English

At Vale View, we believe that all our children deserve the best possible education we can give them.

We work hard to create a successful learning culture, which will enable pupils to become informed, confident, enthusiastic, inspired and independent learners for life.

In our teaching of English we are striving to develop an ethos where we continually try to spark children's interest and the quality of their learning, which is central to the school's work and purpose.
All children are encouraged to achieve their full potential and celebrate their achievements.

Words for Life

In life, words are extremely important and powerful. Without words, we would find in incredibly difficult to communicate, our thoughts, feelings, dreams, hopes and fears. They are vehicles of communication and as such the ability to understand, say, read and write them is of paramount importance to enable us all to communicate and enjoy the many riches that the spoken a written words has to offer.  We use words to communicate in many different ways and contexts: we use them to communicate with others by speaking and listening, receive messages in print, for example, in newspapers, magazines, comics and books, labels on tins and food packets; we need to be able to use words effectively to send and receive text messages and by posting and messaging friends on social media, such as Facebook. We are surrounded by words and language and because they are so central to our lives, at Vale View we strive to offer our children the richest opportunities that develop a natural love for words (vocabulary) and how to use them effectively in a range of contexts for different purposes.

English underpins all areas of the curriculum and the teaching of the skills required to communicate effectively through the spoken and written word is taken very seriously at Vale View.

The Teaching of Reading

At Vale View, we absolutely believe that it is a moral imperative for all children to be able to read fluently because learning to read and discovering the wonder of books and words changes people's lives.
As teachers of reading we also believe that when teachers are genuinely enthusiastic about reading, children will follow. This enthusiasm and love for books and reading begins when your child starts school in our Reception Class, where we aim to provide the highest standards in the teaching of reading where the love of books and words are unrelentingly promoted to our children. The children are read to on a daily basis, stories are discussed and acted out and retold by the children. Quickly, the children love to play teachers and retell familiar stories they have heard in class, and very soon we begin our Letters and Sounds lessons (phonics), where children learn the 44 sounds that form the basis of learning how to read. Our phonics’ lessons aim to build children's speaking and listening skills in their own right, as well as to prepare children for learning to read by developing their phonic knowledge and skills. Our approach to the teaching of phonics, is a detailed and systematic programme which aims for all children to become fluent readers by age seven.

There are six overlapping phases. The table below is a summary of each phase:

Phase Phonic Knowledge and Skills
Phase One (Nursery/Reception)

Activities are divided into seven aspects, including environmental sounds, instrumental sounds, body sounds, rhythm and rhyme, alliteration, voice sounds and finally oral blending and segmenting.

Phase Two (Reception) up to 6 weeks

Learning 19 letters of the alphabet and one sound for each. Blending sounds together to make words. Segmenting words into their separate sounds. Beginning to read simple captions.

Phase Three (Reception) up to 12 weeks

The remaining 7 letters of the alphabet, one sound for each. Graphemes such as ch, oo, th representing the remaining phonemes not covered by single letters. Reading captions, sentences and questions. On completion of this phase, children will have learnt the "simple code", i.e. one grapheme for each phoneme in the English language

Phase Four (Reception) 4 to 6 weeks

No new grapheme-phoneme correspondences are taught in this phase. Children learn to blend and segment longer words with adjacent consonants, e.g. swim, clap, jump.

Phases Five and 6 (Throughout Year 1 and revised in Year 2)

Now we move on to the "complex code". Children learn more graphemes for the phonemes which they already know, plus different ways of pronouncing the graphemes they already know. Children begin to work on strategies for more complex spelling patterns, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters etc.

 

Children have daily opportunities to put the skills they are learning by applying them into daily Guided Reading lessons.

Guided Reading

Guided reading is a powerful tool to improve children's reading, comprehension and speaking skills, while also being a great way of supporting progression in reading and encouraging children’s enthusiasm for books. At Vale View it is a primary aim to instill a love of books to our children and this continues in our guided reading lessons which take place daily our Reception Class to Year 6.

During a guided reading lesson groups of children, each with similar learning needs, will engage in a variety of pre-reading activities such as predicting, learning new vocabulary, and discussing various text features. Frequently the group may also engage in completing a picture ‘walk through’ of the book they are reading as a group. This activity involves scanning through the text to look at pictures and predicting what is happen in the story and why. The children will have a discussion about the story, raise questions, build expectations, and notice information in the text.

During Reading: The children will read independently within the group and their teacher will monitor how the children are decoding and if they are understanding what they have read. The teacher may ask the children if something makes sense, encourage them to try something again, or prompt them to use a strategy they have learnt to help them with the skills that a will enable them to become a fluent reader.

After Reading: Our teachers check children’s understanding of what they have read by talking about the story with the children. They may return to the text for teaching opportunities such as finding evidence or discussing problem solving. To extend the reading, students may participate in activities such as drama, writing, art, or more reading.

Reading a wide range of texts contributes to a child’s ability to spell effectively and to help with our children’s capacity of spelling the children have daily spelling lessons.

Spelling

As presented in the table above, the children in Year 1 begin learning to work on strategies for more complex spelling patterns, including prefixes and suffixes, doubling and dropping letters etc.

This learning is extended in Years 2 to 6 using a systematic approach to the teaching of spelling, called ‘No Nonsense Spelling’.

No Nonsense Spelling sets out to accelerate spelling standards from Years 2 to 6. It is a structured and rigorous approach which equips children with the strategies, knowledge and skills they need to learn become successful spellers and writers. It sets out to instil confidence in the children to just give spelling ‘a go’, rather than shying away from the challenges of spelling, which can prohibit children from writing.

Writing

At Vale View we have chosen to teach our children how to become successful authors by using good quality books as our starting point. Good quality texts are texts that have something to teach and all have three main things in common:

  • Something worth talking about;
  • Rich language;
  • Clear structure or organisation.

 

Using good quality texts allows our children to be exposed to words and language that they may not hear in usual, everyday speech. They also feed into the children’s imaginative development, for them to be exposed to the treasure troves of wonder and delight that feed into their writing.

At Vale View, we uphold that if children are to be successful in their learning, then their  learning has to meaningful to them and whatever the children set out to write about, therefore, has to be meaningful to them too, so they are inspired to write and see a purpose for them in what they are writing.

We aim to balance our teaching of writing between fiction, non-fiction and poetry, with sufficient  coverage of genre so that as your child moves through our school, they have a breadth of different reading and writing experiences, and can dip in and out of a range of these with some measure of confidence.

It is our sole aim to ensure that all children who leave Vale View School are able to read and evaluate their writing with confidence and that their writing enables them to express themselves, ideas and emotions.