English Curriculum Overview
Our Curriculum for English
Reading is at the heart of everything we do and we want children to develop a life-long love of books. Moreover, we want children to experience a range of genres, authors and build on their personal development. Reading is essential to this aim as it builds empathy, improves imagination and improves children’s vocabulary.
At Chatsworth we want all of our children to develop into thoughtful readers and creative writers and through Talk for Writing we believe we can achieve this. In addition, we think it is vital that we equip the children with the necessary skills to communicate confidently and eloquently. Our aim is to ensure that children develop a love of both reading and writing and develop a strong command of both the written and spoken word.
We follow Talk for Writing which is an innovative approach developed by Pie Corbett. It uses high quality, short model texts to introduce the children to different story/text types, which they then learn off by heart and scrutinize with a writer’s critical eye. They learn the underlying structures, sentence types and the key strategies for creating interesting characters and settings. A broad range of genres are covered so that the children experience writing in a variety of styles that cover both fiction and non-fiction pieces.
Talk for writing is fully embedded at Chatsworth and starts in Nursery all the way up to year 6. The children are familiar with the structure and process which accompanies every unit. There are three key phases which develop knowledge, confidence and independence:
Cold task: Each unit starts with a cold task where children are given a small prompt and asked to write about whichever genre is being covered. This is to assess their gaps in knowledge of features, vocabulary, sentence structure and punctuation. It is also useful because it is used to show how much children progress when they complete their hot task at the end of a unit.
Imitate: This is the first stage where students develop their vocabulary and internalise the text through the rehearsal of actions to go with images which are drawn by the teacher. Time is also dedicated to creating a toolkit with the emphasis on how it affects the reader. With each unit, teachers try to focus on a different aspect of the toolkits such as the development of characters, settings or dialogue.
Innovation: During this stage, the children will change one or two things from the original text. Through lots of discussion and input from the children, the teacher’s model shared writing on the board and the children write their own piece using word banks and the working wall to help them.
Invent: This is the most exciting stage where children get to show off the progress they have made from their cold task! Independently, they write their own version using their own ideas. At this stage they plan first and then write making sure they hit their intended target audience.
To support Reading across the school, we use ‘Bug Club’ which is a structured reading scheme. Bug Club is a finely levelled, phonically based reading scheme, which ensures that each child can find a book at exactly the right level for them. Each child has a personalised homepage where they'll find the eBooks they've been allocated by the teacher and motivating rewards. The online reading world ensures children can access independent reading resources anywhere at any time. Bug Club books are graded into colour-coded Book Band levels, and within each level there is a carefully planned progression of books. This fine progression gives children plenty of opportunity to develop their reading skills and master each fine step while moving through the reading programme. Guided reading follows a ‘five different group’ model and takes place daily. Children are expected to complete a comprehension every week and are also given time to read books for pleasure which is included in sessions. All pupils are exposed to a wide variety of literature and genres which deepen their understanding of the written and spoken word. Every child is heard reading by the class teacher once per week. This allows the teacher to track the progress and developmental needs of each child in the class.
Key Stage 1
As mentioned, children are put into 5 groups and follow a rota of 5 activities including: reading comprehension, phonics, reading for pleasure, grammar/ writing activity linked to their book and reading on a kindle. During this stage, teachers will conduct a book walk through with the children to make sure children are confident with the challenges of the phonic sounds and any tricky words they may encounter. After this, children read and are listened to on a 1:1 basis.
Key stage 2
Reciprocal Reading in years 3 & 4:
As well as Bug Club, children in years 3 & 4 are taught using a method known as Reciprocal Reading. Reciprocal teaching refers to an instructional activity in which students become the teacher in small group reading sessions. Teachers model, then help students learn to guide group discussions using four strategies: summarizing, question generating, clarifying, and predicting. Once students have mastered the strategies they take turns being the leader and lead the discussions about a small chunk of text they have read. Children are taught the key strategies and skills consistently all the way through school.
Whole class comprehension in years 5 & 6:
By the time children reach years 5 and 6 they should be confident and competent readers. In both year groups, children are taught as a whole class and focus on solving a variety of questions involving the main reading domains such as inference, summarising and finding the meaning of words in context. Pupils use the Chatsworth Skills posters to help them. In year 5 children read and answer questions based on the different objectives from the year 5 curriculum. They cover texts such as The Ironman, Krindlekrax and many more. In year 6 children are taught using SATs style shorter texts and to begin with focus on one skill at a time. Once the children have mastered the skills they then conquer comprehensions by looking at a variety of genres.
At Chatsworth Primary we follow the Letters and Sounds scheme of phonics teaching. Each child in Reception and Yr1 has a daily, minimum 20-minute phonics lesson, following the teaching sequence of revisit/ review – teach – practise - apply. In Yr2, children access a balance of both phonic and spelling punctuation and grammar (SPAG) lessons based on their individual needs and attainment. Reception and KS1 children are either taught as a whole class or sometimes put into small groups, based on regular assessments so that children’s learning needs are accurately matched to the correct provision. Small phonic sessions or interventions are delivered by teaching assistants and overseen by the class teacher, to provide complimentary teaching.
Sessions are lively, fast-paced and fun. In a session, children are taught either phonemes/ digraphs/ trigraphs, high frequency and/or tricky words and these are consolidated through reading and writing. There are lots of opportunities to speak and listen, as well as to read and write the sounds.
At the end of Year 1 children have to take the national Phonics Test which tests children’s phonic knowledge. Here, they are required to read real and nonsense words, applying the skills they have learnt. Ideally children will have completed and consolidated Phase 5 during Year 1 and Phase 6 during Year 2, so that they can focus more on higher-level comprehension using increasingly challenging texts. Any child that does not complete the phonics programme will continue learning phonics throughout Year 3/4 during interventions.
Authorfy Club is the creative writing club that's sweeping the nation. With writing challenges set by bestselling children's authors and workshops packed with games, activities, group work and more. We are delighted to offer 20 places for pupils in Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 to attend this new after school club. Each student will receive their own Authorfy activity pack, which is filled with fun worksheets and writing tips, and they will have the chance to win weekly prizes, books and certificates. Whether your child is an aspiring author or a reluctant writer, Authorfy Club will boost their confidence, introduce them to new writing styles and provide a relaxed, non-pressurised environment where they can write for pleasure. Spaces are limited and will be reserved on a first-come, first-served basis. Speak to your class teacher or the school office for more details.