At St. Gerard’s Catholic Primary school, we believe that all children can learn to read, regardless of their background, needs or abilities and are determined to make this happen.
We aim to create a community of avid readers who read fluently and widely and are able to express preferences and opinions about the texts that they read. We intend to develop a culture by which our pupils read for pleasure, having had access to a wide range of text types, genres and authors in order for them to make informed opinions about their favourites.
We want our children to write with confidence and accuracy for a variety of purposes and audiences whilst developing their own imagination and creativity. We want our children to be able to write with grammatical accuracy and be able to apply spelling patterns correctly.
We aim to expose our children to a wide range of vocabulary so that they are able to decipher new words and then use them when speaking both informally and formally. By equipping our pupils with these skills, we aim to empower them to become confident and highly literate members of society who can read, write and communicate effectively, and can grow and flourish as individuals in our ever-changing world.
The National Curriculum
The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written word, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.
The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:
- 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.
- Appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage.
- 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.
Books are such powerful and wonderful tools which harness so many opportunities. Not only do they offer a wealth of information, experience and knowledge; they also provide opportunities to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. High quality texts can improve comprehension, vocabulary, spelling, speaking, listening, and writing. They offer so many benefits, and it is because of these benefits that St Gerard’s Catholic Primary School have adopted a completely book-based approach to the teaching of English and have placed it at the very heart of our curriculum.
The pupils at St. Gerard’s are taught English through the Literary Curriculum. The Literary Curriculum, designed by the Literacy Tree, is a book-based approach to the teaching of Primary English that places children’s literature at the core.
The Literary Curriculum immerses children in a literary world through the planning sequences (for writing), the literary leaves (for reading) and the spelling seeds (for spelling), therefore creating strong levels of engagement to provide meaningful and authentic contexts for primary English.
Children become critical readers and acquire an authorial style as they encounter a wide-range of authors and a variety of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Throughout their time at St Gerard’s, pupils will explore over 200 literary texts and experience at least 175 unique significant authors.
To ensure this curriculum is embedded throughout the school, pupils receive an English lesson as well as a whole class reading lesson every day with a different book to focus on in each. Each half term focusses on a different theme, with links made to the wider curriculum where possible to allow pupils to explore the theme in as much depth and breadth as possible.
We follow a spiral approach to learning which allows pupils to learn and revisit the different strands of the National Curriculum several times throughout each year. This spiral approach to learning provides complete coverage of all National Curriculum expectations for writing composition, reading comprehension, grammar, punctuation and vocabulary, as well as coverage of spelling and phonics – all in context.
Pupils have access to a diverse range of books both in their classroom reading areas and in the school library which they can read in school and even take home. Reading areas in classrooms promote high quality texts that often link to the theme being studied. Our library monitors also run lunch-time clubs throughout the week where they deliver reading out loud sessions so pupils can sit, listen and be engrossed in new stories. The monitors also accommodate pupils who just wish to sit in a quiet area and read to themselves, as well as run sessions to help pupils improve specific reading skills.
Our children will grow into competent, fluent readers who can recommend books and authors to their peers, have a thirst for reading a range of genres including poetry, and participate in discussions about books, including evaluating an author’s use of language and the impact this can have on the reader. They will also read books to enhance their knowledge and understanding of all subjects in the curriculum.
By the end of their time at St Gerard’s, children will be able to write clearly and accurately and adapt their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences. Our pupils will acquire a wide vocabulary and have a strong command of the written word. Most importantly, they will develop a love of writing and be well equipped for the rest of their education.