English at Chad Vale
Chad Vale believes that the development of key skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening are central to improving a child's life chances.
Teachers have high expectations for all children to achieve and enjoy English, model good written and spoken English and provide opportunities for children to use the skills they have acquired in a range of contexts.
Rich texts are at the heart of our teaching and a love for reading is promoted throughout the school via book fairs, library visits, visiting authors and daily sharing of stories.
Teachers use inspirational ideas to engage children in work; providing memorable experiences and bringing topics to life. A creative approach to planning units of work using drama, film, trips and hands-on activities is actively encouraged as is a clear purpose and audience, either real or imagined, to launch a unit of work.
We value and celebrate diversity in culture and language, providing rich and relevant texts and topics to include and engage all learners.
Phonics and the Teaching of Reading
At Chad Vale, we use a customised version of the ‘Letters and Sounds’ programme to teach phonics. Children are actively to apply these skills in real-life contexts, small-group daily reading sessions and reading for pleasure. Each class has a library with a wide range of texts and all children regularly visit the main school library.
Once children can confidently decode, skills in comprehension and understanding different texts are taught via the principles of reciprocal reading. Children are also encouraged to read for pleasure and have reading diaries to complete daily as well as online texts on the ‘Phonics Bug’, ‘Purple Mash, and ‘Reading Cloud’ websites.
Writing at Chad Vale
Our approach to writing is based on ‘Talk for Writing’ (Pie Corbett/Julia Strong) which is a methodology that encourages children to explore, through talk and roleplay, and develop the thinking and creative processes involved in being a writer. It is embedded at every phase of the teaching sequence which includes teacher talk, supported pupil talk and independent pupil talk and application.
We believe that Talk for Writing is an approach that goes beyond the development of children’s general speaking and listening skills – this approach spreads across the curriculum and provides opportunities for children to use and apply their English skills in a range of curriculum-linked activities. All teachers use the Talk for Writing, to support their planning and delivery of English.
The main principles of Talk for Writing are:
1. Reading as Writers - the opportunity to use talk to explore children’s personal and collective responses to a text as readers looking at how real writers work.
2. Writing as Readers - the articulation of the thinking and creative processes involved in all stages of the act of writing; talk that helps children to think and behave like a writer including planning, drafting and editing their work.
3. Storytellers and Text Makers – The approach involves the learning of oral stories or texts, building children’s confidence to develop them through retelling and developing them into writing; then later applying their new skills independently with ‘new’ stories or text.
4. Word and Language games - Talk games and activities are used to develop vocabulary, punctuation, spelling and grammar, as well as looking at writing structures.
5. Role-play and drama are used- ‘hot seating’ ‘conscience alley’ etc. to engage, develop and explore ideas and language.
English in other curriculum areas
The skills that children develop in English are linked to, and applied in, every subject across the curriculum. The children’s skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening enable them to communicate and express themselves in all areas of their work in school. Children also have regular opportunities to develop their speaking and listening skills in debates, poetry readings and drama performances. As well as regular drama work in class, all classes perform an assembly linked to their learning to an invited audience. Reception, Y3 and Y6 also stage large scale performances throughout the year.