At Dersingham Primary School, English is taught through a programme of study called Wordsmith.
Wordsmith takes the children on a journey of ‘Excellence in English’ and underpins four key principles of learning:
The children are taught grammar through context and technical
writing experiences. Throughout the teaching sequence, grammar is at the heart of our curriculum ensuring that the children are becoming precise, methodical writers who understand how to use grammar and punctuation to fully establish their writing.
Purpose and audience:
The children are taught to write for real purposes and real audiences. Often, the children complete live units of work which is sent off to Wordsmith to be marked. Wordsmith evaluates the children’s writing and provides them with feedback to support them in developing their English skills.
Varied whole texts:
The children’s English is taught through varied whole texts throughout the school. This means that all English units will cover whole books through the teaching sequence. As a school, we believe that whole texts are essential for engaging the children into reading and that they develop a sense of understanding about what ‘real writers’ do to engage an audience. Therefore, applying this knowledge into their own writing supports their own development.
Talk for writing:
As a school, we understand that talk is one of the most important factors in developing the children’s vocabulary. Each unit of work that the children cover has a key emphasis on the development of language; with a specific focus on ‘Standard English’. We understand that for the children to be precise in their writing, they need to talk using 'Standard English' and have a rich, varied vocabulary which they can use as a supportive tool in their own writing.
We aim to build on the children’s confidence and give them the skills to become fluent, independent readers. We use the Collins Big Cat banded books scheme. We encourage parents to read with their child at home and the children take home books on a weekly basis. Classes visit our school library regularly and it is open for parents and children to attend after school. Children in Year R, 1 and 2 are taught Phonics everyday as well as some children in older year groups where necessary.
Our aim is to help the children to develop as independent and fluent writers. From the onset we encourage children to give meaning to the marks they make, they gain awareness of writing for different purposes and they will be shown the words and letters that form words. As they progress, they are taught about punctuation, rules of grammar and ways of expressing themselves clearly. Our core scheme is Wordsmith.
Speaking and Listening
We place great emphasis on developing children’s speaking and listening skills. Children need to learn to express themselves clearly in a wide variety of situations. Throughout the school the children are encouraged to take part in talk for writing activities, listen to each other as well as to adults, ask questions and to make comments. They are also expected to listen to and to follow instructions.
Spelling is taught through the children’s own writing, and children in Year 3, 4,and 5 follow a daily spelling programme.
At Dersingham Primary we teach early reading through synthetic phonics. The children are taught the sounds of each letter and use these letters to begin to segment and blend whole words. As children become confident with the 'sounds', they are transferred onto a banded reading scheme and are assessed on a weekly basis. The phonics scheme we use is called Floppy Phonics, and the banded reading scheme is delivered through Collins Big Cat. Children in EYFS and KS1 are taught phonics everyday for 20 - 30 minutes, with children receiving specialist intervention (Fischer Family Trust) if they are making less than expected progress.
All the children are taught a cursive style of handwriting. This begins with the practice and learning of individual letter formation and leads to a clear joined up script.