At St. Stephen’s we encourage all pupils to read a wide range of quality texts of both fiction and non-fiction. Children experience these texts through Guided Reading sessions when enjoying class books; in the books they take home to read and in the English units each class teacher plans. We also like to hold special events like ‘Book Day’ and ‘Poetry Day’ where the children can immerse themselves in activities story/language related. Sometimes poets and authors are invited into school. Early Years and Key Stage 1 like to hold ‘Fairy tale Day,’ ‘Superhero Day’ or other special days related to their class books and topics. These types of days help to instil a love of reading across school. Classes often link up so the children can enjoy sharing storybooks or books they have written themselves with other year groups. We have found this to be extremely rewarding for both sets of children.
The children of St. Stephen’s are very keen writers. We aim to provide them with a rich, stimulating environment where they can develop their writing skills. Each English unit is based on a picture book. This is the case all the way through school. Teachers use the book to plan a range of activities which develop children’s spoken and written language as well as their ability to plan and structure a story with all the necessary punctuation and grammatical features. It is important for the children to write for a variety of purposes and audiences and to practise a full range of texts types including narrative, reports, instructions, letters and recounts.
We aim to broaden and extend the range of children’s writing by giving them opportunities to write in other curriculum areas, always with the aim of developing their English skills.
Spelling is developed by the teaching of phonics initially and then extends to the children exploring spelling patterns and rules which are practised through games and other fun activities. Spellings are tested weekly.
St. Stephen’s use the ‘Achieving Excellence in Handwriting’ scheme which is used regularly every week. This leads to well-formed, joined handwriting of the correct size.