English Key Skills
Particular skill areas are described as ‘key skills’ because they help learners to improve their learning and performance in education, work and life. These are embedded in the school’s curriculum.
The key skills for English in each yeargroup can be found on the Class Pages HERE
English at Coldfall
English is at the heart of our learning and teaching and essential to every area of the curriculum. It is through English that concepts are formed and we are able to make sense of the world and our place in it. Children are taught to read in a variety of ways. In the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1, children read individually and in groups; they are also given regular opportunities to share a book with others. Teachers read a variety of written material regularly with the children: fiction and non-fiction, stories, reports, diaries, poems etc. We place a strong emphasis on phonics (letter sounds) in the early years of learning to read because we believe this lays the foundations for successful reading. We have a home-school reading system (up to Year 2), which requests that parents read with their children for about ten minutes each day. Children need parents to be reading role models, so we would strongly encourage daily reading at home beyond Key Stage 1.
In Key Stage 2, children will participate in a whole class reading approach called Destination Reader. Destination Reader blends a range of learning behaviours and reading strategies which, brought together, allow children to explore and understand texts independently, at a deeper level.
To develop writing at Coldfall, we use a whole book approach. This is an immersive approach to teaching English, allowing for connections to be made to other areas of the curriculum. Each year group has a set of core books that not only act as class novels, but are also used by the class teacher to underpin the teaching of English.
At Coldfall we use two main phonics schemes, Jolly Phonics and RML Phonics, as our prime means of teaching children in the early stages of reading and writing. Both Phonic Schemes take a multi-sensory approach to learning phonics. The strategy combines songs and actions as a way for children learning all 44 phonemes (smallest unit of sound) and the children really are enjoying this approach. Phonemes can be made of 1/2/3 letters. For example: a, ay, igh.
Green Words/Easy Words
These are words that can be sounded out using phonological knowledge, for example: p-e-g, p-ee-p, l-igh-t. Children are taught to recognise and read the sounds and use this knowledge to then read whole words. This progresses to more complex sounds as the children move through Reception to Year 1 and 2.
Red Words/Key Words
‘Red words’ or ‘key words’ are words that can’t be sounded out. Many are short, common words; for example ‘the’ or ‘some’, but they can be longer words like ‘because’. To read key words, children need to develop a sight vocabulary and practice these regularly.
Systematic Phonics Teaching
The teaching of phonics begins in Reception, where sounds are introduced at a rate of one a day throughout the autumn and spring term. Sounds are consolidated in the summer term. This knowledge is built upon in Year 1; more complex sounds are introduced and reinforced throughout Year 2.
During the summer term in Year 1, children nationwide are tested on their phonic knowledge. This test helps us to identify children who have gaps in their phonic knowledge and may need support in Year 2 to develop reading and writing skills. The test is very low-key and the children are not aware that they are being tested. Parents are informed as to whether their child has achieved the national expectation within the child’s end-of-year report. Additional tuition in phonics will be given to those children who did not achieve a pass during Year 2 and they will be tested again in the summer term.
Here at Coldfall we are very proud of our pupil’s handwriting and take particular care in our cursive/joined-up handwriting style. We aim for our pupils to develop a neat, legible, speedy handwriting style using continuous cursive letters that leads to producing letters and words automatically in independent writing.
By the end of Year 6, pupils will understand the importance of neat presentation and the need for different letterforms (cursive, printed or capital letters) to help communicate meaning clearly.