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At Dallow, in English, we are improving the life chances of every child by providing them with rich and varied learning opportunities that help them to become confident and enthusiastic learners. We want our children to have a positive attitude towards communication and to be able to independently express their emotions and their ideas. Through our English Curriculum, we strive to teach the children how important their reading, writing, speaking and listening skills will be in the real world. By giving this context to their learning, the children understand the value of English to them now, internationally through our foundation subjects following the International Primary Curriculum (IPC) and in their futures. 

How English is taught at Dallow: At Dallow we want all of our pupils to be capable readers, writers, spellers and speakers, who can transfer their English skills to other curriculum subjects and who are prepared for the next steps in their education. Our English lessons develop pupils’ spoken language, reading, writing, grammar and vocabulary. English is often taught in a cross-curricular way, linking up with other areas of the curriculum through our IPC sessions.  We teach our pupils to speak clearly, to convey their ideas fluently and confidently and to ask questions; the use of a ‘book curriculum’ across the school supports this as this can provide some excellent role model and stretch and challenge for our pupils.  

A book curriculum has allowed the teachers to personalise their lessons by choosing novels and authors to engage and excite their class. Monitoring shows an increased engagement from pupils, a wider range of writing of opportunities and an improvement in the quality of writing. Accelerated Reader (AR) is a software tool that assesses a pupil’s reading level, suggests titles of books at that level, and then assesses whether a pupil has completed reading the book by asking a series of questions; it then gives immediate feedback to students about their success.  The Accelerated Reader programme has proved to be very successful in developing reading skills and raising standards in literacy here at Dallow.

Through AR we aim to continue the promotion of a lifelong love of reading in every child, regardless of their ability.  Each pupil (KS1 and KS2) begin by taking a diagnostic STAR reading test which then gives them a Reading Age and Book Level to guide them to text suited to their abilities.  They will then choose, read and answer questions on and reflect on their book. Here at Dallow STAR we test up to six times during the year and can see clear progress in the childrens’ reading abilities.

Class Reader Ethos  Each class has a class story book that has been specifically chosen to engage and excite the children. This may, in some cases, be the one chosen for the book curriculum for their English lessons.

We know the value of excellent vocabulary and this is developed and practised across our curriculum constantly. We use ‘Vocabulary Ninja’, ‘Word of the Day’ and ‘Word of the Week’  to encourage pupils to explore and discuss their ideas and to develop more sophisticated vocabulary. Our pupils are encouraged to read for pleasure and to read widely through our reading scheme and school library. We use ‘Accelerated Reader’ to challenge and monitor the reading of our pupils from years 2 to 6.   We use Read, Write Inc for our phonics programme. Phonic awareness, implemented in our EYFS curriculum, helps the development of reading by segmenting and blending sounds and the children will be heard reading regularly, both individually and in groups. Our dedicated reading sessions cover a wide variety of both fiction and non-fiction books and help to advance the children’s comprehension skills. This is supported across the school by our A.P.E. system. Answer it! Prove it! Explain It!  Parents are given reading guidance and clear expectations about reading at home. 

We develop writing skills so that our children have the stamina and ability to write at the age expected standard. To support children in moving towards independent writing we provide a wide range of activities including the use of film and imagery, music, ICT, modelled, shared and guided writing, peer assessment, self assessment and discussion. We provide varied and exciting opportunities for writing for purpose and we encourage pupils to see themselves as authors and poets. We promote the importance of written work by providing a writing purpose and opportunities for children’s writing to be read aloud and listened to by an audience. Handwriting sessions are regularly incorporated into the English lessons. We have developed a range of extra activities which are used to promote English within the school including our year long, whole school Writing Challenge, World Book Day, Reading initiatives ‘Reading Week’’ and author visits.