Mrs G Jenson - English Lead
English at Corpus Christi
As stated in the National Curriculum, DfE 2014: our overarching aim for English is for every child to be equipped with a strong command of the spoken and written language, and to develop their love of literature through the widespread enjoyment of reading.
We place books at the centre of our curriculum, using a book-based approach to the teaching of English. Pupils at CC are taught English using the Literacy Tree, which places children’s literature at its core, immersing children in planning sequences that give a contextual and authentic context for primary English.
In terms of coverage, we follow a spiral approach to learning which allows pupils to learn and revisit the different strands of the National Curriculum several times throughout each year. It also enables pupils to consolidate prior knowledge from previous years. This spiral approach to learning is mapped to ensure it provides complete coverage of all National Curriculum expectations for writing composition, reading comprehension, grammar, punctuation and vocabulary, as well as coverage of spelling and phonics – all in context and with a purpose for our learners. More detail about our English Curriculum and its progression is linked below (23-24 Englich Curriculum Overview pdf)
Reading at Corpus Christi
Reading is an essential life skill, and we place great emphasis on empowering children to become fluent readers, who can develop a love of reading throughout their life. Using Scarborough's ‘Reading Rope’ and Gough and Turner’s ‘Simple View of Reading’, we understand the two main strands that are needed for children to be successful readers: language comprehension and word recognition.
Phonics at Corpus Christi
We place great emphasis on word recognition through our bespoke CC Systematic Synthetic Phonics Scheme that follows the sequence of Letters & Sounds. Phonics is taught from Nursery to Year 2, following a consistent and structured approach. Our intention is for children to be automatic readers so that they can free up working memory to focus on the language comprehension aspects of reading and develop a love of reading. More details about our Phonics scheme and how it is taught are linked below. (CC Phonics Scheme pdf)
Spoken language permeates every aspect of life at CC. From the way children listen and respond to one another during talk partner time, to leading assemblies and class talks with their peers, to being encouraged to ask questions and be inquisitive learners (wonder bubbles), to speaking at class assemblies/nativities, to our Head Boy and Head Girl speaking to parent/carers at whole school events, to developing an adventurous and ambitious vocabulary. We place great emphasis on this life skill and know that it is pivotal to develop early language and speech skills and contributes to children's success as readers and writers.
Writing at Corpus Christi
In terms of writing composition, the development of oral language skills enables children to know what they want to say and frees up working memory to focus on the transcriptional elements of writing. Out Literacy Tree curriculum gives rich and varied opportunities for children to orally rehearse before they write. Opportunities for acquiring new vocabulary is taught through the LT scheme and also through planned vocabulary 'star words' in other subjects.
Other transcriptional elements of writing are taught through discrete lessons such as handwriting, spelling, grammar and punctuation. We use Spelling Shed as our spelling scheme, which leads on from our focus on the alphabetic code and studying the etymology, morphology and orthography of words. It encourages children to look at the parts that make up a word (morphology) and their origins and meaning (etymology). Spellings will have a phonetic focus and look at the patterns within our English spelling system (orthography).
Enrichment at Corpus Christi
Books are such powerful and wonderful tools which harness so many opportunities. Not only do they offer a wealth of information, experience and knowledge; they also provide opportunities to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually.
In terms of ensuring we provide a diverse and inclusive range for our children the metaphor from Rudine Sims Bishop’s ‘Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors’ is a framework to which we strive. Books are mirrors when readers see their own lives reflected in the pages. Books are windows when they allow readers a view of lives and stories that are different from their own. Books become sliding glass doors when readers feel transported into the world of the story and when they feel empathy for the characters.
We further provide children with access to a wealth of real books through our class libraries, school library and regular visits to our local Brixton library where children all have login cards and are able to borrow books for use at home and school. Our Year 4 Reading Ambassadors are responsible for the school library, being reading buddies, gathering children's ideas on books to provide in school. We provide a variety of author visits across the school, to further engage children, but also to let them see that being an author is something they do: they all have a story to tell and share. The authors chosen, and characters within, reflect the cultural backgrounds of our children, enabling them to see themselves and their peers within the texts.