At Tetherdown, we aim to foster a love of speaking, listening, reading and writing. We encourage children to speak with clarity and confidence, developing a broad vocabulary in a range of situations from small informal groups to performances for a larger audience.
Activities are carefully designed so that children develop a passion for reading, gaining expression and fluency as they grow, showing a deep understanding of what they read and applying their reading skills in other curriculum areas. We provide a range of opportunities for children to become fluent writers; writing for a range of contexts and purposes, selecting language and styles that engage their audience.
The curriculum will engage all of our children in using these skills across all curricular subjects, providing rich opportunities for writing based on quality core texts. From the beginning of their journey at Tetherdown we encourage and equip parents and families to engage with our curriculum and extend their children’s learning at home.
English is delivered in a creative cross curricular way and English lessons are based around quality core texts. The children’s first year at Tetherdown in Reception follows the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum which gives children the foundations to becoming successful readers and writers. To discover more about early reading and early writing, see our statement on EYFS. In Years 1-6, the children build on previous experiences, learning to improve their oracy (speaking and listening), reading (including word reading and comprehension) and writing (including spelling, punctuation and grammar).
Oracy: We create confident communicators through opportunities and activities planned throughout the curriculum and school life. This will include drama activities, class assemblies, presentations, school plays and debates which will be in English lessons and across the curriculum. As part of oracy, the children are encouraged to develop their listening and response skills, as much as their speaking and presenting skills.
Reading: Reading begins in Reception with the Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum. One part of this is systematic synthetic phonics sessions beginning in Reception and continuing throughout Year 1 and 2.
To give the children as much exposure to a variety of texts as possible, the curriculum includes opportunities such as reading to the pupils, shared reading, buddy reading, guided reading, reciprocal reading and one to one reading. Reading is supported by a range of adults, including teaching assistants, reading volunteers and parent volunteers. Alongside this, children are provided opportunities to read and respond to what they are reading through activities such as meeting the author, writing a book review, showing empathy with the characters in the book, making links with similar authors or their life experience, predicting what comes next, inferring how a character feels, summarising or defining words or phrases in the text.
Writing: Throughout their primary school life, children are given the opportunity to develop their writing through a range of genres including stories, poetry, reports, persuasive writing and factual accounts. We focus on the three purposes for writing: to inform, persuade and entertain. Ensuring the children understand their purpose for writing enables them to choose language and structures that not only match the genre but matches the purpose, engaging the reader and focusing their writing.
Writing opportunities are provided across the curriculum and the children’s learning in English lessons can be applied across different subjects. Within writing lessons, children learn to plan their ideas, draft initial writing through rehearsal, edit and revise their writing and publish their work. Children are provided clear expectations on what language or structural features they should include to match the purpose of their writing and are afforded independence and creative freedom to show this how they want to as a writer. The key to them being a good writer is the editing process.
Our children are guided and challenged to understand how effective editing can successfully improve their work. This is done through check lists, peer marking, teacher conferences one to one with children and whole class feedback. Fundamental to creating fluent writers, is our teaching of spelling, punctuation, grammar and handwriting in a consistent and sequential way throughout the children’s school life at Tetherdown.
Families are equipped to support the children at home through parent workshops, parent consultations, open communication with the child’s class teacher and the school Newsletter.
What it Looks Like
Teachers assess progress in a variety of ways and on a regular basis. Daily interactions and observations form the teacher’s future planning decisions. Through more formal testing and teacher observation, teachers ensure children are responding to and meeting the early learning goals in EYFS and end of year expectations for the national curriculum and thereby maintain a very close eye on pupil progress over the course of the academic year and indeed the whole of the learning journey.
Children at Tetherdown grow into confident and articulate readers and writers. They have a keen interest in understanding and shaping the world around them using their oracy, reading and writing skills in creative and inspiring ways.
- In Reception, the children learn and re-tell traditional stories such as Goldilocks and the Three Bears while later on in the year travel to Space and even visit some pirates!
- In Key Stage 1, the children travel under the sea with riddles and poetry to perform and write informative reports on various nocturnal animals.
- In Years 3 and 4, the children develop their speaking, listening, reading and writing skills, writing persuasive letters around the book ‘The Lorax’, comparative writing about China and a diary of a Roman soldier.
- In Year 5, the children are immersed in the book ‘Wonder’ and create imaginative and thoughtful social awareness projects in response to the book.
- In Year 6, the children study Shakespeare and end the year with a production which is led entirely by them. Throughout the children’s time in Tetherdown, they perform class assemblies, a nativity and have various visits by authors, illustrators and World Book Day is celebrated every year to inspire and reignite their love of learning.
The children have a library for each year group and these books include a range of fiction and non- fiction. Many of our children take their love of reading, writing and performing beyond the school with children participating in amateur dramatic clubs and auditioning for acting roles. As a school, we participate in an annual short film competition where the children are given an opportunity to showcase their acting, filming and editing skills. We have had some hilarious, moving and challenging pieces in the past.