The writing that children do each week is always based on the class text and is purposeful. The children work towards a final piece of writing through sequenced lessons. These lessons develop the skills that they will need whilst introducing new learning along the way. Pupils reach their final write engaged and fully prepared to create original, good-quality writing.
When planning lessons, teachers and support staff work together to look at previous assessment of children’s learning so that lessons are always focused on areas of weakness or gaps in learning.
The core texts chosen by teachers, where possible, link to the half-termly topic. This means that children are able to link in their learning and knowledge from other subjects such as geography and history, art and drama.
In school, we use our on-going assessment of children’s writing to pick out children whose progress needs to be boosted. These children are placed into interventions which meet their needs and are run during assembly time or in the afternoon sessions.
Children who have English as a second language are supported by an additional afternoon interventions.
Speaking and Listening
Speaking, listening, reading and writing are an essential part of all activities in the curriculum. At Rutherford House School we aim to provide children with a wide range of creative and inspiring activities to develop these skills independently and through working with their peers. We strive for children to develop a love of reading and the ability to write confidently and fluently. We encourage our pupils to take pride in their work and to aim for the highest standards in writing and presentation. The children also have their presenting skills developed through the termly Independent Learning Porjects, which require a presenation to their class. We use a range of drama and role to bring all aspects of the curriculmn alive.
We follow the PenPals handwriting scheme at RHS. Our younger children are introduced to four main characters which help them to memorise the sequence for writing each letter correctly. The key thing to remember is that all letters start from the top (apart from d and e). Joining is introduced in Year 1 once children are ready. As a school, we expect children to use a clear, neat joined script in their everyday writing. We do not teach ‘cursive’ (joining from the line). Children will be awarded with a pen licence once they show neat and legible handwriting across all books.
You can download some resources below that will help your child at home to practise their handwriting.
English is taught using high quality texts to engage children in their English learning. Computers, iPads, drama, art and music are all used to support the learning experience in English.
A number of reading schemes are in use, together with a range of other books to support reading development.
Pupils' progress is closely monitored and work is targeted towards the individual's needs and ability.
The National Curriculum for English aims to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:
- read easily, fluently and with good understanding
- develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
- acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
- appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
- write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
- use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
- are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.
Phonics is taught daily in EYFS and four times per week in Year 1 and Year 2.
Teachers and Learning Support Asssistants use the ReadWriteinc programme to teach. Children are put into groups according to their stage in phonetic development. These groups are flexible and children move across groups as needed. They are assessed at the end of each half term. Additional phonics sessions are provided for any children who need further support and for children who did not pass the Year 1 phonics check.
RHS follows a reading scheme which allows the children to progress through different reading levels. They are given books from the scheme to take home to read. These books are changed 2 times per week: the days vary from class to class. Class teachers monitor how often children read at home and support any children who are not regularly reading.
Children complete their reading records / homework diaries when they have read at home. Teachers/Learning Support Assistants initial or sign the reading records every day.
When adults listen to children read, they will assess whether children are on the correct level of books and move children along the reading scheme when needed.
After the reading scheme, children become free readers. They may choose to read books from home, from the local library or a book they have chosen from their class library. Children must continue to record their reading at home in their reading records, which will be checked by their teacher or teaching assistant on a weekly basis. Their books choices will be monitored and guided to ensure their choices are appropriate to their stage in development and varied.
Beanstalk and Poppy
Teachers identify children from their class would benefit from weekly reading with the beanstalk volunteers. These volunteers are trained to help support children in improving both their word reading and comprehension skills.
Children who are either nervous about reading to an adult or unenthused about reading can be chosen to read with Poppy the reading dog. These sessions occur once a week and in them the child will read to the dog and her handler in a totally un-pressured environment. Targeted children are assessed at the start and end of the teaching block so their progress can be monitored.
Reading is approached using the ‘carousel’ guided reading system. The children are grouped according to their reading abilities. These groups are fluid and based on on-going teacher assessment. Reading skills are taught and assessed with each group of children by the class teacher, once a week. During the rest of the week children have the chance to independently work on reading-related skills such as comprehension and ‘writing for the reader.’
Reading for Pleasure
One of the key aims of English within Rutherford House is to foster a culture of reading for pleasure and to ensure every child finds enjoyment in reading. In order to do this, children have time every day to read a book of their choice independently. Children are also read aloud to every day by their teacher or another adult, either from the class text or from a different class book. Class book corners create a stimulating environment to promote and engage children in reading.
Please find below links to further information on our website about phonics and reading.
Phonics information including some useful videos:
Suggestions for books to read at home: