vocabulary and grammar
modelling appropriate written and spoken language
developing the children’s listening skills in a variety of contexts
using discussion to probe and develop understanding
the ability to present ideas clearly
At St James Church of England Academy we see reading as an integral part of the school curriculum that impacts on all learning. We value the importance of being a fluent reader and work hard to develop children’s reading skills. We want children to enjoy reading a wide range of different books and be able to talk confidently about books and authors.
We teach reading in every year group from Year 3 to Year 6. This can be in the form of one-to-one reading with an adult, shared reading, guided reading sessions and independent reading. For those children who need a little extra support in developing the skills for effective decoding, we teach synthetic phonics and use the Read Write Inc scheme to support this. We also use a range of other reading materials to broaden children’s understanding, interest and enjoyment of reading. In Key Stage 2, as their reading develops, children are encouraged to read from a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books. The teaching focus then shifts towards teaching children the skills of comprehension, following themes and making comparisons within and between texts. In addition we regularly set aside a quiet time at the end of the academic day where an adult reads a shared book to the class.
We are fortunate to have a well-stocked library in our school; therefore all children are able to take books home to read with an adult. We reward additional reading at home with stamps in the children’s reading passports to indicate reading miles. When sufficient reading miles have been achieved the children receive a checkpoint certificate given in our celebration assembly. We encourage parents as partners in the development of reading skills, and encourage all parents to set aside quality time to regularly read with their children.
The aim of our writing curriculum is for children to develop the skills to communicate effectively. In each year group our writing curriculum is underpinned by a selection of high quality texts which give the children rich and relevant writing opportunities. Using the key text as a basis, the children then look more closely at how the author has created different moods and feelings, how they have interwoven character, dialogue and action and how they have captured the readers interest.
We encourage the children to consider their audience when writing in a variety of styles, this helps them to tailor their writing appropriately. Through teacher modelling, share writing and independent writing the children are taught to blend the different text features together in order to be successful authors.
Handwriting, spelling and the use of appropriate grammatical structures are vital tools in order to enable to children to become effective communicators, we therefore place a high value on the development of these skills.