At Shakespeare Infant School our integrated curriculum sets out to develop resilient, inquisitive and independent learners. Our aim is to ensure that the children are supported to leave our school being able to read, write and able to communicate their ideas.
We believe in an integrated approach where learning is purposeful and cross curricular. The projects in each year group are recursive and have been carefully sequenced to enable children the time to revisit and then build upon prior skills. English is at the heart of each of our projects allowing the children to regularly experience a wide, ambitious and exciting variety of reading and writing opportunities.
We believe that all children should have the opportunity to become confident readers. We want our children to have a varied reading diet, with exposure to a range of authors, allowing them to make sense of the world around them. We want to work alongside our school’s parents and carers as we understand that together with consistent commitment we can enable each child to become a lifelong reader.
We understand the importance of talk in our English lessons as it allows children to develop their vocabulary in a sociable yet focused way. We want to provide regular opportunities for the children to be able to communicate with their peers and in turn become a great listener.
Our English curriculum has been designed to be inclusive of all of our children. Staff at our school are reflective to ensure that each child’s literacy journey will be personal and ambitious. We care that all children feel a sense of achievement and therefore feel motivated to learn.
Speaking and Listening
All of our children are taught skills which enable them to listen carefully and to ask and answer questions, to participate in small group and class discussions, to recite stories and rhymes, to take on different roles and voices through drama and role play, to discuss ideas and thoughts with a talking partner, and to participate in structured debates where each child is given a different role.
At Shakespeare Infant school we use the Oxford Reading Tree Scheme to help us to teach the children to read. Our books are organised into colour bands and the children progress through these as they develop their skills. Each week the children share books in class, and take one home to practise. We also have a selection of books in each class which the children choose for home reading. We encourage all children to read at least three books each week and reward them when they do.
All children have a reading diary which they keep in their book bag. Teachers write a comment in the diary each time they share a book with the child and a weekly reading target.
We introduce phonics through The Jolly Phonics Programme, Letters and Sounds (Phase 1-4) and practise cued articulation. We then continue to follow the 'Letters and Sounds' principles and practice of high quality phonics through teaching Phase 5 in Year 1 (with revision of previous phrases where required) . In Year Two the majority of pupils are confident enough to recall all of the 44 common grapheme-phoneme correspondences and are able to read hundreds of words independently. In Phase 6, work on word patterns and spelling helps children to understand more about the structure of words to consolidate their knowledge of phonics. As pupils learn new phonemes throughout the school, these are taken home for extra practise. Phonics is taught as a step towards word recognition - the automatic reading of all words -both decodable and tricky), which is our ultimate goal!
Key words for reading, writing and spelling are introduced weekly in each year group. The children learn to sound out and read words using their robot arms.
Each class has a book area which is visually stimulating and contains a selection of high quality books which encourage the children to read for pleasure.
Our school library is well stocked and organised, with a range of high quality books. We organise weekly class visits when the children have an opportunity to browse and select a book to borrow. A number of our year 2 children have been trained as librarians, and have opportunities to help with the looking after of the library and with the selection of books from the mobile library van.
We use a cursive writing script and teach the children to form letters using the correct formation. The children are given opportunities to practise their skills and earn a bronze, silver and gold award in each year group.
We provide opportunities for writing through our rich and stimulating curriculum. The writing in each year group covers a range of genres and is linked to our themes and topics.
The day to day delivery of English in our school is through well sequenced, practical and creative tasks designed to engage the children’s preferred learning styles. The writing, reading and vocabulary teaching in our school is made meaningful because of our unique integrated English curriculum which allows the children to become fully immersed in their learning because of the strong, cross curricular links.
Our exciting projects start with a hook and then end with an outcome. Therefore, the children are motivated to acquire new skills and vocabulary. Our school boasts magnificent, newly developed grounds that inspire the children and are regularly used to enhance and provide first hand experiences in English lessons for our learners.
High quality, engaging texts and text types are an integral part of our school’s English curriculum. This allows for the endless literacy benefits and enjoyment that regular book time can bring and a visual context that furthers children’s understanding and allows them to make stronger links in each project.
At our school we make time for a mixture of whole class and small group reading lessons that deepen the children’s comprehension skills through valuable book discussions. We also carry out weekly guided reading sessions where children read individually or within a small group. This allows the teachers to carry out weekly assessments and provide bespoke next learning steps. We plan our guided reading time to ensure children are exposed to reading material that suits their current phonic stage. We mostly use Oxford Reading Tree fiction, poetry and non- fiction colour banded books.
Our English lessons are carefully sequenced to cover relevant skills and to enable our learners to revisit prior learning frequently. Quality time is dedicated to talk, vocabulary and oracy skills at the beginning of each writing journey. In the classrooms you will see these skills being practised through: talk 4 writing games, talk partner time, character hot seating, drama and role play.
Each class has an English working wall that captures the project’s writing journey and direction. The working walls provide an interactive visual aid that documents and illustrates the learning from each lesson. On the working walls you will see: project vocabulary; good examples of written work; sentence practise and relevant grammar and punctuation reminders. In addition to the working walls each class has a writing area with available aids to support the children on their ever evolving writing journey. The children are encouraged to become increasingly independent at utilising this area as they progress through each year group.
Phonics is taught discretely and daily. The sessions are practical and engaging. We ensure coverage by using the letters and sounds programme and accuracy through using cued articulation pronunciation strategies. We enhance the day to day sessions by ensuring practical experiences during the application phase. Children will often experience: phonic board games; word building with a variety of resources; outdoor sound hunts; movement and target games. The move to a more practical approach to phonics appeals to our learners and has resulted in further engagement and enjoyment.
Overall, our English curriculum plays a lead part within all of our projects. Our projects are shaped around the children’s interests and deepening their knowledge of the local and wider world around them. It provides a foundation and ample opportunities for our children to be expressive, resilient, individual and inquisitive and as a result, better prepared for their next learning chapters.