Welcome to the English area of the website!
On this page you will find information about how we teach literacy at Muscliff Primary School.
Below, you can view our English Policy as well as other useful documents which contribute to our English Policy.
English at Muscliff Primary School
At Muscliff, the 'Beautiful Text' is our vehicle for inspiring a love for the English language; our bespoke curriculum (that centres around a specifically chosen book) captivates and enthrals our curious Muscliff Mice.
We have high expectations of all of our pupils and pride ourselves on developing children who are not only equipped with a high standard of literacy skills and language fluency, but also children who have the character and resilience needed to succeed in modern Britain. We believe that whenever a child picks up a pen or pencil, their writing should reflect the same high standards and our staff will challenge pupils to meet that expectation. This is underpinned by our core values, whereby children are challenged, with support, and learn to develop diligence in order to improve their literacy skills. Through our literacy curriculum, underpinned by our school curriculum, we develop the ‘whole child’.
“We place success within the grasp of all of our children, but they will need to stand on tiptoes to achieve it.”
Recognising that fluency in English language is the foundation to success in all areas of the curriculum, the key skills of literacy development are reinforced, taught and exploited through every subject area. Teachers will seek to take advantage of opportunities to make cross-curricular links. They will plan for pupils to practise and apply the skills, knowledge and understanding acquired through literacy lessons to other areas of the curriculum.
Teachers should develop pupils’ spoken language, reading, writing and vocabulary as integral aspects of the teaching of every subject. English is both a subject in its own right and the medium for teaching; for pupils, understanding the language provides access to the whole curriculum. Fluency in the English language is an essential foundation for success in all subjects
National Curriculum (2014)
At Muscliff, we encourage our children to think like an author. From the moment children begin to make marks on a page, they are communicating meaning – they have a voice. Our pupils think like a writer and write for their reader. Through our daily literacy sessions across the school, where English skills are taught explicitly, we cultivate this ethos of ‘being’ an author. Using high quality texts across a full range of genres, we strive to provide our children with the best possible models of excellent writing that inspire our pupils.
“Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader - not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon.”
“The most important thing is to read as much as you can, like I did. It will give you an understanding of what makes good writing and it will enlarge your vocabulary.” J. K. Rowling
How do we teach phonics?
Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised is our chosen scheme. "Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised is a complete systematic synthetic phonics programme (SSP) developed for schools by schools."
Phonics continues in KS2 in the form of teaching children strategies to segment for spelling.
Which reading schemes do we follow?
We love Oxford Reading Tree! We follow the Oxford Level colour-banded scheme and the books we use to support the teaching of reading are published by OUP. In particular, we enjoy Oxford's Project X books and the children enjoy reading about the adventures of Ant, Cat and Max from their beginnings in Year 1 all the way through to Year 6. In using a colour-banded scheme, we can ensure that children across the school are reading challenging, age-appropriate books and we know that Oxford's material is of a very high quality.
How do we teach reading?
Children should be encouraged to develop a love of books and the disposition to read.’
We strive to teach all our children to read and to enjoy a variety of texts so that they will become independent, critical, life-long readers and learners. Teachers model reading strategies during shared reading sessions within lessons, whilst children have the opportunity to develop reading strategies and to discuss texts in detail during guided reading sessions. Independent reading provides time for both assessment and 1-1 teaching. Daily discreet phonics lessons in FS and KS1 enable children to decode efficiently. This is continued into KS2 where necessary.
The Oxford colour banded reading scheme is used to support all our readers but this is further enriched through texts that are carefully selected by the teachers in-line with our curriculum rooted in 'The Beautiful Text.' Guided Reading books are selected to provide appropriate challenge and to be instructional, and will generally be a higher book band than those books that pupils share at home (see Guided Reading Policy). Teaching assistants may support reading activities to ensure that children have more frequent opportunities to read with adults.
The whole class shares a text, which is beyond their independent reading levels, often using an enlarged text (paper or ICT based). Shared reading provides a context for teacher modelling, teaching and applying reading skills (word, sentence and text level). Shared reading is interactive where the children are encouraged to engage in, question and reflect on what is being read.
Our teachers are really passionate about their reading material and this in turn ignites a reading spark in our Muscliff children.
Teaching Reading Fluency
Where children need to develop reading fluency, Guided Reading should take place in a small group, with a teacher or teaching assistant, and should focus on developing children’s ability to become independent readers, thinkers and learners. When fluency is the objective of the session, the children are grouped by ability and read individual copies of the same text, which matches the reading level of the group. Texts should be selected from the school’s guided reading scheme – Project X (Oxford Reading Tree).
Reading at Home
All children have been provided with a year group specific reading record. The expectations of reading at home are the same throughout the whole school and the reading record reminds parents of this expectation: all children should read at least 4 x per week for a minimum of 15 minutes. Space has been provided for parents to communicate with the teacher about the reading session at home. The reading record also contains the key word lists. Parents also have access to the ‘Reading at Home’ document on our school webpage; this document provides parents with helpful information regarding age-related expectations, as well as helpful comprehension questions and activities.
To support online reading, we use Oxford Owl. Oxford Owl provides children with our whole school reading material at home!
From Reception all the way through to Year 6, children take home a book according to their ability. These books follow the same banding as our guided reading scheme. The structure of the colour bands ensures that all of our children are taking home appropriately challenging books that will develop their skills as efficient and successful readers.
The colour bands
Dark Red +
Teachers will use their professional judgment to ensure that children are reading an appropriate level book at home. As a general rule, we tend to send home books that children can read at an accuracy of around 90%. This means that the reading experience at home is enjoyable but a little challenging. At school, children will be challenged that bit more, with the support of their teacher. They might well be reading a different colour with their teacher.
The colour bands are based on national expectations. If a child is working towards the national expectations then they may be choosing coloured books from the previous year, to build on prior learning and consolidate the core reading skills.
These books develop fluency and enjoyment of a variety of texts (e.g. stories, poetry, information) In addition to this, children have the opportunity to choose a book from the book corner. Each child has a home reading record that teachers and parents can use to share information about a child’s reading. Classrooms have a Reading Corner with a selection of books for the children to enjoy.
We still encourage all readers to share a book at home with their grown-ups. We believe that this not only helps to develop inferential skills, but also supports a lifelong love of reading. We actively encourage reading a whole range of different books and material and children are encouraged to read their own (or local library) books also.
We recognise the value of adults (both in school and at home) reading aloud to children, in order to improve their grasp of story language, enthuse them with a love of books and inspire them as writers.
Parent readers in school
Reading Rangers is a small group of parent volunteers who come into school, joining teachers during the guided reading session, to assist with 1:1 reading. There is a separate Reading Rangers policy. All Reading Rangers have met with a member of SLT to discuss their role within school. All Reading Rangers have read (and signed to confirm this) both the Reading Ranger policy as well as the Safe Guarding policy.
To download a copy of the National Curriculum English programmes of study for Key Stages 1 and 2 click here:
To find out more about the statutory programmes of study and attainment targets for English at Key Stages 1 to 3 click here:
More English Information
Parent Reading Support Booklet
These booklets have been created to give parents an overview of the new age-related objectives from the National Curriculum. You will find these objectives as well as information about the different 'strands' of reading that your child will be developing: Word Wonder, Comprehender, Reading Detective, Language Lover, Responder, Big Reader. Furthermore, included are some useful questions that will support reading at home in developing these individual strands.