At John Wilkinson Primary School and Nursery, we teach English in an exciting, enjoyable and memorable way. We believe that speaking, listening, reading and writing are fundamental life skills, which enable children to communicate effectively in all areas and equips them for the challenges they will face in the wider world.
The English curriculum covers four main elements – spoken language, reading, writing and grammar, punctuation and spelling. English at John Wilkinson is usually taught through a cross curricular text based approach linked to our wider curriculum but some elements are taught discretely.
We have a strong focus on language development for our children as speaking and listening are crucial skills for reading and writing in all subjects.
Please our Spoken Language Progression document below.
Teaching Phonics and Early Reading
At John Wilkinson, we believe that all our children can become fluent readers. We are proud to teach phonics and early reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme.
We start teaching the skills for phonics in Nursery following Little Wandle Foundations for Phonics, with lots of listening activities and games to tune pupils into their speaking and listening ability. In Reception and Year 1 we follow Little Wandle (Letters and Sounds Revised) progression, which ensures children build on their growing knowledge of the alphabetic code, mastering phonics to read and spell as they move through school.
Through our teaching of phonics, children are able to tackle unfamiliar words as they read. To ensure our pupils can apply their phonics knowledge and skills, we model the application of the alphabetic code through phonics in shared reading and writing, both inside and outside of the phonics lesson and across the curriculum.
To support parents with phonics at home we run parent information sessions in school and there are lots of useful tips and clips here about how to support your child at home.
You can see the Little Wandle Programme Progression below to find out what we teach and when.
At John Wilkinson, we strive to foster a love of reading at school and at home. At school we will teach and support children to develop a love of reading through class reads and story time, alongside Whole Class and guided reading practice sessions where strategies for reading are explicitly taught.
Children in EYFS and year 1 have three reading practice sessions each week using texts from Little Wandle Revised Big Cat reading scheme. The children are able to develop their phonics and wider reading skills through high quality discussion and begin to understand what has been read and create links both within the text and beyond. These skills allow them to continue their reading journey up the school.
From years 2-6, we use the John Murray Reading Explorers approach to guided reading. Children have three guided reading sessions across the week. Using a chosen text, pupils will focus on literal comprehension, vocabulary and inference and then use the mirror model to learn how to respond to more complex tasks. This approach helps the children develop and embed core reading skills and become more confident readers. This whole school approach to reading gives all children the opportunity to become more confident, fluent and expressive readers.
Please see our Reading Progression Document below.
Reading at home
We want to make sure EVERY child (and grown-up) at John Wilkinson Primary School and Nursery LOVES reading as much as their teachers do! Children always have a reading book matched to their age and stage of reading development and a class library book that they have chosen to bring home.
Read with your child daily. As often as possible. This is still the #1 way to support early readers and ensure that your child has the best possible start at reading. And it’s fun!
How to support your child's reading at home:
- What books? Any books are fine for reading aloud. You are doing the reading and modelling and your child is benefiting in a lot of ways!
- Got a library card? Perfect! Head over to the children’s section and allow your child to choose some books. Choice is a powerful motivator so the more you can include your child in the books you read together, the better!
- How about making their own books? Have your child tell you a story and you write the words. She can go back and add pictures. Then read the story together. You will be surprised how well children can read books they create themselves!
- Read, read, read it again! We call this repeated reading. When your child is able to read a book, have them read it over and over again until they read it fluently and flawlessly — with expression too! They can read it to all the members of the family, the childminder, brother, the dogs, and cats, or even their stuffed teddies. The key is repetition.
- Talk about what you read with your child!
- Pause during the story and ask questions about the characters.
*It’s always best to phrase your question as if you were asking yourself — or thinking out loud. Don’t make this a quiz! Just have fun.
“I wonder why Harry was afraid. What do you think?”
- Help your child identify with the characters or the problem/conflict in the story.
“I remember a time that I was afraid during a storm. Have you ever been afraid during a storm?”
- Process the events in the story by reviewing what’s happened so far.
“So far Harry has visited his best friend, made some potions, and what else has happened?”
- Take time to look at the pictures — they are there for an important reason: to help your child comprehend the story better.
“Look at Susanna as she lays in bed. What do you think she is thinking or feeling?” “How can you tell?”
- Make predictions about what will happen next.
"I wonder if Susanna will run to her grandma’s room? What do you think she’ll do next?”
The Everybody Read! leaflet has lots of ideas to support you when you read at home with your child or try one of the 7 Top Tips below.
Reading for Pleasure
We LOVE reading at John Wilkinson and want the children to enjoy reading. The best way to do this is to let the children choose the books that they LOVE to read. We have just introduced our new Read to Succeed scheme with a box of 30 lovely new books for each child to try and read during the year. These represent the best in new and classic fiction, non-fiction and poetry for each year group. The children are very excited to see how many they can read! We have book corners in each class with a range of books suitable for the readers within each class and subscribe to Shropshire School Library Service to ensure that quality texts linked to each term's topic are in the classes to stimulate children’s curiosity about their learning.
We have a dedicated library in school which children can use to borrow books, carry out research or as a quiet space to work.
We run a variety of initiatives and competitions to keep reading FUN and high profile such as Reading Buddies, World Book Day Dress –Up Days, Pop-Up Book SwapShop, Author & Illustrator Visits, Book Picnics and we are always busy thinking of more !
Please see our Read to Succeed Book Lists below.
At John Wilkinson writing is taught systematically across the school daily (both in English lessons and other curriculum areas) Our approach is based on quality texts with a strong focus on vocabulary development and modelled, shared and guided writing building understanding of the text as a class over the teaching sequence before using the model to create an independent write.
In EYFS units are designed to build vocabulary and an awareness of how stories and information books are put together. From Y1 to Y6 each unit of work follows a similar writing sequence: understanding the structure of the text then developing the knowledge needed to write independently. This allows children to focus on specific grammatical and language features before using what they have learned to create our own independent text. The benefit of this whole-school, carefully sequenced approach is that previous learning can be built on effectively, giving all our children the opportunity to become fluent, expressive and confident writers.
We use the Letter Join scheme to teach handwriting and all classes have some sessions during the week where children are given time to develop their handwriting. We aim for children to be able to form all letters and numerals by the end of Y1 so that children can be introduced to cursive joining during Y2. We expect children to be joining by the end of Y2 as this helps children to write at greater length and also supports spelling in KS2.
Please see our Writing Progression Document below.
Grammar and Punctuation
Pupils in all years are taught to use appropriate elements of spelling, grammar and punctuation based on the National Curriculum guidelines and our progression document. Grammar and punctuation are built into writing lessons and emphasised when applying writing across the curriculum.
In EYFS and Year 1, our children are taught discrete phonics every day using the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised programme. This teaches children how to segment words to spell them using phonics and also words which are ‘tricky’ because they cannot be sounded out. Spelling is then taught in Year 2 and across KS2 by following the Jane Considine Spelling Book sequences for Y2-Y6. This is a sequential and progressive program, which is delivered in discrete sessions, providing a comprehensive year-by-year progression in the teaching of spelling. Children are a taught range of strategies for learning spellings, new learning is introduced and previous learning is practised.