At Kestrel Mead we love to read and write! We believe that language is developed through being exposed to rich vocabulary and quality texts. Therefore, we take a ‘Novel Study’ approach to the teaching of English.

Early Years and Year 1 use ALS Phonics, Shared Reading and Shared Writing in English lessons. We read a range of books including Big Books that help us to use our Phonic knowledge and then our reading and writing outcomes are based around the Book. We incorporate ‘Talk for Writing’ into our sessions, so children have plenty of time to get to know a story and develop their listening, speaking and language skills. It also encourages them to become confident speakers and performers. We also encourage writing for pleasure and so have a range of writing resources available around our learning environments.

At the beginning of Year 2, as part of transition, we focus on alternative traditional tales, before moving onto the Novel Study approach like the juniors. Children in Year 3 to 6 follow the Novel Study approach to English. The text is explored through the use of immersive learning experiences, drama, speaking and listening activities, language development, grammar sessions and reading activities. All of these then lead up to a carefully planned writing outcome that the children get to draft, edit, and improve and then polish. We encourage the children to continually make improvements as authors never use their first draft. Polished writing can come in many different forms including podcasts, videos, leaflets or writing for a display.

Grammar sessions are embedded into our Novel Study teaching sequence. Children are taught the grammar and punctuation which is relevant to their year groups and the writing outcome they are working towards. These sessions are mostly collaborative, allowing children the opportunity to explore and apply various grammar skills.

Spellings are key part of our writing journey at Kestrel Mead. Throughout their time with us, children are explicitly taught how to spell key words and apply various spelling rules. Weekly spellings are given to children in line with the National Curriculum expectations. In Year Reception and Year 1, the children also learn spellings that link to the phonics they are learning in class.

From Year 2 through to Year 6, we use Spelling Shed which is a scheme that provides children with a progression of spellings. Each child has their own login that allows them to practice online at home and school through different games. Children complete a weekly spelling test on a Friday.

We ask that you support your child in learning their spellings in preparation for weekly spelling tests. This helps children become more confident and creative when they are producing writing to share with others.

We love reading at Kestrel Mead.

Children at the infants have many opportunities to read throughout their school day. We focus on whole class, small group sessions and independent reading within the provision. The children have opportunities to choose books to read for pleasure and we aim to read stories at least three times within every school day. Children take home a levelled reading book and a library book, which are both changed weekly. In Reception and Year 1, children also have a phonically decodable book every week that links to the sounds they are learning in class.

Children at the juniors also have lots of opportunities to read through class shared reading sessions, group guided reading sessions and reading for pleasure. Children take home a levelled reading book and a reading for pleasure book each week. When children are ready at the juniors, they move onto Accelerated reader, this allows children to read a variety of books and take quizzes to test their knowledge and understanding of the book.

Reading for pleasure has become a key part of our weekly timetable. The teachers love igniting a passion for reading during these sessions and the children are enjoying learning more about different authors, exploring different types of texts including poems, instructions and stories and sharing their favourite books.

We also encourage reading for pleasure at home through our monthly bingo cards at the infants and our STAR reader and Accelerated reader incentives at the juniors.

If you have any questions about the English curriculum, please see Miss Bickley or Mrs Goulding

Subject Policies/Plans

Early reading at Kestrel Mead
Early writing at Kestrel Mead
List of texts studied
Phonics at Kestrel Mead
Reading Progression Map Yr2-6
Speaking and Listening Progression Map KMPA UPDATED
Writing Progression Map EYFS – YR1
Writing progression Year 1 to 6
Reading Progression Map EYFS – YR1

Subject Champion/s

Miss L Bickley & Mrs A Goulding