English is the key to everything that we do and allows pupils to access all areas of the curriculum. We focus on the learning and teaching of English through all subjects: speaking and listening, reading and writing. These are planned, taught and assessed both discretely during guided reading and literacy lessons and as a major part of our cross-curricular activities. The children are taught handwriting following a cursive style where joining is encouraged. They learn to read and write through a phonetic approach and the building up of a wider sight vocabulary and developing the higher level reading skills. Drama plays an important part in school and is both a stimulus for learning and an important part of expressing ideas. The children are taught the essential skills and knowledge in class with differentiated ability groups in Years 1-5 and at present are set in Years 5 and 6.
Details of the curriculum breakdown and expectations through the year groups in English can be found by following the links below:
The Marist uses the ‘Letters & Sounds’ programme for teaching phonics and high frequency words. This programme is split into 6 phases with the different phases being covered in different years in Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1.
Phase 1– Nursery / Reception
Phase 2– Reception
Phase 3– Reception
Phase 4– Reception / Year 1
Phase 5– Year 1
Phase 6– Year 1 / Year 2
Follow this link for more detailed information on what is expected at each level of the phonics programme. Interventions are in place across the school for those children not yet confident and proficient in the use of synthetic phonics to help with their reading and spelling.
Parents can listen to a media file with the correct phonetic sounds by logging in to the Parents room on the VLE
The first steps in teaching reading are phonics and reading to and with the children – sharing and talking about books. Children in EYFS start with lists of words and picture books slowly building to books with words and then short texts. The whole school follows a set reading scheme with a very wide choice of texts within each reading band. Before moving bands a child is benchmarked to ensure that they are ready for the next level of reading books. The benchmarking is a verbal procedure 1:1 with your child and the level of reading book may not therefore necessarily correspond with the level they obtain when completing a written comprehension test.
A child on the correct band should be able to read between 90% and 95% of the words accurately. In order for children to become competent readers in addition to being able to read the words, it is essential that they have a good comprehension of what they are reading. This means that they can answer questions about the text and make inferences. Therefore, as part of the ‘benchmarking’ process, children’s comprehension skills are assessed as well as their ability to read the words.
Once children are confident within the level they are reading they will be issued with a certificate to show that they are ready to develop their skills further and move to the next coloured band. On the back of each certificate you will find the skills that the children will be enhancing within the next coloured band. A list of the different colour bands in order of progression can be accessed here and this also gives an indication only of where these bands may sit against the old national curriculum levels.
We continue to add a range of exciting new books to our scheme. Our aim is to invest in lots more engaging books in order to expand the breadth and interest of those books available to your children.
We hope that our new reading scheme will enable all children to meet their full potential in reading and also develop a love and passion for books.
Some ideas for helping your child with reading can be downloaded here