ENGLISH TEACHING AT KINGSTON
We are proud of the English achievements of the children at Kingston. We invest heavily in resources, training and staffing to ensure children have access to the best learning experience possible. We believe in “quality first teaching” – that every lesson delivered should be either good or outstanding, with no exceptions. In addition, we employ a wide range of interventions, catch-ups and pre-teaching lessons throughout the school, many one-to-one or very small group, targetting those who most need it. We search for the best, most practical and successful teaching ideas and are constantly looking to improve what we do.
Phonics is an important part of learning to read and write. At Kingston, Phonics is taught in the EYFS and Key Stage 1 on a daily basis for between 20-30 minutes, together with planned intervention groups for children needing extra practise with their learning. Children are taught according to the Phase they are working in across the EYFS and KS1. We use the ‘Letters and Sounds’ document to teach and assess children, which separates phonics into Phases 1-6.
Lessons aim to be interactive, stimulating and age appropriate and over the course of a week will cover:
• Phoneme and grapheme recognition
• Blending for reading
• Segmenting for writing
• Application of phonics strategies for reading and writing
At the end of Year 1, children will take the statutory Phonics Screening Check, which assesses their ability to blend sounds to decode unknown words. If children do not reach the age-expected level in this check at the end of Year 1, they are required to take it again in Year 2.
For children who are not securely working at Phase 6 of letters and sounds by the end of Year 2, their phonics teaching will continue in Year 3, appropriate to their level of attainment. This will be taught through our own tailored junior phonic scheme ‘Pixead’. When formative and summative assessments show children are working securely within age expected levels, this intervention program will stop.
The Big Write
The Big Write is a a system that has been developed that focusses on children developing their spelling, grammar and creative writing skills in a systematic way. Spellings and grammar are discretely taught and include extending vocabulary, sentence starters, punctuation and connectives. Each year group builds on the learning of the previous year and the VCOP (vocabulary, connectives, operners and punctuation) games are played daily in short, managemable sessions. At the end of each two weeks of literacy teaching, the children are then expected to engage in a piece of extended writing. This helps them to focus on the skills they are learning and apply them to a piece of sustained writing. The classroom is set up with some calming music and children are expected to work in silence. These pieces of indpendent writing are then used to assess the children and the progress that they are making.
Talk for Writing
For several years we have used Talk for Writing as the basis for teaching writing at Kingston. The idea behind the system is that children should ‘linger’ and ‘engage’ with a quality piece of text before embarking on a piece of independent writing. We therefore ask all our teachers to create a ‘fabulous text’ to start off each new scheme of work. The pupils then spend a few lessons identifying what writing tools have been used to make the text ‘fabulous’! They also interact with the text through drama, speaking and listening, drawing and creating a success criteria. When the teacher feels that the pupils have assimilated the text then a shared text is written whereby excellent writing techniques are modelled by the teacher. Then our pupils are ready to create an independent piece of writing. Research has proven that this technique enables all pupils to be accomplished writers and our own experience has shown that our pupils are more able to produce a successful piece of text when using the Talk for Writing method of learning.
Children are primarily taught to read using our phonic system of teaching. At Kingston we use the Oxford Reading Tree of books to enable pupils to progress their reading skills. From years two to six we choose challenging and rich texts to share with the whole class. We have created our own reading system called ‘Active Reading’ to encourage pupils to engage full with texts and develop their comprehension skills. We are determined that all of our pupils should leave Kingston ‘Secondary Ready’ and have set up a Reading Partnership scheme in Key Stage 2 to ensure that all of our pupils are fluent readers.
After a lot of research, we have developed our own Kingston scheme of spelling. We aim for all of our pupils to be competent spellers and therefore focus our teaching on spelling rules and consolidation of ‘tricky’ words. In every year groups we have ‘words of the week’ and base our weekly spelling teaching on those root words and finding similar words. We have based on spelling scheme on the 2014 National Curriculum.
This is a link to our root words for each year group: