Welcome to our English home page. This section is designed to keep our pupils, parents and Larkspur Community up to date with the current key priorities within English, our exciting plans for the forthcoming academic year and how you can work with us to achieve these goals.
The teaching of English at Larkspur is designed to create endless opportunities to provide a positive reading and writing culture, where both are promoted, enjoyed and considered ‘a pleasure’ for all children. We aim to ensure that all of our children are given learning opportunities to achieve their full potential in all areas of English. By giving children the key skills and knowledge in English they will be enabled to access material in all curriculum areas, and provide a foundation for their learning throughout their school career. We want to inspire children to be confident in the art of speaking and listening that will last them a lifetime. We want children, who can use discussion, to communicate and further their learning. We are very aware that some of our children’s early language acquisition is limited and this is why we believe that providing a language rich environment, with a strong focus on oracy, is essential for success across the curriculum. All our staff have undergone rigorous training in 'Talk 4 Writing'. A highly kinaesthetic English programme which helps structure and scaffold our curriculum and perfectly suits the needs of our pupils from Early Years to year 6.
At Larkspur, it is our aim to provide the necessary lifelong skills to be able to become avid readers. We expect our children to confidently read fluently and widely for pleasure and information; allowing them to express preferences and opinions about the texts that they read. Having had access to a wide range of quality text types, genres and authors, children will be enabled to make informed opinions about their favourites. We want children to develop a love of reading and a good knowledge of a range of authors, and be able to understand more about the world in which they live, through the knowledge they’ve gained from texts.
At Larkspur, we believe that the ability to communicate effectively through writing is a critical lifelong skill. We want children to write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.
Throughout their time at Larkspur Primary School, we want children to acquire a wide vocabulary, a solid understanding of grammar and the ability to spell new words by effectively applying the spelling patterns and rules they have learnt. We aim to ensure children strive for continuous improvement in our inclusive culture of learning.
At Larkspur we view the teaching of English as fundamental to the holistic development of our children, fostering positive behaviours and attitudes toward leaning and providing key knowledge and skills to benefit children throughout their education and beyond.
To form the foundations for lifelong readers, systematic daily teaching of Floppy Phonics has a high priority in EYFS and KS1. In Nursery, children begin to develop their listening skills and to discriminate between sounds, recognising rhythm, rhyme and alliteration. In Reception and KS1, children learn to read using the Floppy Phonics linguistic phonics approach. Staff systematically teach learners the relationships between sounds and spelling patterns. Phonics is delivered in a whole class format because it enables staff to ensure that application is there across all subjects embedding that process in a rich literacy environment for early readers. Intervention is planned for children working below expected levels. Children who require further support in phonics in KS2 continue with dedicated phonics sessions.
To develop fluency in reading throughout EYFS and KS1, we provide a sequence of Floppy Phonics reading books that show cumulative progression in phonic knowledge that are matched to our phonic programme. By Year 2 and moving into KS2, we have a variety of different reading schemes and a wide variety of appropriate quality texts that cover all genres. Our books are banded to show progression for all children. Provision includes schemes such as ORT Story Sparks, In-Fact, All Stars, Project X, Songbirds.
We ensure sufficient practice in reading and re-reading books that match the grapheme/phoneme correspondence already known. This is delivered both at school and home. Alongside KS2, Reading Plus is used to support every child to become independent fluent readers
To support children with their fluency and understanding on their reading journey children access shared reading and guided reading. In Reception, KS1 and some KS2 classes, 1:1 reading is used to support children through their progression through the phonics phases.
At Larkspur, we encourage a love of reading through our well-resourced library, special events; such as National Poetry Day and World Book Day, themed days, author visits, book fairs, clubs and we are proud of our strong partnership with New Writing North and Puffin World of Stories Literacy Trust. During daily 'Storytime' as well as through literacy lessons, all children enjoy a variety of fiction/non-fiction and poetry texts in all year groups. This may include Traditional Tales and Rhymes in EYFS and KS1 through to classic novels in KS2. Our evolving Key Texts for each year group ensure all pupils study in depth, a minimum of 12 texts a year.
Reading is not only encouraged at school, but at home too. Along with use of reading/phonics band books and school library books, children have online access to Reading Plus and Oxford Reading Buddy. The online tools aim to support children and parents with fluency as well as modelling and supporting with different types of questions that can help delve a deeper comprehensive understanding of books children are reading.
At Larkspur we strive to create a positive writing culture to ensure sufficient progress to meet or exceed age related expectations through our engaging and structured curriculum.
We ensure this positive writing culture by showing children how we value their writing through classroom and whole school displays. At the end of a carefully planned T4W teaching sequence children also have the opportunity to see their progress from their initial 'cold/luke warm' task carried out at the start of a unit to their mastered 'hot' task. Writing is promoted across the curriculum using the T4W approach to master a variety of genres and build personal word banks whilst developing new knowledge and skills.
To engage children in their reading and writing, we follow a literature spine that has quality texts dedicated to each year group. These quality texts are updated annually to allow for new book releases and follow the interests and needs of the cohort. These texts promote knowledge of plot, character vocabulary and genre that feeds into children’s writing.
At Larkspur, the teaching of writing ensures coverage of all genres as well as opportunities of teaching across the curriculum. Genre coverage is mapped out to ensure whole school progression. Daily literacy lessons are organised through a shared teaching sequence used across the school. This teaching sequence integrates benchmarking prior knowledge via a Cold/Luke Warm writing task followed by introducing the new text via an exciting 'Hook'. Pupils engage in the oral rehearsal of a carefully constructed 'Model Text'. Following this they engage in a variety of comprehension style activites: Reading as a Reader and Reading as a Writer and well as a number of short burst writing and vocabulary/sentence structure games. The T4W block carefully scaffolds children's writing. Pupils 'Box Up' their ideas and plan their own 'Imitation, Innovation or Invention' according to the level of support needed. It provides a gradual release from shared and guided writing allowing children to produce their own independent writing.
Grammar, punctuation and spelling are taught as part of the T4W units or if necessary more discretely in stand alone GPS sessions. Additional extended writing sessions in cross curricular subject will also provide opportunities for writing across the curriculum e.g. history and science topics, whole school celebrations such as; Black History Month, International Women’s Day, Children in Need, World Book Day.
Children receive daily feedback through whole class or one to one conversations to address and cover misconceptions. Tree tasks and learning stops identify areas for development and allow children to make improvements to their written work.
Progress of children’s writing is tracked through termly summative assessment and half termly moderation sessions against our Writing Exemplifications. Children have regular opportunities to self and peer assess their writing. Along with verbal and written feedback, children are able to understand their next steps in their writing journey, supporting them to reach the end point of their finished piece of writing. Teachers will use this assessment to inform their planning moving forward.
By the end of their journey at Larkspur Primary School, we hope that children leave with highly developed communication skills that they can take with them to secondary education and beyond. Success is not only achieved through children’s attainment, but through their engagement with, and enthusiasm for, the many English opportunities that have been provided throughout their time with us. Through our inclusive culture of learning, regardless of children’s starting point on their journey with us; particularly those with early developing English speaking skills, are all challenged in their own thinking and problem solving. We give children the skills and knowledge to communicate effectively to make valuable contributions locally, globally and to contribute to their own sustainable future.
When our children leave our school, we expect them to be avid readers. Children can read fluently and widely, with a thirst for reading a range of genres and text types; including poetry. Children appreciate the joy and wonder of reading and are able to express preferences and opinions about the texts that they read.
Through the teaching of writing at Larkspur our children develop the skills to effectively communicate and express themselves with the written word. Children are able to write across a range of forms and adapt their writing successfully considering the purpose. They are well-prepared to move into secondary school and to further develop their skills to tackle more challenging tasks. Outcome of work in English and Topic books evidence the high quality of work and the impact of cross curricular writing opportunities.
Additional Information for English Teaching and Learning.
Reading and Phonics:
Children are given daily opportunities to develop their reading skills. Children learn to read using the Letters and Sounds synthetic phonics program. This consists of six phases. This is carried out daily in the foundation Stage and KS1. Where necessary phonics will continue into KS2. Once children master accurate decoding , a greater emphasis particularly in KS2 is placed on comprehension and spelling.
Through reading independently, guided, shared and paired reading children learn to read with confidence, fluency and understanding. Reading takes place with a variety of adults, peers and mixed age groups. Home/ school reading partnerships support every child to become an independent reader. At Larkspur Primary we encourage a love of reading through a well resourced libraries, special events, themed days, book fairs, reading clubs and a strong partnership with Wrekenton Hub Library.
Pupils read through a set of book banded books. Each colour in the book band is a different level. We provide a diet and range of books at different levels within a book band. The pupils know which book band they are working at and recognise the book band that they are working towards. Our new Reading Quest Challenge encourages pupils to read a greater variety of texts and to read more regularly at home and in school.
As children enter Early Years Foundation Stage there are writing opportunities in all areas of learning . In KS1 and 2 transcription (spelling and handwriting) and composition (articulating ideas and structuring them in speech and writing) form the basis for what is taught. Children apply the skills they have been taught in all areas of the curriculum. Children are taught how to plan, revise and evaluate their writing. Writing takes place in many forms - through word and sentence level activities ,independently, modelled, shared, paired and requires an awareness of audience, purpose and context.
Through synthetic phonics children are taught the different ways of spelling sounds and apply their growing knowledge in writing words, caption and sentences. Alongside decodable words, the reading and spelling of common exception/tricky words (those which can't be sounded out) are taught. Phase 6 of the Letters and Sounds program focuses on spelling strategies. As children enter KS2 pupils are taught a series of spelling patterns taken from their programme of study. We encourage children to explore words and think about the origins and connections between words.
Wordlists for Years 3&4 and Years 5&6 are taught and contain a mixture of frequently used words as well as those that children often misspell. Our half term Solar Spelling Challenge gives pupils opportunities to learn, practise and be rewarded for their improvements in spelling. We try to embed spelling opportunities in all areas of the curriculum.
Grammar and Punctuation
Through talk and reading children's vocabulary is developed. Children are taught grammatical concepts and then encouraged to apply and identify these in the written and spoken word. Specific punctuation and grammatical terminology is taught in each year group.
Speaking and Listening
Speaking and listening are not taught as discrete subjects, but are embedded in all aspects of school life, across all areas of the curriculum and are part of everything we do. Pupils are provided with many and varied contexts for talk enabling them to communicate confidently and effectively.
This year's key priorities:
Here at Larkspur Primary we are very proud of our pupil’s handwriting and take particular care in our cursive/joined-up handwriting style. We use Letter-join as the basis of our handwriting policy that covers all the requirements of the 2014 National Curriculum.
Handwriting is a basic skill that influences the quality of work throughout the curriculum. At the end of Key Stage 2 all pupils should have the ability to produce fluent, legible and, eventually, speedy joined-up handwriting, and to understand the different forms of handwriting used for different purposes.
See below for our cursive handwriting style (taught from the beginning of year 1 - notice the 'lead' in lines for each lower case letter)
Keep your eyes peeled for upcoming events in English at Larkspur!
Current Developments in English: