Quick Links

Useful Links

Dartford Bridge Primary

English

Dartford Bridge Community Primary School recognises that teaching and learning in English is an essential part of the whole development of all children, including SEN and disadvantaged children, for their speaking, listening, reading and writing skills.

It enables them to express themselves creatively and imaginatively and to communicate effectively. The teaching of English is broken into three strands - Reading, Writing and Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar, with reading being the key to developing the other skills together with skills and knowledge development across all other curriculum subjects.

Our teaching and learning in English is intended to help mitigate the barriers to learning identified in the School Development Plan. Speaking and listening skills are encouraged at every opportunity through all lessons especially English and reading lessons. The expectation that any written work, including for topic work, is of the same standard as the writing in the children’s English books. Reading across the curriculum is also encouraged with topic related books being available in each class to help children relate their learning in English to learning in the foundation subjects.

At Dartford Bridge we aim that all pupils will leave Year 6 reading and writing with confidence, fluency and understanding, using a range of independent strategies to take responsibility for their own learning including monitoring and correcting their own errors; with a love of reading and a desire to read for enjoyment; with an interest in words and their meanings.

We teach English – both reading and writing - daily from Nursery to Year 6 and base the content of our curriculum on National Curriculum guidelines.

By connecting our British Values through the teaching of English, we explore issues that affect us all in our lives and this helps the children develop skills they will need to be effective citizens now and, in the future,?e.g.?tolerance and respect are modelled through debates and discussions.

Speaking and Listening

From the very beginning of their time in school, children are encouraged to develop their speaking and listening skills through role play, discussions and debates. These extend the children’s vocabulary, strengthening the connections with their learning in English, foundation subjects and maths. These communication skills are further developed through to the end of KS2 by class discussions, paired and group work about reading books and in all lessons.

Reading

All the pupils in the diverse DBCPS community, including SEN and disadvantaged pupils, will develop a lifelong love of reading throughout their time at DBCPS.  The curriculum will build on what children have learnt before and develop a passion to learn more in the future.  They will develop their reading and comprehension skills by reading engaging and exciting texts.  These texts will enable them to develop knowledge of themselves and the world around them and extend their vocabulary.  We encourage children to read at home regularly by providing appropriate level texts which are matched to their reading ability.

At DBCPS we aim:

  • To provide a literacy-rich environment, high-quality texts and inspiring learning opportunities.
  • To develop all children’s word reading and comprehension skills.
  • To encourage children to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction.
  • To develop vocabulary.
  • To encourage a love of learning.

We do this through:

  • Daily guided reading sessions in Year 2 to 6 with high quality texts
  • Daily RWI sessions in Reception to Year 2
  • Daily class story with high quality texts
  • Lexile scored class library in KS2
  • Children take home books matched to their phonic or reading level
  • Ensure children visit the school library regularly 
  • Regular book fairs
  • Book Week
  • Reading across the curriculum
  • Parent reading workshops
  • 100 read certificates
  • Reading assemblies
  • Library visits

The teaching of reading starts in EYFS. In Nursery, the children are encouraged to learn texts which are read repeatedly.  The nursery staff use nursery rhymes to build key vocabulary and phonic awareness.  The children engage in a language and print rich environment.  This enables children to make connections between sounds and letter symbols.

In Reception, the children have short, focused daily phonics sessions as part of the Read Write Inc (RWI) programme of systematic synthetic phonics. This continues throughout the year with children working in ability set groups from Term 2. Through children's own learning sessions, they are given the opportunity to practise the sounds they have learned through play. 

The RWI programme continues daily throughout KS1, with children working in small groups with a trained adult. As part of this programme children learn to read real and ‘alien’ words and to write the corresponding graphemes for each sound.  During these sessions, children also read quality texts using their phonic awareness which enables them to embed their learning.  The children work in small groups according to their confidence and competence.  These groups are reconfigured on a regular basis in order to match the pace and progress of each child.  These regular reconfigurations also allow class teachers to identify where 1:1 interventions may be required.

In Key Stage Two, if children have not completed the RWI programme, they work in small intervention groups or one-to-one with an adult in order to close the gap.

Throughout the school, from Y2 to Y6, there are daily reading lessons which aim to develop the children's reading skills in all areas - decoding the text, understanding word meanings from context and comprehension including inference skills. Texts are chosen at a level appropriate for the majority of the class with provision being made for children with additional needs.

In order to further develop a love of reading, all children are read to daily in a timetabled session. Books are chosen for interest and to address the needs of the class and are often beyond the actual reading ability of some of the class. Books are also available in the classrooms that specifically connect to the current foundation subject topics and these are displayed so that children are encouraged to read them and develop their knowledge and understanding of the topic.

Reading at Home

  • Home reading is strongly encouraged and parent meetings and letters keep parents and carers informed of the school’s expectations and provision.  
  • Home readers are banded so that children are given books that match their phonic knowledge which will enable them to read with confidence.  They are also expected to reread them and become familiar with them.
  • In KS1, children take home a banded book and a library book of their own choice. The library book is a book that parents can share with their child. They also take home the RWI book which they have been reading in their RWI group.
  • In KS2, children take home a banded book or an appropriate Lexile rated book and can choose another book from the school library which can be shared at home with parents. In this way, independent reading at home is a manageable challenge and is supplemented with other books to increase the enjoyment of reading a wider range of texts.

All children from Year 2 to 6 have a Scholastic Reading Pro account. Three times a year they sit a Reading Pro test which assesses the child’s decoding and comprehension skills in a series of differentiated questions. At the end of the test, each child receives a Lexile score and this will enable them to create a personalised reading list of texts which interest them. These texts are available either as a physical book or online eBook in the Scholastic Library. Once read, there is a quiz which checks the child’s comprehension.  Staff are also able to assign books of interest to each child.

Writing

At DBCPS we prioritise the progression of knowledge of language, it's forms, usage and grammar and vocabulary to developer children as successful and confident communicators across the curriculum.

At DBCPS we aim:

  • To provide a language -rich environment with high quality texts and core stimuli inspiring learning opportunities.
  • To develop fluent writers who can express their thoughts and ideas imaginatively to a range of audiences.
  • To embed ambitious vocabulary so that it can be used to communicate effectively and imaginatively for different purposes
  • To encourage real life writing opportunities through poetry day, book week, author visits and theme weeks
  • To secure high expectations through developing a range of writing styles
  • To develop all children’s handwriting, spelling, grammar and punctuation skills

We do this through:

  • Daily SPAG and spelling sessions from Year 2 to Year 6 making use of Spelling Shed
  • Daily RWI sessions in Reception to Year 2
  • Daily English lessons
  • Daily handwriting sessions in KS1 and LKS2
  • Dictation and Transcription sessions across the school related to RWI in KS1 and grammar and spelling knowledge in LKS2 and UKS2
  • Whole school texts, core stimuli such as film clips, images and picture books
  • Modelled and shared writing experiences
  • Exposure to different writing genres
  • Making connections to our wider curriculum topics
  • Developing the writing process through drafting, editing, up levelling, redrafting and publishing
  • Recognising features of different genres.
  • Using talk partners for peer and self-assessment

At DBCPS, teachers promote writing and look for ways to inspire and motivate pupils so that they all see themselves as 'writers'. Teachers establish the purpose and audience for writing and make teaching objectives explicit to pupils so they know why they are studying a particular text type, the kind of writing activities they need to undertake and what the expected outcome will be. 

Initially, our EYFS children will begin to discriminate between the marks that they make. Following this, our children have opportunities to talk and ascribe meanings to marks that they see in different places supported by the systematic phonics programme. By the end of their journey through the early years, our children will use their phonic knowledge to write words in ways which match their spoken sounds. They will being to write simple sentences which can be read by themselves and others and spell some words correctly and others are phonetically plausible.

As our pupils move into Year 1, they use developing skills to encode the sounds they hear in words (spelling skills), develop the physical skill needed for handwriting and transcription, and learn how to organise their ideas in writing. Alongside this, pupils will develop their vocabulary and understanding of grammar, as well as their ability to spell by encoding using a rigorous and systematic phonics programme.

In Year 2, our children begin to compose individual sentences orally and then write them down. They will learn to spell many words outlined in the English Curriculum (appendix 1) and make phonetically plausible attempts to spell words they have not yet learnt. Our children will continue to learn spelling patterns through a systematic programme – in line with expectations - to support their written work. In addition, as they progress through the year, they will learn to form individual letters correctly, establishing good handwriting habits from the beginning. 

During their learning journey, our children in Year 3 and 4 will experience a wide range of writing opportunities to develop their understanding of writing for a purpose and an audience by publishing their work. Our pupils will learn to write down their ideas with a growing degree of accuracy and good sentence punctuation. As they explore different genres, they will consolidate prior writing skills, vocabulary, their grasp of sentence structure and their knowledge of linguistic terminology from their prior learning. To develop as writers, they will have opportunities to enhance the effectiveness of what they write through editing and redrafting in collaboration with teachers and peers. As pupils’ spelling of common words advance, they will become more accurate and include words that they have learnt.  Using their phonic knowledge and other knowledge of spelling, such as morphology and etymology, our children will learn to spell as accurately as possible and apply this within their writing. In addition, they will learn new spelling patterns to continue to build on the early foundations of spelling and use proofreading as a tool to check and correct their choices. 

Their journey in writing is designed to build on prior learning, and this is supplemented with the more varied grammar, vocabulary and narrative structures from which they can draw to express their ideas. These structures and conventions of writing (drawn from statutory expectations in the National Curriculum) are underpinned with robust, carefully structured grammar learning, which they will begin to apply across a range of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and playscript writing. Furthermore, as they progress through Year 3 and 4, our children will become more familiar with, and confident in using, language in a greater variety of situations, for a variety of audiences and purposes, including through drama, formal presentations and debate. Our pupils continue to develop and apply their learning of joined handwriting to increase their pace, fluency and stamina for writing.  

As they start their journey into Year 5 and 6, our pupils will learn to write down their ideas with increasing pace. The structures and conventions of writing from lower key stage two will be built upon so our pupils learn the key grammatical structures to support the development of more sophisticated sentence structures, language choices and punctuation use to produce high quality written outcomes that cover a range of writing genres. Their grammar and punctuation – in line with age related expectations - will become broadly accurate. By using the spelling knowledge and strategies that they have learned so far, our children will be able to spell with increasing accuracy as they progress through this final phase of primary school. They will confidently use and apply many spelling strategies to independently proofread their writing including morphology, etymology, patterns and tools such as dictionaries, peers and additional resources. 

The curriculum emphasis will be on pupils’ enjoyment and understanding of language, especially vocabulary, to support their writing. Over the two years, knowledge of language, plot and organisational structures - gained from stories, plays, poetry, non-fiction and textbooks - will support their development as writers. Building on lower key stage 2, pupils will learn to enhance the effectiveness of their writing through the sharing, editing and evaluation of their compositions. Further publishing opportunities, using a range of media, will give meaningful purpose and audience to their writing. 

In their time at DBCPS our children will be supported to develop as confident, independent writers. They will learn to use the skills, knowledge and understanding, across the key principles, to produce well thought out pieces of writing in a range of styles, contexts and genres in English and across the wider curriculum 

In direct reference to National Curriculum and Ofsted expectations, we will ensure that: 

  • Pupils acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for writing 
  • Pupils appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage and apply ideas gathered from their wider reading to their writing. 
  • Pupils write clearly, accurately and coherently, adapting their language and style in and for a range of contexts, purposes and audiences 
  • Teachers and teaching assistants provide extra practise through the day for the children who make the slowest progress (the lowest 20%) through responsive and scheduled interventions 
  • Teachers instil in children a love of writing through fiction, non-fiction and poems 

Phonics

At DBCPS we follow the Read Write Inc Phonics programme.

The Read Write Inc. Phonics Programme

Learning to read is the most important thing your child will learn at our school. Everything else depends on it, so we put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible. 

We want your child to love reading - and to want to read for themselves. This is why we put our efforts into making sure they develop a love of books as well as simply learning to read. 

How will my child be taught to read?

We start by teaching phonics to the children in the Reception class. This means that they learn how to 'read' the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down. This is essential for reading, but it also helps children learn to spell well. We teach the children simple ways of remembering these sounds and letters. Ask them to show you what these are.

The children also practise reading (and spelling) what we call 'tricky words', such as 'once', 'have', 'said' and 'where'.

The children practise their reading with books that match the phonics and the 'tricky words' they know. They start thinking that they can read and this does wonders for their confidence. 

The teachers read to the children, too, so the children get to know all sorts of stories, poetry and information books. They learn many more words this way and it also helps their writing.

The following link explains how the programme is structured and the expectations for each year group from Nursery to Year 2: https://home.oxfordowl.co.uk/reading/reading-schemes-oxford-levels/read-write-inc-phonics-guide/ 

How will I know how well my child is doing?

We will always let you know how well your child is doing. 

We use various ways to find out how your child is getting on in reading. We use the information to decide what reading group they should be in. Your child will work with children who are at the same reading level as him or her. Children will move to a different group if they are making faster progress than the others. Your child will have one-to-one support if we think he or she needs some extra help to keep up.

We also use a reading test so that we can make sure that all our children are at the level they should be for their age compared to all the children across the country. 

In the summer term, the government asks us to do a phonics check of all the Year 1 children. That gives us extra information about their progress. We will talk to you about how well your child has done, and especially if we have any worries at all.

The RWI programme prepares our children for the Phonics Screening Check at the end of Year 1 as well as providing a solid basis for children to build on. Below is a short video that will explain what the Phonics Screening Check is, how it is administered and why it is useful:

How long will it take to learn to read well?

By the end of Year 2, your child should be able to read aloud books that are at the right level for his or her age. In Year 3 we concentrate more on helping children to understand what they are reading, although this work begins very early on. This happens when the teacher reads to the children and also when the children read their own story book.

How do I know the teaching will be good?

All the staff have been trained to teach reading in the way we do it in this school. We believe that it is very important that all the teachers and teaching assistants work in the same way. Senior teachers watch other teachers teaching to make sure that the children are learning how we want them to learn.

If you are worried about the teaching or you have any questions, please come to school and talk to us.

What can I do to help? Is there anything that I shouldn’t do?

You will be invited to a meeting so that we can explain how we teach reading. Please come and support your child. We would very much like you to know how to help.

Your child will bring different sorts of books home from school. It helps if you know whether this is a book that your child can read on their own or whether this is a book that you should read to them. The teacher will have explained which is which. Please trust your child’s teacher to choose the book(s) that will help your child the most.

Help your child to sound out the letters in words and then to ‘push’ the sounds together to make a whole word. Try not to refer to the letters by their names. Help your child to focus on the sounds. You can hear how to say the sounds correctly by searching on YouTube for ‘Read Write Inc. Phonemes Pronunciation Guide’

Sometimes your child might bring home a picture book that they know well. Please don’t say, ‘This is too easy.’ Instead, encourage your child to tell you the story out loud; ask them questions about things that happen or what they think about some of the characters in the story.

We know parents and carers are very busy people. But if you can find time to read to your child as much as possible, it helps him or her to learn about books and stories. They also learn new words and what they mean. Show that you are interested in reading yourself and talk about reading as a family.

Does it matter if my child misses a lesson or two?

It matters a lot if your child misses school. The way we teach children to read is very well organised, so even one missed lesson means that your child has not learnt something that they need to know to be a good reader.

What if he or she finds it difficult to learn to read?

We want children to learn to read, however long it takes us to teach them. We will find out very quickly if your child is finding reading difficult. First, we move children to a different group, so that we can make sure that they have learnt what they need to know. If they still struggle, we give them extra time with an adult, on their own. These adults are specially trained to support these children. Your child will still be in the same group with the other children and won’t miss out on any of the class lessons.

If we have any serious worries about your child’s reading, we will talk to you about this.
Some children take a bit longer to learn to put sounds together to read a word, e.g. c-a-t to make the word ‘cat’. At our meeting, we will explain how you can help your child to do this.

What if my child turns out to be dyslexic?

The way we teach reading is especially helpful for children who might be dyslexic. This is because we use a very well-organised programme that has a strong focus on phonics. This is very important for children who find learning to read difficult. If you are worried about your child, please come and talk to us.

My child has difficulty pronouncing some sounds. Will this stop him learning to read through phonics?

This isn’t a problem for learning to read as long as we know what sound the child is trying to say. This is not something to worry about. Many children have a few sounds that they can hear clearly but find it difficult to say, particularly the l-sound, r-sound, w-sound, th-sound, s-sound, sh-sound and j-sound. Often they say a t-sound for the c-sound; “tttssh” for the s-sound; “w” for the r-sound and “r” for the l-sound. You can help your child by encouraging him or her to look at your mouth when you say the sound. Whatever you do, do not make your child feel a failure. They can easily learn to read, even if they find one or two sounds difficult to say.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any concerns. We are here to help.

Spelling

Our spelling lessons use the Spelling Shed programme that follows clear patterns to aid understanding. Throughout KS2, a spelling pattern or new letter sounds are introduced and relevant spellings are taught, e.g. through studying the orthography (how patterns of letters are used to make certain spoken sounds in a language, morphology (how words are structured into subcomponents to give meaning) and etymology (the origin of words, which can lead to certain patterns of spelling). Further information can be found using the following link:

Spelling Shed Scheme Information

Key word banks, high frequency words, dictionaries and topic related vocabulary resources scaffold children as necessary. When marking, spellings are identified by teachers and support staff using an agreed code.

Handwriting

At DBCPS we want our children to develop a neat, fluent handwriting script therefore in Reception and KS1 children learn to print each letter of the alphabet using the correct formation, size and position. We then introduce the continuous cursive script from Year 3. There are many advantages to learning this style of handwriting including:

  • As Continuous Cursive letters naturally join, children only have to learn this one font for lower case handwriting.
  • Continuous Cursive letters flow rhythmically from left to right, aiding the speed and fluidity of the writing.
  • The starting and finishing points for all Continuous Cursive letters are easier to remember (they all start on the line and, other than a few exceptions, all finish on the line), which can be especially helpful for children with specific learning difficulties.
  • Teaching Continuous Cursive letters in family groups reinforces the shapes and directional pushes and pulls of the pencil needed to handwrite and can limit letter reversal issues, such as b & d.
  • The transition to joined writing is simple and occurs sooner, allowing children to concentrate on the composition of the writing, because they no longer have to think about how to form the letters.
  • Words are written in one set of movements, without the pen being taken off the paper, helping the motor memory store spellings. This is especially important for those irregular spellings which so many children find hard to commit to memory.

When assessing the quality of a child’s handwriting we look for the following points:

  • Correctly formed and orientated letters including lower and upper case letters and digits.
  • Letters positioned correctly on the line with clear ascenders and descenders.
  • Consistent size and spacing of letters and words.
  • Joined fluent style.

As children develop their own handwriting style, they will naturally adapt their letter style. 

Useful Websites

Phonics

Reading

Writing

Handwriting

SPAG

General