Our English Curriculum
At St. Edward's Catholic Primary School, we aim to develop a love for the English language in its written and spoken forms. We are committed to delivering a broad and engaging curriculum to enable our pupils to become confident, independent and effective speakers, listeners, readers and writers.
Reading for pleasure is prioritised throughout the whole school and all children are encouraged to develop their own identity as a reader: to be excited about selecting books based on their own preferences and interests; to become inquisitive and ask questions about what they read; to use reading as a means of escaping to new and exciting worlds full of endless possibilities. To support this, each class has an engaging and stimulating area dedicated to reading in their classroom and the school has two well-stocked libraries which are inviting for our children.
All pupils at St. Edward's are exposed to a wide range of authors and styles of texts for different purposes. Each class has a literature spine made up of high-quality, engaging texts, some of which have been recommended by Pie Corbett (https://www.scholastic.co.uk/piecorbett/resources). Every year group has been allocated a range of books – which often link to their Geography, History and Science topics – and the children learn all about the characters, settings, and language used by the authors in each text. To encourage the children to become immersed in their class text, they help to decorate the doors of their classroom to reflect the current book being read.
The writing produced by the children in each class is linked to what they are reading from the Literature Spine. This encourages them to empathise with characters, express themselves creatively and imaginatively, and become excited about writing for a range of purposes and audiences. Children's writing is celebrated in every school display and weekly during Praise Assembly; expectations of children's presentation are high and pupils receive a pen license once their handwriting reaches a consistent standard.
Speaking and listening opportunities – across the whole curriculum – develops pupils’ abilities to use language to communicate ideas, views and feelings in a variety of different ways. At St. Edward's, we aim to provide a language-rich environment that is stimulating and characterised by high expectations of success.
The study of English develops children’s skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing for a wide range of purposes, so using language to learn and communicate ideas, views and feelings, it enables children to express themselves creatively and imaginatively. At St. Edward's Catholic Primary School, we aim to develop a love for the English language in its written and spoken forms. We are committed to delivering a broad and engaging curriculum in order to enable our pupils to become confident, independent and effective speakers, listeners, readers and writers.
At St. Edward's, we aim to provide an environment for language development that is stimulating and characterised by high expectations of success. Children's writing is celebrated in every school display and expectations of children's presentation are high. English is shared and celebrated inside and outside of the classroom through:
- provision of a book rich environment;
- thoughtful, creative display of reading and writing materials and published children’s work;
- working walls which represent the current teaching and learning;
- use of a wide range of high-quality materials to support effective teaching and learning;
- public celebration of pupils' success and participation in events, for example, through Twitter, school website, communal displays, public performances.
Welcome to the Saint Edward's Phonics Page - We hope you find everything you need to know about phonics.
What is Phonics?
Phonics is a way of teaching children how to read and write. It helps children hear, identify and use different sounds that distinguish one word from another in the English language.
Written language can be compared to a code, so knowing the sounds of individual letters and how those letters sound when they’re combined will help children decode words as they read.
Understanding phonics will also help children know which letters to use when they are writing words.
Phonics involves matching the sounds of spoken English with individual letters or groups of letters. For example, the sound k can be spelled as c, k, ck or ch.
Teaching children to blend the sounds of letters together helps them decode unfamiliar or unknown words by sounding them out. For example, when a child is taught the sounds for the letters t, p, a and s, they can start to build up the words: “tap”, “taps”, “pat”, “pats” and “sat”.
Before they can learn to read, children need to develop their listening and visual skills.
A crucial listening skill is phonological awareness, the ability to discriminate different sounds such as the different endings of the words "cut" and "cup." This develops naturally as children learn to listen to the sounds around them. Music, poems and nursery rhymes and everyday sounds are all key elements in developing this skill.
The visual skills which help children to acquire letter knowledge include shape recognition, and the ability to visually sort and classify objects.
Children generally develop most of these skills naturally through their interactions with parents and caregivers. Their reception year teacher will help them continue developing these skills before introducing them to a formal reading programme.
Once they have acquired the necessary basic skills, children are gradually introduced to their first graphemes and the sounds they represent. These may be single letters, such as s and n, or pairs of letters, such as ck. These first graphemes consistently represent the same sound. Children are encouraged to blend the graphemes together in order to sound out words (as in our previous example of s + a + m = sam) as soon as they have learnt enough graphemes to do so.
Children are introduced to an additional 25 graphemes. These consist of both single letters and digraphs, groups of letters (generally pairs) which represent a single sound. They learn consonant digraphs such as "sh" and "th" first, and then vowel digraphs such as "oa" and "oo".
This is also the stage at which children begin to learn sight words. These are common words that cannot always be sounded out according to the synthetic phonics method. These include words such as she, they, and you among others.
At this stage children practice the skills they have learnt and learn to blend groups of consonants such as tr, str and lk. They also continue to learn more sight words.
Once children can read words automatically without having to sound them out, they learn more vowel digraphs and different ways to write the same sound. For example, the words wail, way and whale all show different ways of representing the same ay sound. They also learn alternative pronunciations for the same graphemes, such as the ea in tea, head and break. They also continue adding sight words to their repertoire.