Beech Grove

English Curriculum

We follow a two year rolling programme in English based on the whole school approaches 'Talk for Writing' and 'Talk for Reading'. 

Please follow the links below to see an overview of our English curriculum and progression in this subject: 

Reception Overview  Y1 & 2 Overview Y3 & 4 Overview Y5 & 6 Overview Writing Progression  Phonics Progression Spelling Map Y2-6  Grammar Progression Reading Progression   

Reading 

 

INTENT

Reading is at the very heart of our curriculum at Beech Grove. We believe that reading is integral to a child’s understanding and appreciation of the world around them; it is a platform that allows our children to see beyond what they know, share in cultural experiences and develop the vocabulary they need to effectively express themselves.

Our reading curriculum strives to foster a lifelong love of reading. We cultivate the behaviours our children will need to become discerning readers who read frequently and widely. 

Our curriculum is delivered through a rigorous synthetic phonics programme 'Read Write Inc' (RWI), whole class comprehension lessons, Accelerated Reader, home reading, reading across the curriculum, regular opportunities for independent reading and hearing quality texts read aloud every day. All of these are essential components in helping our pupils to become fluent, enthusiastic and critical readers. 

It is important that children are motivated to read at home regularly; when their reading opportunities increase, so does their fluency and stamina which in turn increases their enjoyment of reading. Therefore, the link between children’s motivation to read and reading for pleasure is reciprocal. Furthermore, we know that reading pleasure is beneficial not only for reading outcomes, but for wider academic attainment, learning enjoyment and mental wellbeing. 

Every classroom has a reading reward scheme to encourage children to read regularly at home and children are encouraged through the Accelerated Reader scheme to quiz at a consistently high standard.

We understand the significance of parents supporting their children to develop as confident readers and endeavour to support our parents by sharing helpful information and running parent workshops. 

 

IMPLEMENTATION

Throughout Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1, reading is taught explicitly as part of the RWI phonics programme as well as in a 1:1 context.  RWI operates a ‘keep up, not catch up’ approach to targeting any children who are struggling with the pace of learning, using tailored tutoring sessions in the afternoons to revisit specific sounds or rehearse key skills.

In Key Stage 2, children participate in whole class shared reading, small group reading, 1:1 reading and daily story time. The 'Talk for Reading' approach includes a daily reading lesson focused on whole class discussion and careful questioning from the teacher to develop understanding and build vocabulary. 

We use a wide variety of quality texts and resources to motivate and inspire our children. See links to Pie Corbett’s Reading Spine below, which give extensive lists of recommended books to read with children in each year group.

 

 

Recommended books for EYFS      Recommended books for Year 1 Recommended books for Year 2 Recommended books for Year 3 Recommended books for Year 4 Recommended books for Year 5 Recommended books for Year 6

 

Various additional reading supports are in place to support those pupils who are currently working below age-related expectations in reading or who struggle with specific areas of reading. These include RWI phonics (Y3/4), RWI Fresh Start (Y5/6), Trugs and 'Cracking Comprehension'.  

 

Accelerated Reader

From Year 2 onwards, the children use the Accelerated Reader programme which carefully matches each book to the child's current reading level. The child then completes an online quiz to be able to proceed to the next level. This ensures every child is reading a book at the right challenge level for them, so they experience success and enjoyment in reading. Children's progress through the scheme is carefully tracked so that any pupil who is not making good progress can be quickly identified and the right support put in place. 

Daily reading practise is essential, but so is the enjoyment of books. For this reason, every class has a timetabled daily story time and access to the school library. We celebrate reading through our reading challenge incentive, as well as national events like World Book Day. Our school Librarians assist with the running of our library.

To enrich the children's experience and inspire them as readers and writers, we invite authors, poets and theatre companies in to lead assemblies and workshops. 

 

      

 

To find out more about how we assess reading, please take a look are our assessment policy. 

 

IMPACT 

The impact on our children is clear: progress, sustained learning and transferrable skills. Termly assessments show that most pupils at Beech Grove make good progress with their reading. 

Pupils get off to a strong start with learning to read in reception and make rapid progress in learning their phonics. As a result, the percentage of pupils passing the phonics screening check in Year 1 is consistently well above the national average. 

Pupil voice shows that attitudes to reading are positive and many of our pupils read for pleasure at home. This is supporting improved outcomes in reading across the school. 

We love to celebrate success of all learners and strive to help all children achieve their goals. Reading is celebrated in classrooms and around the school at Beech Grove, where our bright and colourful displays celebrate children’s favourite books and reading reward schemes.

 

Writing

 

INTENT

At Beech Grove, our pupils participate in a wide variety of writing experiences. They draw from real life experiences, cross curricular enrichment opportunities and factual or creative pieces inspired by high quality books or events. We encourage children to write for a purpose and for enjoyment. We do this by planning a range of writing stimuli that will model and motivate children to write starting with a ‘hook’ to engage them in the unit of work.

We recognise the importance of nurturing a culture where children take pride in their writing, can write clearly and accurately and adapt their language and style for a range of contexts. We want to inspire children to be confident writers who take pleasure in the writing process.  

We believe that children need to develop a secure knowledge-base in writing, which follows a clear pathway of progression as they advance through the primary curriculum. Our writing curriculum has been carefully sequenced so that each unit builds on the knowledge and skills the children learnt previously. The model texts provide increasing levels of challenge and complexity and therefore need to be taught in a specific order. 

 

 

IMPLEMENTATION

 

We follow a whole school approach called ‘Talk for Writing’ which follows a sequence of: ‘imitate’, ‘innovate’ and ‘independent application’.

A high quality text is used for each sequence. These texts are carefully chosen so that they provide a clear model of the writing skills to be focused on.

Each unit begins with a ‘cold write’, which enables teachers to identify pupils' strengths and areas for development as writers and to adapt the teaching sequence accordingly. 

After the initial cold write, the children experience a ‘WOW’ starter to provide an engaging 'hook' for the new unit.

The ‘imitate’ phase of the sequence consists of learning new vocabulary which builds on prior knowledge and children are taught grammar and punctuation skills linked to the text. This is then rounded off with a ‘reading as a reader’ lesson, which focusses on their understanding of the text after being immersed in it throughout the week. There is a strong emphasis on learning the text by heart, which fully immerses the children in the language and any associated grammar or punctuation.

The ‘innovate’ stage is where the children ‘have a go’ at using and applying their new knowledge and skills through shared, guided and independent writing opportunities. The ‘innovate’ stage begins with ‘boxing up the text’ so that children understand what happens in each section of a narrative or non-fiction/poetry text. As a class, the children discuss what tools are required for that particular text to be a successful piece of writing. We encourage pupils to take ownership of their writing and to make conscious choices about which of the tools they use.

In addition, we have ‘every time we write’ criteria linked to each year group’s National Curriculum writing objectives, so every child knows the minimum expectation of them each time they write. The 'innovate' phase is developmental in nature and includes lots of opportunities to edit and improve. 

The ‘independent application’ stage is the final stage of the teaching sequence and follows immediately after the ‘innovate’ stage. This is where the children get to plan their own narrative, non-fiction or poetry text, based on the skills taught and the knowledge they have gained.

In addition, ‘Invent’ opportunities are planned across the curriculum to give children the opportunity to showcase their talents. This is a useful assessment tool for teaching staff. 

 

Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar

Beneath the awe and wonder of inspirational texts, is the need to address the basic skills of spelling, punctuation and grammar.

In Key Stage 1, pupils' skills in these areas are developed through the RWI programme.

In Year 2 and above, children who can read accurately and with increasing speed move on to the RWI spelling programme. With 15 minutes of daily teaching, children develop confident spelling. Although the teaching of phoneme-grapheme correspondence underpins this programme, it also develops children’s knowledge of word families, how suffixes impact upon root words, and provides mnemonics to remember the trickiest spellings.

The teaching revolves around instruction (with the help of online alien characters), partner and group practice, and competitive group challenges that help children commit new words to memory.

Handwriting

In EYFS and KS1, the focus within handwriting lessons is writing position, correct grip and accurate letter formation. These skills are taught during RWI sessions and are linked to phonics learning. As children move off the RWI programme and through KS2, a Nelson handwriting scheme is followed. This provides a clear and consistent whole-school handwriting approach. 

Children then move towards joining letters and developing their own fully cursive script to ensure they meet the ‘expected standard’ by the end of Year 6. 

Vocabulary

We are very aware of the importance of helping children develop both the ability to understand spoken and written language, and acquiring a control of language that enables them to express their ideas and feelings clearly.

One key aspect of a child’s language development is the growth of their vocabulary – the words they can understand and the words they use to communicate.

Not surprisingly, educational research suggests a strong relationship between vocabulary and comprehension, where a broad vocabulary (knowing lots of words) and a deep vocabulary (knowing those words well) correlates with better understanding.

When children write, a wider vocabulary gives them a rich palette with which to express their ideas, choosing a word to communicate with elegance and precision.

We use a range of approaches within the classroom to build children’s vocabulary, such as: prioritising reading within the curriculum; displaying words on our vocabulary tree; collecting interesting words in our 'magpie' books or playing with language through games and activities. 

Please click here for some examples of Vocabulary Games & Activities

To find out more about how we assess writing, please take a look are our assessment policy. 

 

IMPACT 

Pupils make good progress from their own starting points. By the end of Year 6, the majority of pupils are able to write clearly and accurately and adapt their writing style to a range of purposes, contexts and audiences. Our children acquire a wide vocabulary and develop a love of writing that will equip them for the rest of their education.

The strategies and approaches outlined above have helped to raise outcomes in writing across the school. Cross-curricular writing has improved and pupils are increasingly able to apply their skills in a range of subjects.  

We hope that as children move on from Beech Grove to further their education and learning, that their creativity, passion for English and high aspirations travel with them and continue to grow and develop as they do.