English at Brightwell
"We are Readers, Writers and Speakers"
The elements that make up the English curriculum at Brightwell are the foundations of learning for all of our pupils. Reading, writing and spoken language skills are essential building blocks for learning.
Success in English allows our pupils to flourish as they read to gather information, acquire knowledge and of course for pleasure. Confident English skills enable children to articulate themselves, interact with others and communicate confidently.
Our aim is for all pupils at Brightwell School to be passionate about English and be able to use their literacy skills to achieve across the curriculum.
Phonics is taught daily for 20-30 minutes from the start of Reception and throughout Key Stage 1. The books that pupils read at home are closely matched to the learning in school so that they can consolidate their learning. Children read books a number of times to gain fluency.
Reading at Brightwell School
Reading for Pleasure
At Brightwell Primary School, we aim for our pupils to love reading and choose to do it often as something that brings them joy. For them to be able to lose themselves in a great novel, feeling what the characters feel and appreciating the craft of a skilful author. For books to bring them excitement, escapism, new ideas, a greater understanding of the world, security, hope and much more.
Reading for Purpose
Running alongside this, we enable our pupils to read proficiently - a skill that enables them to access a wide range of learning and supports their development across the curriculum.
How we teach reading
To enable our pupils to read for pleasure and purpose, we teach them how to decode words, read fluently, understand what they have read and make connections within and between texts; modelling at every stage. We scaffold their learning so they can discover the meaning and origin of new words, expand their vocabulary and enjoy using these words in their spoken and written work. To this end, reading is woven through our curriculum and is integral to all we do. The teaching of reading happens individually, in small groups, as a whole class and at home. Teachers are experts in children’s literature and their own enjoyment of reading inspires our pupils.
Vocabulary - Why does vocabulary matter and why is it a focus at Brightwell School?
"Language opens doors. It unlocks the world of reading and the imagination, the excitement of writing, the capacity to explore new subjects and releases our potential to learn and grow as an individual. In schools, it underpins progress, impacts on attainment throughout primary and secondary years, affects self-esteem and behaviour and plays a huge role in a child’s future life chances. Without enough language – a word gap – a child is seriously limited in their enjoyment of school and success beyond."
At Brightwell School, we explore the impact of words, the word choices we make, the purpose of these and the effect they can have on our audience. We also recognise that children join us with a wide range of vocabulary and so our teaching of vocabulary is ambitious for all.
How we teach vocabulary
- Explicitly teach words daily
- Through reading – all types
- Subject-specific vocabulary
- Etymology – the origin of a word and how its meaning has changed through history
- Morphology – how words are formed and their relationship to other words, their structure, roots, prefixes, suffixes, etc
Writing at Brightwell School
Being a confident writer is an ambition that we have for all pupils at Brightwell School. Whether they use that skill for the enjoyment of writing poetry or a story that others can enjoy, or writing a non-fiction text that informs others in some way, writing confidently is essential for their future success.
We recognise the complexities of writing, particularly in the early years of our school, and our writing teaching focuses on developing the skills needed for pupils to be able to write fluently, confidently and for a purpose. With a strong focus on developing vocabulary, our teaching of writing encourages pupils to compose pieces of writing across different text types, with their audience in mind. They explore and unpick genres in order to identify key features, the impact that these have and then make use of them in their own writing. The vocabulary choices are consciously made, considering the accessibility of their audience and the impact that they will have.
Pupils are taught how to organise their writing for best effect and to use correct grammar and punctuation. In transcription, phonics underpins early writing and spelling, while handwriting fluency developed across the years enables pupils to write with ease and be able to communicate their ideas.
At Brightwell School, the children learn a range of stories each year and these are drawn from across the 7 types of story plot. Learning stories orally encourages our pupils to become confident with story language, try out adventurous and new vocabulary, and consider how to structure a story effectively. Our storytelling sequences of lessons develop from oral storytelling to drama and other activities to aid comprehension, which is then followed by planning, drafting and writing a story.
Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar
Teachers in all year groups from Year 1 to Year 6 teach grammar, punctuation and spelling on a daily basis. In addition to discrete teaching, SPAG will also be practised within a writing context so that it can be applied effectively. This supports children's reading and writing.
Please see our Curriculum Overviews on the class pages for further details of what the children are learning.