Good English skills underpin all the other subjects, offering children the means to access the other areas of the curriculum. It is through speaking, reading and writing that children gain access to Maths, Science, Humanities, Computing, Religious Education, Personal and Social Development, Art, Music and PE. With this principle in mind, at Firs Farm we strive to offer all our children the best start in life by supporting them in the acquisition of language, reading and writing. Being a Rights Respecting School and promoting the British Values, means that our children will apply their understanding and commitment to the UNICEF Children’s Rights and to the British Values of respect and tolerance in their spoken and written work.
In the Early Stages, children start their Literacy adventure through listening to stories, role- playing, creating narratives or re-telling stories; through the early introduction of sign making- in water, sand, foam, paper and other surfaces; through the discrete teaching of phonics using the Letters & Sounds phonic scheme. Children are encouraged to love books and read them, starting with the early stages of the Oxford Reading Tree and other reading schemes.
As children move to KS1, they develop their reading skills further, progressing through the books in the Oxford Reading Tree reading schemes and gradually moving on to free readers’ books, thus feeding their imagination and enriching their vocabulary and understanding of the world. Children in Year 1 and 2 will still have regular phonic sessions; with most children finishing their phonetic education in Year 2. They start writing words more consistently, reading and writing the spellings on their Word Walls and attempting more difficult words. Their writing is shaping up into recognisable stories or simple information texts, culminating with the very accomplished writing that our children develop by the end of Year 2. Our pupils are also encouraged to take part in class discussions and have the opportunity to speak publicly during their class assemblies.
By KS2 our focus is on honing listening, reading and writing skills that children have started to develop in the Early Years and KS1. The emphasis is on using, in ever greater detail, the conventions of different genres of literature and, later on, in unpicking the fabric of the texts themselves at word, sentence and text level. This analysis leads to the creation of pieces of writing that follow the conventions and features. In reading, children demonstrate their ability to decode words of increasing difficulty; they develop their skills of understanding, initially through simple information retrieval, followed by discovering implied and suggested meanings and culminating in the ability to understand and comment on language choices made by the author. Speaking and listening are promoted throughout lessons, assemblies and the various clubs and activities that children get involved with.