Forestdale Primary School

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English

English is the basic language of communication in this country and its mastery is necessary for educational progress.

Aims and objectives

At Forestdale Primary school, we aim to develop high standards of literacy and language by developing their love of literature through widespread reading across the curriculum and at home and also equipping them with a strong command of the written and spoken word.

Our aim as a school is to ensure our children:

  • appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage
  • read easily, fluently and with good understanding
  • develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
  • acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language
  • write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences
  • use discussion in order to learn; they should be able to elaborate and explain clearly their understanding and ideas
  • are competent in the arts of speaking and listening, making formal presentations, demonstrating to others and participating in debate.

English Challenges

At Forestdale Primary School we present key skills in English for each year group as a ‘Superhero Challenge’. There is a punctuation target, a sentence target and a spelling target for each term in each year group. These challenges are used by teachers to personalise planning and assessment, and for pupils and parents to know a child’s next steps.

Each Superhero challenge relates to the expectations of each year group on a term by term basis according to the national curriculum.

The Superhero English challenges are discussed and explained in greater depth to parents during the Working Together mornings and at parents’ evening consultations.

Writing

We carefully plan fun and engaging writing opportunities for our children across the curriculum, which are predominantly topic linked. From writing information booklets about toys in year one to theatre reviews in year 6, we aim to promote high standards of language and literacy.

Our children are exposed to a wide range of vocabulary, the correct use of grammar and the conventions for reading, writing and spoken language. We focus on how to write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. We also adopt the ‘Talk for Writing’ approach, which is powerful because it enables children to imitate the language they need for a particular topic orally, through drama and role play activities, before reading and analysing it and then writing their final piece.

We have high expectations in terms of handwriting and presentation and our children are expected to write in a clear, cursive handwriting script. Forming letters carefully and correctly enables children to write with fluidity. Please click here for further guidance on handwriting at Forestdale and resources (PDF)

We also believe that by teaching our children word processing, publishing and research skills using computers, we prepare them for the future in a fast changing world of technology.

Reading

We aim to foster in all our children a love of books so that they become readers for life. Children are taught to read by a variety of methods including phonics, learning key words and using meaning. Their progress is carefully monitored and a wide range of books (fiction and non-fiction) make up our guided and individual reading schemes.

Infants

Children select books from our banded colour reading scheme. This is based on a range of published reading schemes such as Oxford Owl, Rigby Star and Collin’s Big Cat, Songbirds and Project X. These books include both fiction and non-fiction.

Book Band Expectations

Pink 1 - Working within Reception

  • Locate title
  • Open front cover
  • Turn pages appropriately
  • Understand that left page comes before right
  • Understand that we read print from left to right
  • Match spoken word to printed word (one-to-one correspondence)
  • Locate familiar words and use them to check own reading
  • Use the meaning of text
  • Use language patterns (syntax)
  • Predict the story line and some vocabulary

Red 2 - Working at Reception

  • Locate and recall title
  • Have secure control of one-to-one matching
  • Use known words to check and confirm reading
  • Start to read more rhythmically or use phrasing while maintaining track of print
  • Repeat words, phrases or sentences to check, confirm or modify own reading
  • Predict from meaning, syntax and print to solve new words

Yellow 3 - Working within year 1:

  • Follow print with eyes, finger-pointing only at points of difficulty
  • Take more note of punctuation to support the use of grammar and oral language rhythms
  • Cross-check all sources of information more quickly while reading
  • Note familiar words and letter clusters and use these to get to unknown words e.g. look > took
  • Search for information in print to predict, confirm or attempt new words while reading
  • Notice relationships between one text and another
  • Predict in more detail

Blue 4 - Working at year 1:

  • Move through text attending to meaning, print and sentence structure flexibly
  • Self-correct more rapidly on-the-run
  • Re-read to enhance phrasing and clarify precise meaning
  • Solve new words using print information along with attention to meaning
  • Use analogy with known vocabulary to solve new words
  • Manage a greater variety of text genre
  • Discuss content of the text in a manner which indicates precise understanding

Green 5- Working within year 2:

  • Read fluently with attention to punctuation.
  • Solve new words using print detail while attending to meaning and syntax.
  • Track visually additional lines of print without difficulty.
  • Manage effectively a growing variety of texts, including non-fiction.
  • Discuss and interpret character and plot more fully.
  • Use contents page and glossary in nonfiction books, and locate information.

Orange 6- Working at year 2:

  • Get started on fiction after briefer introductions and without relying so heavily on illustrations.
  • Examine non-fiction layout and use the contents page to select which sections of a book to read.
  • Read longer phrases and more complex sentences.
  • Blend phonemes in unfamiliar words more fluently, cross checking with meaning and syntax.
  • Attend to a greater range of punctuation and text layout.
  • Search for and use familiar syllables within words to read longer words.
  • Infer meaning from the text.
  • Check information in text with illustrations, particularly in non-fiction, and comment on content.
  • Begin to use appropriate terminology when discussing different types of text.

Turquoise 7- Working at year 2:

  • Extract meaning from the text while reading with less dependence on illustrations.
  • Approach different genres with increasing flexibility.
  • Use punctuation and text layout to read with a greater range of expression and control.
  • Sustain reading through longer sentence structures and paragraphs.
  • Tackle a higher ratio of more complex words using known vocabulary, phonic knowledge and syllables.
  • Find a way around alphabetically ordered texts such as indexes, glossaries and dictionaries.

Purple 8- Working towards year 3:

  • Look through a variety of fiction and non-fiction with growing independence to predict content and layout and story development.
  • Read silently or quietly at a more rapid pace, taking note of punctuation and using it to keep track of longer sentences.
  • Solve most unfamiliar words on the run by blending long vowel phonemes, recognising and using them in longer and more complex words.
  • Adapt to fiction, non-fiction and poetic language with growing flexibility.
  • Take more conscious account of literacy effects used by fiction writers, and the formal language of different types of non-fiction.
  • Begin to make more conscious use of reading to extend speaking and writing vocabulary and syntax.

Gold 9- Working within year 3:

  • Look through a variety of books with growing independence to predict content and story development, and make full use of non-fiction layout.
  • Read silently or quietly at a more rapid pace, taking note of punctuation and using it to keep track of longer sentences.
  • Solve most unfamiliar words on the run by blending long vowel phonemes, recognising and using them in longer and more complex words.
  • Adapt to fiction, non-fiction and poetic language with growing flexibility.
  • Take more conscious account of literacy effects used by writers.
  • Make more conscious use of reading to extend speaking and writing vocabulary and syntax.
  • Locate and interpret information in non-fiction.

White 10- Working at year 3:

  • Read silently most of the time.
  • Sustain interest in longer text, returning to it easily after a break.
  • Use text more fully as a reference and as a model.
  • Search for and find information in texts more flexibly.
  • Notice the spelling of unfamiliar words and relate to known words.
  • Show increased awareness of vocabulary and precise meaning.
  • Express reasoned opinions about what is read, and compare texts.
  • Offer and discuss interpretations of text.

Juniors

Children read either book band books or chapter books. We have invested heavily in providing a wealth of genres and subjects for children to choose from.

Reading at Home

At Forestdale there is an expectation that children read at home at least three times a week. If children record their reading in their contact books they will receive an achievement stamper from their teacher.

Children should aim to read in out of school hours for:

  • Reception and Year 110 minutes
  • Year 215 minutes
  • Year 320 minutes
  • Year 425 minutes
  • Year 530 minutes
  • Year 635 minutes

Reading with Your Child

Children need to know that we read for meaning therefore these questions will ensure that they get the utmost from the book in terms of understanding and enjoyment. You may wish to record your child’s responses to the questions in their contact book. The questions get progressively harder from box 1-3.

Reading Questions
Box 1
Reading Questions
Box 2
Reading Questions
Box 3
  • Do you know anything about this book already?
  • Do you know any of the characters/people in this story?
  • Where does the story happen?
  • Why do you think X [a character] did that?
  • Why do you think Y [an event] happened?
  • What do you think will happen next? How will it end?
  • What does the picture tell you about the information/ story?
  • What are the most important things that happen in this book/story?
  • How do you know?
  • Why did these things happen?
  • What tells you that?
  • Has anything like this ever happened to you?
  • What clues in the text tell you if it is the same/ different?
  • How did X [a character] behave? How do you know?
  • How did X [a character] feel?
  • Which words/phrases/illustrations tell you that?
  • What else tells you?
  • How do you think the author wants us to feel at this moment?
  • What is she/he trying to do here?
  • If the writer asked you what could be improved in the text, what would you say?
  • Why does the font change in this part of the story?
  • How does the dialogue help to move the story on?
  • Which words do you think are particularly effective?
  • Were there words or phrases or other things to do with the language that you liked? Or didn’t like? Explain
  • Do you know what the word means or can you work out what it means (in this sentence)?
  • What other word could the author have used that means the same sort of thing?

Read Along

At the end of each day the class teacher reads book aloud to the class, which reinforces the topic they are learning about. We also encourage our children to have a copy of the same book so they can join in and follow the words on the page. We suggest that children either borrow a copy of the book from their local library, from a friend or relative or even purchase their very own copy. Please click here for a list of the books required each term (PDF)

Forestory

Forestory takes place each week. This is where all the children in each key stage gather in the hall to listen to a story being read aloud by a teacher, taking their imagination away to exciting and engaging fictional places. This allows children to hear good examples of reading aloud and to develop an enthusiasm for reading books themselves.

Guided Reading

We value guided reading as a means of improving children’s abilities to read for purpose and meaning. All children read as part of a group, usually outside the literacy lesson. The questions that adults ask during guided reading cover the range of question types from simple recall of information to reading ‘between the lines’. Children are given the opportunity to discuss these questions as part of the guided reading group.

Phonics

At Forestdale, initially we follow the Jolly Phonics scheme, teaching children sounds and letters, then adapt planning from the Phonics Play scheme, combining with other useful resources such as ‘Letters and Sounds’ or ‘Pips’ to meet the needs of our children. We measure children’s abilities in phonics according to our Forestdale’s Phonic Planets. Please click here for more details (PDF). The teaching of phonics is organised into Phonic Planet groups depending on children’s prior knowledge and progress through Letters and Sounds.

Spellings

Each year group from Y1-Y6 has a particular set of spelling patterns and rules which they must be taught. Alongside these rules, each year group also has a set of exception words which the children will be expected to know by heart (please see the tables below).

Every Monday, children will be taught about the spelling pattern or spelling rule for that week. The spellings will be sent home that day.

There is also a list of exception words in a box at the bottom of the weekly spelling (highlighted in yellow on the image below). These words will run across a half term. Your child will need to work on these spellings each week in manageable chunks and will be expected to spell these words by heart by the end of that half term.

Some of the words on these word lists will be covered through weekly spelling lessons and will be tested each Friday, but because of the sheer amount of words that your child needs to learn, we would much appreciate it if you could support your child by helping them to learn the words on their word list.

Children will also be set either 5, 8 or 10 spellings. The focus of the new spelling curriculum is not the quantity of spellings your child receives but their understanding of the rules and patterns of words. Can they apply the same rules to new words? If you feel your child is able to spell the words set for that week then please use the home learning time to explore other words where the same patterns and the rules apply. Further research into patterns and rules, including finding definitions of words, would prove beneficial. Understanding the history of words and relationships between them will help with spelling in general.

Year 1

Y1 Autumn 1 Y1 Autumn 2 Y1 Spring 1 Y1 Spring 2 Y1 Summer 1 Y1 Summer 2
the
a
do
to
today
of
said
says
are
were
was
is
his
has
I
you
your
they
be
he
me
she
we
no
go
so
by
my
here
there
where
love
come
some
one
once
ask
friend
school
put
push
pull
full
house
our

Year 2

Y2 Autumn 1 Y2 Autumn 2 Y2 Spring 1 Y2 Spring 2 Y2 Summer 1 Y2 Summer 2
door
floor
poor
because
find
kind
mind
behind
child
children*
most
only
both
old
could
should
would
wild
climb
even
great
break
steak
cold
gold
hold
told
every
everybody
pretty
beautiful
after
fast
last
past
clothes
busy
people
water
money
father
class
grass
pass
plant
path
bath
hour
move
prove
improve
sure
sugar
eye
who
whole
any
many
again
half
Mr
Mrs
parents
Christmas

Year 3

Y3 Autumn 1 Y3 Autumn 2 Y3 Spring 1 Y3 Spring 2 Y3 Summer 1 Y3 Summer 2
accident(ally)
actual(ly)
address
answer
appear
arrive
believe
bicycle 
 breath
breathe
build
busy/business
calendar
caught
centre
century
certain
circle
complete
consider
continue
decide
describe
different 
difficult
disappear
early
earth
eight/eighth
enough
exercise
experience 
 through
various
weight
woman/women
occasion(ally)
special
notice
experiment
extreme
famous
favourite
February
forward(s)
fruit
grammar 

Year 4

Y4 Autumn 1 Y4 Autumn 2 Y4 Spring 1 Y4 Spring 2 Y4 Summer 1 Y4 Summer 2
 often
opposite
ordinary
particular
peculiar
perhaps
popular
position
 possess
possessions
possible
potatoes
pressure
probably
promise
purpose
quarter
minute
question
recent
regular
reign
remember
sentence
separate
material
medicine
increase
important
interest
island
knowledge
learn
length
library
mention 
straight
strange
strength
suppose
surprise
therefore
though
although
thought 
group
guard
guide
heard
heart
height
history
imagine
naughty
natural 

Year 5

Y5 Autumn 1 Y5 Autumn 2 Y5 Spring 1 Y5 Spring 2 Y5 Summer 1 Y5 Summer 2
accommodate
accompany
according
achieve
aggressive
amateur
ancient
apparent
appreciate
attached
available
average
awkward
bargain
bruise
category
cemetery
committee
communicate
community
competition
conscience*
conscious*
controversy
pronunciation
queue
recognise
recommend
relevant
restaurant
rhyme
rhythm
sacrifice
convenience
correspond
criticise
(critic + ise)
curiosity
definite
desperate
determined
develop
pronunciation
queue
recognise
recommend
relevant
restaurant
rhyme
rhythm
sacrifice

Year 6

Y6 Autumn 1 Y6 Autumn 2 Y6 Spring 1 Y6 Spring 2 Y6 Summer 1 Y6 Summer 2
secretary
shoulder
signature
sincere(ly)
soldier
stomach
sufficient
suggest
explanation
symbol
system
temperature
thorough
twelfth
variety
vegetable
vehicle
yacht
opportunity
parliament
persuade
physical
prejudice
privilege
profession
programme
marvellous
mischievous
muscle
necessary
neighbour
nuisance
occupy
occur
identity
immediate(ly)
individual
interfere
interrupt
language
leisure
lightning
familiar
foreign
forty
frequently
government
guarantee
harass
hindrance

Library

We are very fortunate to have a well-resourced and efficiently run library at Forestdale. The borrowing section of our library is electronically logged and children can scan out their own books. We also have an extensive reference section of the library which children can use for independent research during or outside lesson time. Our librarians help children to select books, and fosters a love of books within children at the school.

Drama

Drama activities are often used at the beginning of an English topic to promote high-quality thinking, discussion and written outcomes. Some drama or talk activities in particular can help to prepare children for writing certain text types.

Information and Further Support

On a termly basis, parents are strongly encouraged to attend our Working Together mornings. These morning sessions provide parents with information and guidance on what their child is learning in class and the strategies they can use in order to help them at home. Parents are invited into the classrooms to work with their child, with the support and guidance of the class teacher.

All children receive quality first literacy teaching on a daily basis and activities are differentiated accordingly. In addition, where identified pupils are considered to require targeted support to enable them to work towards age appropriate objectives, intervention programmes will be implemented. Some children are able to have the benefit of 1:1 sessions delivered by our Intensive Reading teachers. Please click here for further details on advice on who and how to make contact with the school regarding any concerns or needs of your child.