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English

Spoken Language Years 1-6

Ensuring children have effective speaking and listening skills is an integral part of our English curriculum. These skills are developed across all areas of the curriculum and in a variety of ways, e.g. in groups of different sizes, learning partners, across a range of contexts and for a range of audiences.

The skills below are taught in all year groups (at an age appropriate level).

We teach children to:

  • listen and respond appropriately to adults and their peers;
  • ask relevant questions to extend their understanding and knowledge;
  • use relevant strategies to build their vocabulary;
  • articulate and justify answers, arguments and opinions;
  • give well-structured descriptions, explanations and narratives for different purposes, including expressing feelings;
  • maintain attention and participate actively in collaborative conversations, staying on topic and initiating and responding to comments;
  • use spoken language to develop understanding through speculating, hypothesising, imagining and exploring ideas;
  • speak audibly and fluently with an increasing command of Standard English;
  • participate in discussions, presentations, performances, role play, improvisations and debates;
  • gain, maintain and monitor the interest of the listener(s);
  • consider and evaluate different viewpoints, attending to and building on the contributions of others;
  • select and use appropriate registers for effective communication.

Reading Years 1 - 6

At St Anne’s, we strive to help children to develop a love for reading. We teach reading in a variety of ways and it is integrated into all areas of our curriculum. The children will read with an adult at least once weekly. This will either be in the form of a one-to-one reading session or in a group guided reading session. Our reading scheme is Oxford Reading Tree and we ensure children are exposed to a wealth of texts and genres when guided reading, through our learning journeys and when visiting the school library.

We teach phonics predominantly using the Letters and Sounds scheme, as well as incorporating other phonics schemes, e.g. Jolly Phonics. Phonics is taught in a creative and engaging way and our lessons are very practical.

Writing Years 1 - 6

At St Anne’s, we aim to develop passionate writers who write effectively for a range of purposes. We help children to develop writing skills throughout our school curriculum and we often link writing to our guided reading sessions. Children in Year 1 continue to follow the Letters and Sounds scheme to support their spelling, whilst also learning how to spell the Year 1 common exception words. Year 2 enter the final stage of our phonics scheme and their spelling lessons also incorporate the No Nonsense Spelling scheme. Years 3-6 use the No Nonsense Spelling scheme and each year group has a set of spelling words to learn. Each class has a writing wall to remind the children of the sounds/spellings they are learning and we link our spellings to our handwriting practice each week. Spelling is a key focus throughout the school and we adopt a little and often teaching approach. Every year, our school enters writing competitions and we are very proud of the many Banstead Arts Poetry Competition winners we have had in recent years.  

Below you will find a more detailed explanation of the reading and writing skills that are taught in Years 1 – 6. Please refer to the Early Years document for detail about how English is taught in Reception at St Anne’s.

Year 1

When reading in Year 1, we continue to teach the children to sound out and blend unfamiliar words quickly and accurately using their phonic knowledge and skills.The children learn to read common exception words and words with contractions [for example, I’m, I’ll, we’ll], and understand that the apostrophe represents the omitted letter(s). Children will develop pleasure in reading through listening to and discussing a wide range of poems, stories and non-fiction at a level beyond that at which they can read independently. 

Children will focus on retelling stories and discussing their opinions about books. They will discuss word meanings, check that the text makes sense to them as they read and correct inaccurate reading. Children will begin to make inferences on the basis of what is being said and done and predict what might happen on the basis of what has been read so far.

When writing, children will be taught to compose a sentence orally before writing it. Children will be encouraged to spell using their phonics knowledge and their knowledge of common exception words and they will be taught to add prefixes (un-) and suffixes (-es). Children will begin to form lower-case letters in the correct direction, starting and finishing in the right place and form capital letters. Children will be taught to separate words with spaces and they will be introduced to using capital letters, full stops, question marks and exclamation marks to punctuate sentences. Children will develop these skills through both fiction and non-fiction writing and across the curriculum.

Year 2

In Year 2, children should be able to read all common sounds and unfamiliar words containing them. They should also be able to read many common words containing sounds taught so far [for example, shout, hand, stop, or dream], without needing to blend the sounds out loud first. Children’s reading of common exception words [for example, you, could, many, or people], should become automatic in Year 2. During Year 2, we continue to focus on establishing children’s accurate and speedy word reading skills. Children listen to and discuss a wide range of stories, such as fairy stories and traditional tales, poems, plays and information books. They retell some familiar stories that have been read to and discussed with them or that they have acted out during Year 1. The sequence of events in books and how items of information are related are discussed as well as favourite words and phrases. Children will be encouraged to ask and answer questions about what they have read and make predictions about what might happen next.

In writing, children continue to compose individual sentences orally and then write them down. They consolidate the spelling of words covered in Year 1 and should also be able to make phonically plausible attempts to spell words they have not yet learnt.

Children will learn that there is not always an obvious connection between the way a word is said and the way it is spelt (for example, silent letters and the way that words are now pronounced, such as the ‘le’ ending in table ). In Year 2, children plan what they are going to write about. They make simple additions, revisions and corrections to their own writing by evaluating their writing with the teacher and other pupils. They are encouraged to check that their writing makes sense. Finally, they should be able to form individual letters correctly and decide which letters are best unjoined. Children will learn how to use both familiar and new punctuation correctly including full stops, capital letters, exclamation marks, question marks, commas for lists and apostrophes for contracted forms and the possessive (singular). Children will learn how to use the present and past tenses correctly and consistently.

Year 3

In Year 3, children should be able to read books accurately and at a speed that is sufficient for them to focus on understanding what they read rather than on decoding individual words. They should be able to decode most new words outside their spoken vocabulary, making a good approximation to the word’s pronunciation. Teaching is directed more towards developing their vocabulary and the breadth and depth of their reading, making sure that they become independent, fluent and enthusiastic readers who read widely and frequently. Children should ask questions to improve their understanding of a text and identify main ideas drawn from more than one paragraph and summarise these. They should be developing their understanding and enjoyment of stories, poetry, plays and non-fiction, and learning to read silently.  They should be learning to justify their views about what they have read, referring to the text.

Children will continue to have opportunities to write for a range of real purposes and audiences as part of their learning across the curriculum. Children should plan their writing by discussing and recording their ideas. They should be learning to organise paragraphs around a theme and using varied sentence structures. Children should be assessing the effectiveness of their writing and others’ writing and suggesting improvements. The children should be learning to use a rich and varied vocabulary to add interest and detail to their writing. Children should correctly use full stops, capital letters, exclamation marks, question marks, commas for lists, commas after fronted adverbials (for example, Today, I feel tired),  apostrophes for contracted forms and the possessive (singular) and speech marks more accurately to punctuate direct speech. Children should learn to use the present perfect form of verbs instead of the simple past [for example, He has gone out to play contrasted with He went out to play]. Letters and words are appropriate in size and position and there should be an understanding of which letters are best unjoined. Children will be learning to spell the words in the Year 3/4 word list and learning to spell words ending in –tion and –sion.

Year 4

In Year 4, children should read with fluency, expression and understanding. They should be able to sustain silent reading and should be able to decode most new words outside their spoken vocabulary. Teaching is directed more towards developing their vocabulary and the breadth and depth of their reading. Children should be able to discuss the features of different genres and begin to comment on the way that authors’ viewpoints can influence the way that information is imparted.  Children should be able to justify their views about what they have read, referring to the text. They should express preferences and make informed recommendations based on a wide range of texts encountered.

Children will continue to have opportunities to write for a range of real purposes and audiences as part of their learning across the curriculum. Children should plan their writing by discussing and recording their ideas. Their paragraphing should be more developed and used effectively in fiction and non-fiction. Children should be assessing the effectiveness of their writing and others’ writing and amending accordingly. The children should use a rich and varied vocabulary to add detail, persuade, instruct and explain. Children should use and experiment with a range of punctuation (for example, brackets, colon, dash, semi-colon, apostrophes to mark plural possession). There should be an appropriate choice of pronoun or noun within and across sentences to aid cohesion and avoid repetition.

There should be an increase in the legibility, consistency and quality of their handwriting [for example, by ensuring that the downstrokes of letters are parallel and equidistant; that lines of writing are spaced sufficiently so that the ascenders and descenders of letters do not touch]. Children should be able to spell the majority of words in the Year 3/4 word list and using the –ous, -ation suffixes and the il-, ir-, re-, sub- prefixes.  

Year 5

By the beginning of Year 5, children should be able to read aloud with accuracy and at a reasonable speaking pace, reading most words effortlessly. They will prepare readings, with appropriate intonation to show their understanding, and summarise and present a familiar story in their own words. They will enjoy periods of silent reading and are encouraged to read widely and frequently, outside as well as in school, for pleasure and information.

Children’s spelling of most words taught so far should be accurate and they should be able to spell words that they have not yet been taught by using what they have learnt about how spelling works in English. Children are taught the common errors in prefixes and suffixes e.g. disappear disappoint beginning business. Children whose decoding skills are poor are taught through a rigorous and systematic phonics programme so that they catch up rapidly with their peers in terms of their decoding and spelling.

During Year 5, children’s enjoyment and understanding of language is emphasised. As in previous years, children are taught to enhance the effectiveness of their writing as well as their competence. In narratives, they will describe settings, characters and atmosphere and integrating dialogue to convey character and advance the action. Precise and expanded noun phrases will be used to add interest and detail. In Year 5, grammar and punctuation should be broadly accurate.  In non-fiction writing, they will use organisational and presentational devices to structure text and to guide the reader (e.g. headings, bullet points, underlining) and ensure that the correct subject and verb agreement is used. Commas will help to clarify meaning and avoid ambiguity and colons will be deployed to introduce a list. Children will write legibly and with increasing speed.

Year 6

In reading, they will be able to infer the meanings of unfamiliar words and draw inferences such as characters’ feelings, thoughts and motives from their actions, and justify inferences with evidence. They will discuss how the use of different structures and organisation impact on the pace, mood and atmosphere (e.g. sentence/paragraph length) and they will be able to identify similarities in texts written by the same author such as the language, themes, technique deployed by the writer. Children’s knowledge of language, gained from stories, plays, poetry, non-fiction and textbooks, supports their increasing fluency as readers, their facility as writers, and their comprehension.

In Year 6, children should be able to reflect their understanding of the audience for and purpose of their writing by selecting appropriate vocabulary and grammar. Children are prepared for secondary education by ensuring that they can consciously control sentence structure in their writing and understand why sentences are constructed as they are. In Year 6 writing content is balanced, e.g. between action and dialogue; fact and comment.

A wide range of devices is used to build cohesion within and between paragraphs (e.g. use of adverbials of time, place and number or tense choices – he had seen her before). Viewpoint is established and generally maintained and some use of expert comment may be used to suggest credibility (e.g. rabbits are popular pets because they can live outdoors in all weather).

Commas are used to separate phrases or clauses with more confidence and semi-colons, colons or dashes to mark boundaries between independent clauses. If used, inverted commas demarcate the beginning and end of direct speech, correctly on most occasions. They will spell most words correctly, including polysyllabic words that contain unstressed vowels (e.g. different, interested, secretary, jewellery. In Year 6, children should be able to write down their ideas quickly. Children will develop a consistent and fluent style with letters and words appropriately placed.

By the end of Year 6, children’s reading and writing should be sufficiently fluent and effortless for them to manage the general demands of the curriculum in Year 7, across all subjects and not just in English. 

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