At Northwood English is the foundation of our curriculum. It is embedded throughout our curriculum through reading, writing, speaking and listening. We value literacy as the key to accessing knowledge and skills in other subjects therefore we teach all aspects of English rigorously. We strive to ensure all pupils leave us with a good standard of reading and writing; as we appreciate the lifelong opportunities this will afford them.
Speaking and Listening
Whilst speaking and listening is not taught discretely it permeates every aspect of school life. Speaking and listening is used throughout the school to enable children to explore and rehearse their thoughts before committing them to paper. Speaking and listening skills are also developed through seasonal and end of year performances in front of large audiences.
Phonics is taught through daily, discrete phonics sessions which are streamed into ability groups crossing year groups. Our approach to synthetic phonics is based on ‘Letters and Sounds’ with interventions including ‘Rapid Phonics’ used where relevant to support pupils when required.
In Year 1, children are assessed through the Phonic Check.
At Northwood our passion for reading is evident. Every classroom has an inviting book corner which is regularly resourced with new books from modern and classic authors. We use the ‘Power of Reading’ to ensure high quality texts are used to stimulate a love of reading and to inspire children’s writing. Guided reading is a daily occurrence at Northwood; it enables children to explore books in depth, demonstrating their comprehension and sharing their opinions of texts. We also strive to develop a love of reading for pleasure at home, by setting children regular reading challenges during school holidays.
We want all of our children to love reading as much as we do. Rather than following a reading scheme, each classroom has a wide range of fiction and non fiction books from a range of schemes. This provides children with books from a variety of authors and publishers so that they can choose to read a book that interests them. Alongside this we use the National Scheme of Colour banding to sort our books according to a gradient of challenge.
Teachers regularly assess children's reading ability and then encourage them to independently choose books from the appropriate colour band. The colour bands starts at pink and progresses until dark red.
At Northwood we have high expectations of writing. Teachers plan engaging lessons with daily purposeful writing opportunities based on real life situations or topical learning. The ‘Big Write’ project is used to enable children to produce sustained pieces of writing. We also use ‘VCOP’ as a strategy to enable pupils to write to a higher standard. Spelling, punctuation and grammar is taught to ensure children develop a good command of standard English. Handwriting is taught throughout key stage one and as required, when children develop a joined cursive script, they receive a pen licence which enables them to use an ink pen when writing.
Children are given spellings to learn each week and many get them all correct in their weekly test. Due to the huge success of our ‘Master of Tables’ challenge, and how enthused the children are to get all the way to Gold we have also introduced ‘Master of Spelling’. Children need to learn words from the various age related spelling lists.
We have split the ‘Mastery’ awards into KS1 and KS2, with Gold, Silver & Bronze for each Key Stage. Children must be able to spell the words correctly in their daily writing as well as in tests in order to gain each award. Reception Children can join in they wish to, but we would need to see that the spellings are being spelt correctly in their daily writing as well as in the tests.
At the beginning, all children will be tested at KS1 Bronze, Silver and Gold before they can move onto the KS2 words. Below you will find the spelling lists so that you can support your child at home to become a ‘Master of Spelling’.