Our intent for teaching English at St Vincent’s is to instil a ‘joy of reading,’ equip children to be confident in the art of speaking and listening and nurture a culture where children take pride in their writing, develop their creative flair and engage their audience.
For more information, please click here for our English Policy.
Click here to see our Whole School English Curriculum Map 2023-24
Phonics: At St Vincent’s we believe that all our children can become fluent readers and writers. This is why we teach reading through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme. We start teaching phonics in Nursery and follow the 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. Click here to see the Phonics Progression Map 2023-24
Further information for parents about the Teaching of Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised can be found here
Resources and guidance on supporting your child to read at home can be found here
English Lessons: We use the Literary Curriculum planning sequences to teach English lessons, which we supplement as appropriate. Our scheme of work includes high quality, diverse texts that are rich in language and vocabulary to engage all learners and provide opportunities for creative writing. Many of our English class texts link to each year group’s class topic which enables pupils to make cross curricular links and recap on prior knowledge throughout their learning.
Spelling: The Spelling Shed Spelling scheme begins in Year 2 and is taught across the rest of the school (Y2-Y6). The Spelling Shed lessons follow a systematic progression. The progression covers a range of phonics skills, high-frequency words, and morphological awareness, which is addressed in each year group. Teachers provide regular opportunities to revisit previously taught skills to ensure good knowledge and understanding. Throughout the progression, new and more advanced concepts/skills are carefully intertwined. This supports pupils in linking past learning to the new concept/skill and to reinforce and solidify learning. Each week pupils will learn a new set of words. These words are examples of the spelling pattern that is taught in class. The same list of words are sent home as part of the spelling homework that week to embed learning.
Reading Books: We use two reading schemes at St Vincent’s Catholic Primary: Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised decodable phonics books and Oxford Reading Tree / Hero Academy / Project X. The Big Cat Collins decodable phonics books are used in EYFS and KS1 and for learners consolidating their phonic knowledge. The books are read in class and at home to support the development of reading. We work on decoding (sounding out) the words, prosody (which is reading with expression – making the book sound more interesting with our story-teller voice) and comprehension.
Pupils following this reading scheme take home one decodable reading book each week.
When pupils are secure in their phase five phonic level, pupils will have a reading assessment and will continue their reading progression solely using the Oxford Reading Tree Scheme. Hero Academy and Project X books are also incorporated into this scheme. After pupils have completed all stages of the Oxford Reading Tree scheme confidently, they will be assessed by the class teacher and progress on to become a ‘free reader’. This will usually be in Upper Key Stage 2.
As well as the ‘learning to read’ book that the children will bring home, they will also bring home a book for sharing from our school library. This book is SO important. This is how we aim to instil a ‘joy of reading!’
Handwriting: In Key Stage 1 and 2, pupils are taught handwriting using the Nelson Handwriting Scheme. This starts in Year 1 and continues to Year 6. Teachers have high expectations of pupil’s handwriting and presentation across all subject areas. The handwriting journey continues across the key stages through the teaching of capital letters, positioning and forming letters correctly on the line, moving on to diagonal and horizontal strokes and finally reaching well-presented fluent joining of letters. It is crucial that all lower case and upper case letters are formed correctly before moving on to joins to ensure legible fluent handwriting. In Year 4 pupils will transition from pencil to pen and gain their pen license when there is enough evidence to show handwriting is well-presented with fluent joining of letters. Children in EYFS are taught to write letters through the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds phonics scheme.
Children are encouraged to develop a keen interest in all types of books by taking home an additional ‘reading for pleasure’ book from our school library each week. We have also established strong links with our local Marylebone library. Each class visits Marylebone Library throughout the year to borrow books and get inspired to read! In the summer term we work closely with Marylebone library to promote the summer reading challenge! It is fantastic to celebrate the reading achievements of the children over the summer holidays by holding a celebration assembly in the autumn term. We invite one of the librarians into our assembly to present children with their certificates and prizes.
We have excellent links in our local Marylebone community with Daunt Bookshop. At St Vincent’s we have been eager to support local businesses. We have purchased and continue to purchase many books for school from Daunt Bookshop on Marylebone Hight Street. To enhance our World Book Day experience in March 2023, each class visited Daunt Bookshop to choose a free book using their World Book Day book token. It was wonderful for the children to visited a local book shop and meet some of the team who answered lots of interesting questions about their job role in the bookshop.
Last year, Daunt Bookshop in Marylebone supported St Vincent’s in developing a link with an amazing children’s author ‘Tola Okogwu.’ Tola Okogwu is a British-Nigerian children’s author. She believes it’s important for children to read books that are reflective of their own experiences, as well as other cultures and she seeks to create these opportunities through her books and wider writing. Tola visited St Vincent’s and worked with Key Stage Two to share a little bit about her background, her experiences as an author and talk about her new book ‘Onyeka and the Rise of the Rebels.’
At St Vincent’s we strive to promote a love of reading. Each year we love to celebrate World Book Day with a ‘Book Character’ day to promote a joy of reading and celebrate a diverse range of authors. We plan a rich range of reading themed activities, including a carousel of activities based around a school-wide book theme. The classes enjoy the opportunity to move classrooms and work with new teachers! In the afternoon of World Book Day, we always enjoy inviting families in for family reading time and to share our fantastic work.
In addition to these events, we hold two Book Fairs each year and encourage all children and families to explore the latest fiction and non-fiction books! It is always wonderful to bring our school family together by sharing our love of reading.
Please click here to see our most recent English news posts, celebrating all the English learning that is taking place in the school.