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Gothic Mede Academy

English

STOP PRESS: For World Book Day on 3rd March, Andy Huxtable - author of the Charlie Ant series will be coming to GMA to lead writing workshops for our pupils.

This month we invite all children to enter a competition to design a new character for his next Charlie Ant book. Click here for the chance to win £100, signed copies of the books and your character in print!

At Gothic Mede, English is at the heart of our curriculum. By becoming confident speakers, readers and writers, children have the opportunity to participate fully in all areas of the curriculum and strong foundations are set for success in communication and learning in adult life.

Through our text-based English curriculum, children are taught to understand and appreciate a range of different text types, as well as developing their cultural, emotional and social understanding. Our curriculum provides opportunities for children to develop their writing, speaking and listening skills by widening their vocabulary, developing sentence structure and ensuring children have a secure phonics knowledge.

Reading and phonics

Reading is at the forefront of all areas of our curriculum. We share a passion, enjoyment and enthusiasm for reading to ensure that all children are inspired and choose to read for pleasure. Our reading curriculum aims to promote a lifelong love of reading by ensuring that children’s reading fluency is developed early so that they can quickly move from learning to read to reading to learn.

Phonics is given high priority at Gothic Mede Academy, with children engaging in Phonics sessions, following the Essential Letters and Sounds programme, from the beginning of their time in our Reception Class. In Nursery, children are introduced to phase one environmental sounds and children who are ready in the summer term are exposed to phase 2 sounds. All children in Reception and Year 1 take part in whole class daily phonics sessions. Planning and teaching follow the Essential Letters and Sounds model (introduced in September 2021) in order to provide a consistently high level of delivery. The aim of the scheme is to minimise cognitive overload whilst giving children the opportunity to practise and overlearn sounds. Repetition and fidelity of sound production are paramount. Click here to view the term-by-term progression in Essential Letters and Sounds.

All classes and pupils have access to Oxford Owl e-library as well as our Reading Scheme books and can therefore read books exactly matched to their level of phonics acquisition.

Reading books from our reading scheme/e-library

We have a beautiful library where children can relax and enjoy a wealth of fiction and non-fiction books. Classes visit the library fortnightly and children learn how to take care of the library area, look for and put away the books that they borrow.

All classes have whole class guided reading at least three times a week. During these lessons children explore a wide range of texts improving not only the fluency of their reading but also their comprehension and analysis skills.

Writing

Our curriculum follows a book-based English curriculum. This approach follows Pie Corbett's Principles for teaching - children are immersed in a text over a 3-week period during which time they familiarise themselves with the structure, vocabulary and style of the text (imitate stage) before changing aspects of the text to create a class text (innovate stage) and finally an independent piece of writing based on the original text (invent stage).

Here are some examples of the texts that we study.

Year one texts:

 

 

 

 

Year two texts:

  

Year three texts:

   

Year four texts:

    

Handwriting

Handwriting is taught systematically from Nursery to Year 4. In Early Years and year one we teach children to form print letters correctly, using mnemonics and rhymes to help them with the correct formation. In year two children are introduced to exit flicks which will allow them to start cursive handwriting. Cursive handwriting continues to be taught in years three and four until it becomes the norm in writing across the curriculum and children have developed a fluid, legible style of joined-up writing. We use Letterjoin to support our teaching of handwriting. Children can practise their writing using Letterjoin at home on PCs, tablets and ipads.

For our youngest pupils we aim for two to three weekly sessions totalling 30 to 45 minutes that will include the following;

• Movements to enhance gross motor skills such as air-writing, pattern making, dancing.

• Exercises to develop fine motor skills such as making marks on paper, whiteboards, blackboards, sand trays, iPads and tablets.

• Letter learning to familiarise letter shapes, formation and vocabulary.

In years one to four, children continue with two or three weekly sessions totalling 30 to 45 minutes covering:

• Gross and fine motor skills exercises.

• Cursive handwriting reinforcement, learning and practice.

• Numerals, capitals and printed letters: where and when to use, learning and practice.

Children are taught to sit correctly at a table and tripod pencil grip is modelled and encouraged to ensure comfortable and controlled handwriting. Left-handed children are shown alternative ways to position their paper and hold their pencils.