A key focus of our teaching is the development of phonic skills.
Our scheme for teaching phonics is Letters and Sounds. We use a wide range of engaging, active teaching methods and resources to deliver our lessons including games, videos and interactive whiteboard activities. We provide daily phonics sessions and implement effective interventions throughout the school day. We make full use of our expert teachers and teaching assistants to keep group sizes small. This allows for focused teaching which enables the most effective learning.
In Nursery, we focus primarily on building a strong foundation in Speaking and Listening. The children take part in a range of activities (circle time, Jigsaw, story time, Nursery Bear sharing) which aid them in becoming confident and effective communicators. Alongside this, we explore a variety of texts with the children to develop their understanding of the purpose of print, the structure of stories, the meaning of character and setting and the importance of rhythm and rhyme within spoken and written language. Nursery rhymes and traditional tales feature a great deal; these are later joined by a range of stories that the children choose themselves, developing Greswold’s value of curiosity.
In Reception the children learn in a print rich environment. They develop their gross and fine motor skills through fun activities such as 'dough disco' and 'squiggle while you wiggle'. Pupils have daily phonics lessons and are encouraged to use their phonic knowledge to write words in ways which match their spoken sounds. They have continuous access to mark making materials and follow their interests and with support, write simple sentences that can be read by themselves and others. Story telling is a daily event and children often act out stories they have heard within the environment.
Through our space topic, children explore different word classes and how to apply them within a sentence. They learn how to use punctuation, such as question marks, by researching historically significant individuals linked to the topic. The children write advertisements and recounts during their animal-themed topic which also includes a visit from the animal-lady engaging the children’s curiosity and giving a purpose to their writing. Children access a range of well-known tales which provides many opportunities for ‘talk for writing’: including, retelling, repetitive phrases for effect, sequencing and drama. Children will work cross-curricularly through their theme of castles where they will recognise descriptive language and apply this to rewriting a text that they have explored in-depth. Children will write fact-files about circus acts and use their senses to generate interesting adjectives to describe an experience at the circus. Their knowledge of fact-files and story writing will be consolidated later in the year through the under the sea topic where they are encouraged to draw upon their previous learning more independently. Throughout each topic, the children will look at different poems and draw on features to help them to create their own themed poetry. Through guided reading, children will have access to quality literature linked to their topics within English and the wider curriculum, working on skills such as sequencing, retrieval, prediction, expanding vocabulary and inference.
In Year 2, we consolidate the children’s use of phonics for both reading and spelling. The children apply a range of spelling rules and learn how suffixes change the meaning of words. There is a strong focus on developing neat handwriting, with the prerequisites for joining being taught throughout the year. We use a range of quality texts as the basis of our English units including stories by Julia Donaldson, Helen Cooper and Elizabeth McKay. These stories act as the basis of discussion and as inspiration for writing, such as retelling events or describing a character. The children also explore a range of non-fiction texts including reports, historical diaries, instructions and adverts. These are linked to our topics, for example the children create reports about Arctic animals and diaries about the Great Fire London. In grammar, the children learn how to use different sentence forms and write using both past and present tense. They create expanded noun phrases and use both coordinating and subordinating conjunctions to link ideas. These grammatical skills are linked directly into writing opportunities so that the children can apply them in their work. We continue to focus on the punctuation covered in previous years (full stops, commas and question marks) and introduce the apostrophe for singular possession and exclamation mark at the end of an exclamatory sentence. Again, the children are given purposes to apply this learning. Children read regularly and are encouraged to discuss the books, pick out language they like and make predictions. Through guided reading, children will have access to quality literature linked to their topics within English and the wider curriculum, working on skills such as sequencing, retrieval, prediction, expanding vocabulary and inference.
During the year, children will build on their knowledge from Key stage 1, consolidating their understanding of different word classes which will further develop their writing. Children will learn how to start sentences in a variety of ways, developing their knowledge of how to use subordinate clauses for effect. They will also be introduced to prepositions and adverbial phrases, as well as learning how to punctuate direct speech correctly. Through exploration of a well-known text, ‘The Hodgeheg’, children will orally re-tell the story, engage their curiosity by questioning aspects of the text and finally, apply their grammatical knowledge to produce different styles of writing, such as animal stories. As part of a separate narrative unit, children will be encouraged to think creatively by writing an adventure story, as well being supported in expanding their own vocabulary. Children will create poems linked to winter, inspired by the text ‘Coming Home’ where they will be able to reflect on the poetic devices used by the author. Throughout their Roman topic, children will work cross-curricularly, writing re-counts of their Roman-themed day and a diary entry as a Roman soldier. Cross-curricular writing continues within the Ancient Egypt topic, where children research how to mummify a body and write instructions for this, as well as writing fact-files and information texts. Within the Rainforest topic, children write formal letters, learning the layout and language required as well as being encouraged to reflect on current issues, such as global deforestation. Through guided reading, children will have access to quality literature linked to their topics within English and the wider curriculum, working on skills such as summarising, retrieval, prediction, expanding vocabulary, commentating and inference.
While in Year Five children have the opportunity to study a variety of texts, both classic and modern. While learning about Ancient Greece, we look at Greek myths such as ‘Theseus and the Minotaur’ and ‘Perseus and the Gorgon’. The children study and analyse the themes, characters and settings with the aim of writing their own Greek myth. The classic poem ‘The Raven’ gives the children the opportunity to look at narrative poetry. They look at various interpretations and performances of the poem, interpret the language and collaboratively create a modern version. Finally, they write their own poem in the same narrative style but from the point of view of the raven. To link with the topic of Space, children learn about Tim Peake, creating a biography of his life. Following on from this, they write a formal letter of application to the European Space Agency. This unit forms an important part of Greswold’s ‘Life Ready’ skills, preparing the children for adult life. The Victorian unit is closely linked to both our reading and writing topics. The children become immersed in the world of Charles Dickens, in particular his well-known novel, ‘Oliver Twist’. They study the characters and vocabulary in detail, linking back to vocabulary within ‘The Raven’, ultimately applying their knowledge to create their own Dickens-style story extract. This is followed by ‘Street Child’, a novel set in Victorian times but written in the modern day. The children will compare the differing perspectives of the era and how this will have affected the writer’s style and content. This is an in-depth unit where we look at lots of aspects of the story, incorporating drama, diary writing and reading based activities. In preparation for an educational visit to Llandudno, the children undertake a study of coastal features and write explanation texts, learn about persuasive techniques and take part in a debate about coastal defences. We sum up the children’s learning through the study of ‘Treasure Island’ where children will consolidate the skills they have learned throughout the year. Through guided reading, children will have access to quality literature linked to their topics within English and the wider curriculum, working on skills such as summarising, retrieval, prediction, expanding vocabulary, commentating, inference and analysing author intent.
Throughout the year, children will have the opportunity to explore and analyse a variety of texts, covering a wide range of genres. They will draw on their previous knowledge to explain features of texts and identify how these are suited to audience and purpose, whilst also expanding on grammar concepts learnt previously and how to apply these effectively within a piece of writing to reflect the appropriate formality. Through their unit on ‘The Highwayman’, pupils will use drama to gain a deeper understanding of the plot within this narrative poem. They will draw open their inference skills to identify different character’s perspectives and then apply this knowledge to creating their own narrative told from a different point of view. In order to explore the rhythm of the poem, pupils will make direct comparisons with ‘The Highway Rat’, cross-referencing them both on a Carroll diagram before creating their own storybook aimed at key stage one pupils. Pupils’ knowledge of story writing will be consolidated later in the term as they engage in a series of lessons around the spy/detective genre. They will be hooked into this topic by becoming detectives for the morning, interviewing teachers to solve a mystery. This topic will then result in them applying skills, vocabulary and knowledge learnt to writing their own stories. Pupils will study a range of non-fiction texts, including newspaper reports, persuasive speeches and letters, debates, non-chronological reports and recounts. Whilst some of these texts are linked to cross-curricular topics, others, such as newspaper reports, persuasive speeches and letters, are more open-ended allowing the children more freedom of choice to engage them further within the genre. During our topics of both World War One and Two, pupils will be able to consolidate their knowledge of many genres of writing, explore poetry, drama activities and have the opportunity to use digital media to record their own live broadcast. Through guided reading, children will have access to quality literature linked to their topics within English and the wider curriculum, working on skills such as summarising, retrieval, prediction, expanding vocabulary, commentating, inference and analysing author intent.