The National Curriculum for English states that all children should leave primary school able to, “write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences.” At The Lea, we have organised our English curriculum to ensure that pupils have every opportunity of achieving this.
Our approach to the teaching of writing
As it is a core subject, English is taught daily in each class. Lessons are planned so that they build on each other in small, sequential steps, ensuring that children fully understand and develop the skills they are being taught.
We use a ‘book based’ approach to teaching English. We have carefully chosen a range of high quality and engaging texts for each year group and these are used as a basis for teaching the skills outlined in the National Curriculum. Teachers also use these books to give the children plenty of opportunities to write stories, reviews, reports, letters, diary entries and many other writing genres.
Grammar, punctuation and spelling
Grammar and Punctuation skills are taught in English lessons and follow the objectives in the National Curriculum. Children will learn about word types, tenses, punctuation and sentence construction. When pupils are familiar with a concept, they are given opportunities to apply this in pieces of writing.
Spelling in Reception and Year 1 is taught mostly through their daily phonics lessons, but also in some English lessons. They will also begin learning how to spell some Common Exception Words. (These are High Frequency Words which cannot be spelt using phonics).
In Years 2-6 Key Stage 2, spelling is taught in discrete spelling lessons. Different spelling rules are taught each week and children are given opportunities throughout the week to practise this. The spelling of Common Exception Words continues to be taught in Year 2 and, as they move into Key Stage 2, children are expected to spell all High Frequency Words correctly. Words specified in the National Curriculum for Years 3/4 and Years 5/6 are also learnt.
We expect all children to take pride in their handwriting and general presentation of their work. Handwriting is taught throughout the school and we use the ‘Letter-join’ handwriting scheme to teach handwriting. This scheme can also be accessed from home for children to practise further.
In Early Years, children learn to hold a pencil correctly, make marks and follow patterns. In Reception they will also begin to learn correct letter formation, which incudes a ‘flick’ at the end.
In Key Stage 1, letter formation is developed further. Year 1 continue to focus on forming letters and numbers correctly and in Year 2 they are introduced to a cursive style of writing. By the end of Key Stage 1, we expect children to have begun joining their writing.
In Key Stage 2, specific joins are taught and pupils are expected to increase the speed, accuracy and legibility of their writing.
Every Time We Write
At The Lea, we expect pupils to use the basic skills of writing, that they have previously been taught, in all pieces of writing that they do (not just in English lessons). Each class has an ‘Every Time We Write’ list of four key skills which include spelling and handwriting. As the name suggests, these are skills that they must remember every time they write! These are displayed in the classrooms as a reminder and are regularly referred to by teachers.
How you can help at home
- Early years and KS1 – encourage children to hold their pencil correctly. Have a look at the document below to see how they can do this. Fine motor exercises are also great for encouraging strength and mobility, which help with holding a pencil. Suggested activities can be accessed below.
- Encourage children to write neatly on lined paper using a pencil. This really helps with good presentation of work.
- Look at the ‘Every Time We Write’ expectations below for your child’s year group and encourage them to follow this when writing at home. Use the word lists to help with spelling.
- If you have internet access, use Letter-join, our handwriting scheme. There are lots of fun activities that will help your child develop, and practise, a cursive style of handwriting. If you have mislaid the login details, please speak to your child’s teacher who should be able to help.
- When you listen to your child read, talk about new vocabulary and encourage them to use new words in any writing or Home Learning tasks that they do.
- Practise spellings at home – little and often is best.
- Every Time We Write
- First 100 High Frequency Words
- Next 200 High Frequency Words
- KS2 word lists
- Tripod pencil grip
- Fine motor exercises
- Cursive alphabet
- How to sit correctly when writing
- Spelling punctuation & grammar by year group
- English text list
- Common Exception Words Y1
- Common Exception Words Y2
- Look Cover Write Check – spellings https://www.ictgames.com/mobilePage/lcwc/index.html
- The Literacy Shed – stimulus for writing https://www.literacyshed.com/
- Top Marks KS1 – https://www.topmarks.co.uk/Interactive.aspx?cat=42
- Top Marks KS2 – https://www.topmarks.co.uk/Interactive.aspx?cat=47
- KS2 Grammar Punctuation Spelling – https://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/topics/zhrrd2p