We aim to promote high standards of language and literacy through quality teaching and learning of English across the curriculum. We recognise the importance of speaking and listening in supporting children to become innovative thinkers, skilled debaters, life-long readers and confident writers.
At Horniman, we regard reading as an invaluable life skill. We encourage children to become confident and prolific life-long readers for both purpose and pleasure.
In the Foundation Stage and KS1, all children are encouraged to read a breadth of texts for enjoyment. In Reception, children are regularly read with on a 1:1 basis to develop their accuracy, fluency, confidence as readers. We support children to learn to read using the Letters and Sounds phonics programme and provide them with daily practical learning experiences.
Whilst in Reception, children also begin to participate in weekly group guided reading sessions where they have the opportunity to discuss a variety of high-quality texts and develop reading comprehension skills. In these sessions, children are introduced to more challenging texts, taught how to retrieve specific information or ideas and supported to make increasingly complex inferences.
In Year 1 and 2, weekly guided reading sessions continue and the focus moves from decoding to fluency and comprehension. Some children will receive additional 1-1 or paired reading sessions.
1:1 reading continues into KS2 for children who require extra support until they are able to read, understand and choose age-appropriate texts independently. Guided reading also continues on a weekly basis for all children throughout KS2. In these sessions, children are encouraged to explore texts in greater depth, study the effect of language and identify themes and conventions as well as further develop their retrieval and inference skills. Additional weekly whole-class teaching focuses on structuring written responses to comprehension questions by applying skills learnt in guided reading.
At Horniman, we encourage children to develop their imagination and widen their vocabulary through discussion, drama, debate and role play which enables them to produce engaging pieces of writing. We strive to support children to demonstrate the skills needed to write clearly, accurately and effectively. We encourage children to write with confidence in a range of styles, for a variety of real purposes and across genres. We believe that children should be exposed to high quality texts as a model for their own writing. Children are immersed in the text, through role play, art, drama, experiences and activities which hook the children's interest.
In Reception, ongoing opportunities for children to write are provided throughout the day in a range of areas, for different purposes both inside and outside of the classroom. They write a weekly diary entry and develop an understanding of story language by reciting lines from narrative texts together with actions. Shared writing prepares children for writing their own short stories using the language and structure of traditional tales, composing sentences orally before writing them down. In KS1, children are introduced to a wider range of high-quality texts which, alongside personal experiences and participation in drama activities, provide further inspiration for writing. They continue to develop their understanding of how narrative writing and sentences are structured. Talking about writing and sharing ideas is still an integral part of the writing process, and children begin to sequence ideas and punctuate with greater accuracy.
In KS2, children regularly produce written plans to formulate their ideas before writing them down. Discussions with the teacher or with their peers support children to evaluate their own writing, and they are encouraged to edit and redraft in order to improve what they have written. The way we mark writing further supports the children to improve their work by guiding them to identify and correct errors in spelling, punctuation and grammar as well as develop their vocabulary, vary sentence structures and refine their purpose for writing. There is a greater emphasis on organisation and layout of non-fiction writing in KS2. There are opportunities for children to produce extended pieces of writing independently covering a range of genres: non-fiction, narrative and poetry.
In Reception and KS1, the children receive daily sessions following the Letters and Sounds phonics programme. This helps them to make links between reading and writing and involves the teaching of sounds, spelling patterns, high frequency words and words that are not able to be sounded out phonetically.
From Y2 -Y6, the children learn the rules and conventions of spelling patterns as well as the statutory words as specified in the English curriculum. Spelling is taught either in small groups or as a whole class session. Children work in spelling journals to learn spellings, using a variety of strategies to help them learn new or tricky spellings. During these sessions, children are encouraged to use different strategies to help them learn words. They are given the opportunity to identify spelling rules for themselves before exploring exception words, and are also taught how use dictionaries efficiently in order to discover the meaning of new words. Each week, children are given up to 5 spellings to learn. These spellings are tested by writing dictated sentences which are self-marked initially, to encourage the children to use their sight vocabulary to identify errors, before being marked by a partner and finally the teacher. Children needing extra support are given personalised spelling targets based on words repeatedly misspelt in their written work and are tested separately.
At Horniman we encourage children to take pride in the presentation of every piece of work they produce across the curriculum. We teach children to write using a cursive script, and starting in Reception, the focus is on the correct formation and orientation of letters. Moving into Year 1, children begin to use a pre-cursive style of handwriting to prepare them for joining their letters in Year 2. Children are expected to write using a fully cursive script in KS2, and when confident, they can start to write in pen. We follow the Cambridge Pen Pals scheme for teaching handwriting.
Click here to download the grammar glossary from the National Curriculum