Subject leader: Mrs Parker and Mrs James
‘Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of all garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.’
Matthew 13 vs.31-32
Our entire curriculum, including English, is underpinned by the ‘Parable of the Mustard Seed’ and summarised by our motto:
Together may we give our children: Roots to grow and Wings to fly.
Our English curriculum is driven through our vision of ‘roots to grow, wings to fly’. By the time children leave our school we want them to have high standards of literacy; to be equipped with a strong command of the written and spoken word and have a love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.
In Reception, teachers support children’s learning in the prime area of Communication and Language. This helps develop vital skills such as listening, attention, understanding and speaking. These important skills then support children with their literacy skills of comprehension, word reading and writing. A love of reading, writing and storytelling is encouraged through regular story times, reading together, books linked to curriculum themes and child-led storytelling and acting.
From Year One onwards, the teaching and learning of English will be structured and organised in line with the National Curriculum, and with due regard to the needs of the children.
Throughout Key Stage One and Key Stage Two, all English work is inspired by quality, age appropriate, texts that, as much as possible, link to the topic being studied at that time. Through this approach, as well as providing many cross-curricular opportunities, children are provided with the deeper knowledge necessary to create insightful pieces of writing.
The teaching and learning of our English curriculum is skills based, with these skills then applied in extended, genre specific pieces of writing, where a child can demonstrate their understanding of key concepts.
At Trinity Academies Eppleby Forcett and Middleton Tyas we are now using the Sounds-Write phonics programme to teach our children to read, spell and write.
Sounds-Write is effective in teaching pupils to read, spell and write because it starts from what all children know from a very early age – the sounds of their own language. From there, it teaches them how each of the 44 or so sounds in the English language can be spelt.
Our approach teaches the conceptual understanding needed to become an effective reader:
- that letters are spellings of sounds: visual language is a representation of spoken language
- that a spelling can contain one, two, three, or four letters – examples are: s a t, f i sh, n igh t and w eigh t
- that there is more than one way of spelling most sounds: the sound ‘ae’, spelt as in ‘name’, can be represented as in ‘table’, in ‘rain’, in ‘eight’, in ‘play’, and so on
- that many spellings can represent more than one sound: can be the sound ‘e’ in ‘head’, ‘a-e’ in ‘break’, or ‘ee’ in ‘seat’
Reading and spelling also requires expertise in the skills necessary to make use of the alphabet code and pupils need to be able to:
- segment, or separate sounds in words
- blend, or push sounds together to form words
- manipulate sounds: take sounds out and put sounds into words
Sounds-Write provides opportunities for practising these skills on an everyday basis until pupils achieve the automaticity required for fluent reading and spelling.
Phonic sessions are taught everyday with the whole class.
Letter spellings and sounds are taught in the context of whole words. There is the opportunity to apply knowledge and skills through reading and writing in every lesson.
Books read in school and at home will be matched to the children’s phonics knowledge using Sounds-Write and Dandelion Readers books that match the order of phonics teaching and learning.
Here are some very useful links explaining more about Sounds Write.
An introduction from John Walker, the founder – although it written for parents of children in Reception, it is a useful read for all –
Links to free resources, including free online courses –
Free printable resources –
Please do not hesitate to talk to your child’s teacher should you have any questions about this approach.
If you have any questions at all about your child’s reading, do not hesitate to ask your class teacher.