Purpose of study
At Holy Trinity we believe English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English will teach pupils to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others. Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development.
The overarching aim for English is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written language, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. We aim to ensure that all pupils:
- read easily, fluently and with good understanding
- develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
- acquire a wide vocabulary, and an understanding of grammar
- appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
- write clearly, accurately and coherently, for a range of purposes
- use discussion; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their ideas
- are competent in the art of speaking and listening.
We appreciate the importance of spoken language in pupils’ development across the whole curriculum – cognitively, socially and linguistically. Spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing. The quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak are vital for developing their vocabulary and grammar. Teachers therefore ensure the continual development of pupils’ confidence and competence in spoken language and listening skills. Pupils develop a capacity to explain their understanding of books and prepare their ideas before they write.
All pupils are enabled to participate in and gain knowledge, skills and understanding of drama. Pupils are encouraged to adopt, create and sustain a range of roles, responding appropriately to others in role. They have opportunities to improvise, devise and script drama for one another and a range of audiences.
Reading at key stages 1 and 2 consist of 2 dimensions:
- word reading
- comprehension (both listening and reading)
Skilled word reading involves both the speedy working out of the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words (decoding) and the recognition of familiar printed words. Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words. This is why phonics is emphasised in the early teaching of reading to EYFS children when they start school.
Good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge and on knowledge of the world. Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, and from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction. All pupils are encouraged to read widely to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world they live in, to establish an appreciation and love of reading. This increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Reading also feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure house of wonder and joy for curious young minds.
During key stages 1 and 2 pupils learn the following skills –
- transcription (spelling and handwriting)
- composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing)
Writing down ideas fluently depends on effective transcription: that is, on spelling quickly and accurately through knowing the relationship between sounds and letters (phonics) and understanding the morphology (word structure) and orthography (spelling structure) of words. Effective composition involves articulating and communicating ideas, and then organising them coherently for a reader. This requires clarity, awareness of the audience, purpose and context, and an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar. Writing also depends on fluent, legible handwriting.
Spelling, vocabulary, grammar, punctuation
As vocabulary increases, teachers show pupils how to understand nuances in meaning, and how to develop their understanding of, and ability to use, figurative language. They also teach pupils how to work out and clarify the meanings of unknown words and words with more than one meaning.
Pupils are taught to control their speaking and writing consciously and to use Standard English. Weteach pupils the vocabulary they need to discuss their reading, writing and spoken language. It is important that pupils learn the correct grammatical terms in English.