The aim of teaching and learning of English at Westover is to equip our children to read, speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others and others can communicate effectively with them. These skills will enable our children to participate fully and actively as members of society.
Speaking and Listening
Communication is the one of the most important skills in life. To understand and to be understood is a vital element of everyday life and one which our curriculum has at its heart.
Our Speaking and Listening curriculum is about:
- Developing vocabulary, grammar and pupils’ understanding for reading and writing by hearing models of quality spoken language.
- Gaining information by listening in a variety of contexts.
- Elaborating, explaining, clarifying thinking and explaining their understanding.
- Using discussion to challenge, to probe and to address misconceptions.
- Presenting ideas clearly and effectively to a variety of audiences.
Reading is a vital life skill. We understand that children may come to school with some early reading skills and we will identify and build on these skills to enable children to become enthusiastic, self-confident and motivated readers. The ability to read is fundamental to developing children’s independence and has a direct effect upon progress in all areas of the curriculum.
At Westover we will provide children with a literacy rich environment and encourage reading across a range of texts to include fiction and non-fiction books, newspapers, magazines, multimodal and digital texts. We nurture reading for pleasure; promoting our rich literary heritage whilst also encouraging children to share texts from home so children take pleasure in books and develop a life-long love of reading. Adults in school will model and communicate their love of reading so we may foster a community of readers allowing children to see that reading is a pleasurable experience.
So that children at Westover have a good start, we teach phonics as the main strategy for early reading- ‘the route to decode words’. We use a programme called Letters and Sounds which provides a systematic structure for the development of synthetic phonic understanding. We also use some materials from Jolly Phonics to support teaching and learning. All children are given decodable reading books which are closely matched to children’s developing phonic knowledge and knowledge of common exception words’ so they are able to put their newly learned phonics knowledge into practice both at school and at home. We hold reading workshops in the autumn term so we can clarify and explain to parents the reading behaviours and routines that are expected.
We also provide children with books from non-phonics based schemes to give them the opportunity to practise a range of strategies such as, graphic, syntactic and contextual, alongside phonics so they may monitor, correct and make sense of their reading.
Children will have opportunities to read books of their choice and also re-read books they have previously enjoyed as we value their opinion of the types of books they enjoy.
At Westover we understand the need for the correct use of English and make sure that we are good role models of the language both in our general speech and also when enunciating sounds for reading. Early reading and writing are taught alongside each other so that children understand them as processes which are connected. Reading is an effective support and inspiration for writing and the link between these two areas is essential.
We run a reading passport scheme where children earn a new book to keep once each passport is complete. There are 3 passports for each year group. The requirement is that the child reads to or with an adult who annotates the passport with the date. Each entry must be a different date and once the child has read 5 times they return the card to school and are given a sticker. The first passport requires the child to read 25 times( 5 stickers), the second passport requires the child to read 50 times(10 stickers) and the third passport requires the child to read 100times (20 stickers) before they receive their choice of book in Celebration Assembly.
The aim of our writing curriculum is to inspire pupils to gain pleasure from and develop confidence in their writing, wherever possible creating texts for a genuine purpose and real audience. It aims for our pupils to develop key skills in order to produce quality written work which communicates with the audience in an effective and engaging way.
Our writing curriculum is about:
- Effective transcription skills (spelling and handwriting) which are vital to ensure ideas are communicated legibly and accurately.
- Compositional skills such as articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing are taught explicitly and are linked across all areas of the curriculum.
- The process of planning effectively for writing; revising work for improvement and finally evaluating the work.
- Sufficient time to write and revisit writing, valuing both the process and the craft of writing.
At Westover Primary School, the English curriculum threads through every subject into every learning opportunity. The children learn about the styles of a wide variety of established and new authors, making comparisons and expressing their preferences. They investigate and use text types as vehicles to communicate purposefully with their peers, teachers and other audiences beyond the classroom through effectively crafted and engaging writing.
To support and inspire children’s writing and encourage a love of literacy we use ‘Talk 4 Writing’ as a creative tool. Click here for more information.
Literary Heritage at Westover Primary School
At Westover Primary, we are developing our children’s enjoyment of reading and supporting them to choose a wide range of texts and styles of writing. We have always encouraged our children to read and enjoy a range of both Modern and Classic texts and are thrilled that the great Literary Heritage of Britain has now become a formal part of the Curriculum for our children. We thought that we would share with you a selection of just some of the Literary Heritage texts that we are currently using at Westover. Some of these are our Class Book, read and discussed at various points throughout the school day; some are read and enjoyed in Guided Reading sessions; some are used as the basis for Topics and some are in the classrooms or Library for the children to select for their own Independent Reading. You may be able to spot some of your favourites in the list or you may think of other forgotten favourites that you might want to share with your children at home!
- Each Peach Pear Plum - Ahlberg, Janet and Allan
- Peepo - Ahlberg, Janet and Allan
- Ten Seeds - Brown, Ruth
- Dear Zoo - Campbell, Rod
- The Gruffalo – Julia Donaldson
- Where’s Spot? - Hill, Eric
- Rosie’s Walk- Hutchins, Pat and Laurence
- Kipper - Inkpen, Mick
- The Tiger Who Came to Tea - Kerr, Judith
- Guess How Much I Love You - McBratney, Sam
- Elmer- McKee, David
- Peace at last - Murphy, Jill
- Whatever Next - Murphy, Jill
- We’re Going on a Bear Hunt - Rosen, Michael
- Owl Babies - Waddell, Martin
- Can't You Sleep Little Bear - Waddell, Martin
- Gingerbread Man
- Jolly Christmas Postman
- Elves and the shoemaker
- Owl Babies – Waddell, Martin
- Gorilla – Browne, Anthony
- Amazing Grace – Hoffman, Mary
- Fantastic Mr Fox – Dahl, Roald
- Horrid Henry – Simon, Francesca
- Treasure Island – Stevenson, Robert Louis
- Journey into the Centre of the Earth - Verne, Jules
- The Firework Maker’s Daughter – Pullman, Phillip
- Matilda – Dahl, Roald
- The Witches - Dahl, Roald
- The Twits - Dahl, Roald
- Kaspar Prince of Cats - Morpurgo, Michael
- The Daemon Headmaster – Cross, Gillian
- The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – Lewis, CS
- A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
- The Dark – Lemony Snicket
- Beowolf – adapted by Michael Morpurgo
- Arthur, High King of Britain – Morpurgo, Michael
- Moondial – Cresswell, Helen
- Kidnapped – Stevenson, Robert Louis
- Wolf Brother The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness – Paver, Michelle
- Skellig – David Almond
- Goodnight Mr Tom – Michelle Magorian
- The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – John Boyne
- Stormbreaker – Alex Rider
- Macbeth – William Shakespeare
- Hamlet – William Shakespeare
- The Silver Sword – Ian Serraillier
- Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens