English unites the important skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening as well as opening the door to the world of the written word. The ability to question and communicate are key to both learning and life in general and are encouraged from the first day in Reception.
Reading and writing are taught through a range of methods, including phonics, and activities are linked to the theme for the term. Children start with books without words to encourage them to use picture cues, make predictions and discuss the characters and what they may be thinking and feeling. They then progress at their own pace until they can read for both meaning and enjoyment viewing books as a pleasure and not a chore. There are opportunities for reading both independently and with an adult throughout the school day and books are taken home to share with the family. As reading skills progress, guided reading sessions help children to develop more sophisticated skills such as inference and prediction.
A cursive script is taught from the beginning of Reception with emphasis on correct pencil grip and letter formation. This makes joining their handwriting a much simpler task when it begins formally in Year 1.
Children are encouraged to use their knowledge of phonetic spellings in the early stages of writing so that what they can record is not limited to what they can spell. This process is refined as they learn ‘tricky words’ which do not follow phonic rules.
Skills are developed and scaffolded explicitly while working on tasks linked to the creative curriculum themes making the learning experiences much richer and more varied. Children have the opportunity to write in different genres and for different audiences for example letter writing home as an evacuee, play scripts for the Christmas Production, creative writing and persuasive writing in preparation for a balloon debate: this gives writing a purpose and makes it relevant.