English

At Bolton St Catherine's Academy, we recognise that English is both a subject in its own right and is the medium for teaching; for pupils, understanding the language provides access to the whole curriculum.

Spoken Language

We help pupils develop their spoken language teaching them to speak clearly, giving them the confidence to convey their ideas using Standard English.

They will be taught to justify ideas with reasons; ask questions to check understanding; develop vocabulary and build knowledge; negotiate; evaluate and build on the ideas of others; and select the appropriate register for effective communication.

We teach the pupils' the skills they need to enable them to clarify their thinking as well as organise their ideas for writing.

Vocabulary Development

We understand that a pupils' acquisition and command of vocabulary are key to their learning and progress across the whole curriculum. We actively develop vocabulary, building systematically upon pupils' current knowledge. The pupils are taught to make links between known and new vocabulary, and we discuss the shades of meaning in similar words. This ensures that pupils expand the vocabulary choices that are available to them when they write. It is essential for pupils' comprehension that they understand the meanings of words that they meet in their reading across all subjects. Older pupils are also taught the meaning of instruction verbs so that they are prepared for any that they might meet in examination questions. In addition, the pupils are taught subject specific vocabulary, such as accurate mathematical and scientific language.

Reading

We develop pupils' reading and writing in all subjects to support their acquisition of knowledge. We teach the pupils to read fluently, understand extended prose (both fiction and non-fiction) as well as encouraging them to read for pleasure.

We teach phonics using the Read Write Inc (RWI) programme (see Early Reading section for more information). We use a variety of reading schemes to support the teaching of phonics and reading. In our EYFS and KS1 we use Oxford Reading Tree, Project X, and Floppy's Phonics. In KS2 this continues and progresses onto the Accelerated Reader programme.

All our pupils work through a variety of reading schemes encompassing a range of genres such as fiction, non-fiction and plays that are book banded according to different levels. Parents are informed of their child's reading level via their Reading Record in the school planner.

Our approach to teaching reading is wide ranging and includes regular group reading sessions, individual reading and library sessions. We introduce a whole class reading approach in KS1 with emphasis on teaching important reading skills such as Vocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Explanation and Retrieval (VIPERS). Through this approach, the children explore a range of texts such as novels, non-fiction and poetry to develop their word reading and comprehension skills.

We have a library offering a wide selection of fiction and non-fiction books, for a wide range of reading abilities. We have high expectations with regards to reading at home – we expect all pupils to read at home every day.

Writing

Pupils develop the stamina and skills to write at length, with accurate spelling, punctuation and grammar. We build on what the pupils have already learnt to expand their range of writing and the variety of grammar they use.

The RWI phonics programme supports children in EYFS and Key Stage 1 to begin to spell and write words using the sounds they have learnt in their phonic lessons. They learn to write the letters / letter groups of the 44 sounds first and move to writing words through using 'Fred Talk'. As pupils progress through the RWI programme and begin to read more complex books they learn the specific grammar, spelling and writing objectives linked to the books.

Once children have moved through the RWI programme we then follow The Literacy Tree scheme. The Literacy Tree approach provides purpose for teaching reading and writing through the use of carefully, sought out high quality texts which is at the core of English teaching. Units based on these texts explore a range of themes which promote purposeful discussion, debate and drama alongside the teaching of reading comprehension and grammar skills. All units provide meaningful writing opportunities with a clear purpose and audience linked to the text. The approach provides children with a real reason to write, from narratives to pieces that explain, persuade, inform and instruct.

Handwriting

Handwriting practice starts as part of our RWI programme. Letters are taught in families to reinforce key movements in handwriting and we use the RWI rhymes to help support letter development. Children progress to forming letters on lines and then move to joining letters using a diagonal and horizontal join. Handwriting continues to be taught in KS2 with children working towards increasing their confidence and fluency in joined writing. By the end of KS2 we aim for children to write legibly, fluently and with increasing speed developing confidence to choose through their own personal style whether or not to join specific letters.

Spelling

Spelling is a key component of RWI and children begin their spelling journey by using each of the 40+ phonemes already taught by segmenting the sounds in words. They focus on spelling common exception words and begin to learn how to add prefixes and suffixes to previously taught words. In Year 2 and on into KS2 children have daily spelling sessions using the RWI spelling programme where they continue to learn the common exception words for their year group along with key spelling patterns and rules. A key focus of RWI spelling is to enable children to spell effortlessly so that all their focus when writing can be directed towards composition.