English is a core subject and as such is given high priority. As part of the English curriculum, children develop their skills in Speaking and Listening, Reading and Writing which also includes spelling and handwriting.
At Bishop Martin, we work hard to make sure that children have a love of books and literature and we're very proud that so many of our children enjoy reading. Classes in KS2 study a class novel each half-term and younger children learn about particular authors. They are used throughout English lessons and, where possible, link to other curriculum areas. Our current class texts are:
Reception - Funnybones by Janet and Allan Ahlberg, Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper
Year 1 - Billy's Bucket by Kes Gray and Garry Parsons
Year 2 - The Wolf's Story by Toby Forward and Izhar Cohen
Year 3 - Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers
Year 4 - Fergus Crane (Far-Flung Adventures) by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
Year 5 - Holes by Louis Sachar
Year 6 - Skellig by David Almond
Home Reading Books
Children take their reading books home every night to read and change them once a week if they have finished reading it. However, if they are not on the Bishop Martin book banded reading scheme and are a free reader they can change books when needed. Free readers use the Accelerated Reader programme; this encourages children to take a quiz when they have read each text and allows us to monitor their progress and development in reading.
Reading Reward Scheme
In order to motivate children to read at home, we have a reading reward scheme. If a child has read 5 times out of 7 in one week (to an adult at home) and has had their reading record signed, they receive a sticker. They collect stickers in order to achieve certain rewards:
10 stickers = Bronze certificate
20 stickers = Silver certificate
30 stickers = Gold certificate
Some children achieve above these rewards and receive Platinum and Diamond awards. These certificates are presented to the children in praise worship. Children who receive Gold and above are also rewarded with a special trip during the summer term.
Reading and Phonics
Reading in EYFS and KS1 is taught initially using a systematic, synthetic phonic approach. Phonics is taught daily as a discrete lesson and we use Letters and Sounds as a core scheme to teach synthetic phonics which is multi-sensory, exciting and engaging. During the Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 children develop their phonic knowledge and skills and apply these in both reading and spelling. As developing readers, children are encouraged to use a wider range of strategies to aid decoding of text and to enhance their understanding of material across a range of genre. The reading scheme used for KS1 includes a variety of texts which are banded at an appropriate level.
Phonics Play is a website packed with interactive phonics games and many different resources to help your child use their phonics skills in reading.
In order to ensure coverage of the statutory requirements for the National Curriculum, we follow The Spelling Toolkit Document produced by the Liverpool School Improvement Team. In conjunction with this document, we use the Spelling BAM resources.
Children take home spellings which apply to the spelling rule they have been learning in school. There are weekly tests to assess the progress that children are making towards these spellings. It is the teacher’s judgement on how long a class spends on a spelling rule and how many spellings they take home to learn.