English

We aim to develop pupils’ abilities within an integrated programme of Spoken Language, Listening, Reading & Writing and Vocabulary. Pupils will be given opportunities to relate the requirements of English within a broad and balanced approach to the teaching of English across the curriculum, with opportunities to consolidate and reinforce taught literacy skills. English is essential as a subject in its own right, but also fluency in the English Language provides access to the whole curriculum. We aim to have a word rich environment where the children are exposed to high quality texts that will develop their vocabulary and communication skills alongside enhancing the pupils achievement in writing so that they can consistently achieve their best.

The children at St Silas have an English lesson taught on a daily basis. Each unit of work is developed using a teaching sequence, linked to the Lancashire Primary English Support Planning, to meet the reading, writing, spelling and grammar needs of the children. A typical teaching sequence will begin with a launch event to engage the children, developing their enthusiasm and provide a final purpose for the topic. A range of texts and vocabulary will be explored relating to the topic; these will focus on children’s English targets at both group and individual level. Differing genres, writing styles, grammatical structures and use of vocabulary will be modeled through this exploration of a variety of quality texts. The genres will be taught in three different phases:
Reading – This is when the textual structures of the specific genres of writing, will be explored and the children will be immersed in different examples of writing.
Gathering Content – Within this section the children break up the text, identifying the key components of the genre and how they are going to develop their own pieces of writing.
Writing – Through a series of modeled teacher writing sessions, the pupils start to write their own versions of the genres, based on an adapted plan of the original text.

To ensure that this learning has become embedding, the children will complete a closely linked independent writing task shortly after concluding the topic, to identify their understanding, retention and recall, informing future planning.
Specific grammar and punctuation skills are taught in the Reading and Gathering Content phases, before being applied writing process. Children are expected to edit and improve their work and apply the skills taught in English across the range of curriculum subjects and opportunities for independent writing are incorporated into planning on a weekly basis.

Reading

Reading is essential for our pupils development in all areas of the curriculum. At St Silas, we want the children to develop a lifelong love of reading that will become an integral part of their future. The children will have guided sessions in school, home reading books targeting specific development areas and regular library visits, both in school and to Blackburn library.
In addition to the daily English lesson children will also participate in a 20 minute guided reading session where they develop reading accuracy and comprehension skills. Each child receives a number of home reading books that are changed on a regular basis. Children are encouraged to read daily at home and there are class incentives for doing so. The home reading scheme consists mainly of books from the, ‘Oxford Reading Tree Scheme.’ Each colour band is written in order to ensure careful progression so that children build upon and embed vital skills.

Spelling

Children in Key Stage 2 are taught spelling using the No Nonsense Spelling scheme. No Nonsense Spelling teaches spelling in a ‘Little-but-often’ structure which allows children to revisit and review, learn new strategies and apply. A variety of strategies are suggested so that children with different learning styles can find out what works well for them. Spelling practice may form part of the children’s home learning for regular testing in class.

Phonics – Read Write Inc Phonics

Read Write Inc. Phonics teaches children to read accurately and fluently with good comprehension. They learn to form each letter, spell correctly, and compose their ideas step-by-step.
Children learn the English alphabetic code: first they learn one way to read the 40+ sounds and blend these sounds into words, then learn to read the same sounds with alternative graphemes.
They experience success from the very beginning. Lively phonic books are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and ‘tricky’ words and, as children re-read the stories, their fluency increases.
Along with a thought-provoking introduction, prompts for thinking out loud and discussion, children are helped to read with a storyteller’s voice.

St Silas Book Week

Each year we hold a whole school book week. For the duration of the week, all classes choose a particular novel to immerse the children in throughout the week. We have author visits and paired reading sessions. All the weeks events are shared by the children in a celebration assembly at the end of the week.

Links for Parents

Library

We have a wide range of books in our school library and each class is timetabled weekly to visit and change library books. Children are able to use the library during lunchtimes and parents are invited to use the library with their child after school.  We ensure that every child has the opportunity to join the local library in Blackburn.