Understanding English, Communication and Language
What does English, Communication and Language look like at the Coastal Together Federation?
At the Coastal Together Federation we recognise the importance that English plays in our children’s lives. English is the door to the curriculum, without it our children could miss further opportunities with their learning. Reading and high quality texts are at the heart of what we do. Our children’s academic progress is enhanced with a rich and demanding sequence of learning which is based around books to inspire and deepen their understanding. We want our children to be confident and creative writers who are not afraid to make mistakes. We want them to be independent and fluent readers and enjoy reading books for pleasure.
Our English curriculum focuses on the use of ambitious vocabulary which is intertwined into our foundation subjects to ensure deepened knowledge and understanding. We aim for our children to develop positive attitudes towards different cultures and languages across the World. This is done through the teaching of languages and through a range of stories from every part of the globe.
How do we teach and enhance children's knowledge in English, Communication and Languages?
We base all our English planning on high quality texts, this can be stories, poetry and non-fiction. By using these texts it enables the children to produce high quality work. Our English curriculum also includes phonics sessions which are the building blocks to the entire curriculum. We encourage the children to develop a love of reading and writing through events such as World Book Day, topic days and trips. In all our schools there are well stocked libraries that the children enjoy exploring. Staff also share their love of a range of books with the children in different ways including reading assemblies and class books.
In Modern Foreign Languages, our children are introduced to French and Spanish in a fun, interactive way to in still enjoyment. Children will reflect on the similarities and differences between these languages and English.
What is the impact of English, Communication and Language at the Coastal Together Federation?
By the end of KS1 our children have gained the confidence and knowledge to read books independently. Their phonetic knowledge helps them develop an enjoyment of reading and writing which is carried on into KS2.
By the end of KS2 our children are effective communicators and are able to write confidently for a wide range of purposes and contexts. Our children are readily prepared for their transition for secondary school and can use their skills to progress with their studies.
How do we ensure coverage and progression in English, Communication and Language?
Our English sequences are taught through a range of texts that link to the wider curriculum. These texts cover a range of genres including fiction, non-fiction and poetry. We have seen a huge improvement in our children's vocabulary, knowledge and understanding through having a fully combined curriculum. The progression across year groups is tracked using writing books which are passed up each year. Children are assessed using assessment grids to check they are using the expected punctuation, grammar and spelling for that year group.
We have seen a rise in our children's love of reading and words. Our children are inquisitive and explore language because they are confident with the words they are using. They have enhanced vocabulary because of this.
Parent Help and Support
Spelling, punctuation, and grammar - often called SPaG in schools - are crucial building blocks for children learning to speak, write, and listen. Having a good knowledge of grammar allows your child to communicate their ideas and feelings, and helps them choose the right language for any situation. By the end of primary school, your child will be expected to understand and be able to use all the grammar and punctuation set out in the National Curriculum. Some grammar words, like fronted adverbial and blending, can seem a bit daunting, but children will learn to use these types of words automatically from their reading and speaking - the tricky part is being able to recognise them. Your child will be informally tested on spelling, grammar, and punctuation by their teacher throughout their time at school. There is also an optional national test in Year 2, and a compulsory national test in May of Year 6. There are a variety of simple things you can do at home to support your child's developing grammar and punctuation skills.
Reading at Home
It is really important to make sure your child is reading at home. Not only will it help your child learn to enjoy reading but it will help build their comprehension skills, and help them to become confident life-long readers themselves. We know our children benefit from listening to books that they can't read themselves yet. Reading bedtime stories each night will open your child up to new worlds, adventurous language and ideas that they might not have encountered in their independent reading yet. Asking your child questions is a crucial step in helping them develop their comprehension. Use our reading comprehension question starters to help you.
What if my child is struggling to read?
We know lots of parents worry about their child's reading. We are here to help and understand it can often be a frustrating and confusing time for all! When you hear the playground chat about how well another child is doing with their reading, it's easy to feel that your child might be getting left behind. However, it's important to remember that reading isn't a race. Being a good reader might be the finishing line, but children get there in many different ways and at different speeds.
Many very clever children come late to reading or may struggle with it for a long time. It is not cause for concern if your four- or five-year-old is not yet reading, but you can give them a boost at home where necessary, through activities that focus on fun. Talk to your child's teacher about what your child is doing at school and how you can support this at home. If your child is not reading by the time they are six, you might want to ask advice from their teacher and see what support can be put in at school. But it is important to know that there is every chance your child will catch up soon.
Is my child a struggling or a reluctant reader?
There are two main types of worry that parents have about their child's reading. You may have noticed that your child doesn't seem interested in picking up a book. When they do try, they seem to be able to read the words quite well - it's just that they don't want to.
We call this group of children reluctant readers. The trick is to switch them on to reading by using their interests: magazines about computer games, books about dinosaurs, instructions on how to build a model, comics and adventure stories - whatever works.
The second type of worry parents have is when their child just can't seem to remember the sounds of letters or remember common words - like the word 'the' or 'come' - from one day to the next. Reading is a slow and painful struggle, distressing for your child and distressing for you to watch. We can call these children struggling readers.
If you are worried, the best thing to do is to talk to your child's class teacher. They can set your mind at rest if they think your child is making good progress, or they can talk you through plans to help if they think your child needs more support. Do tell the teacher if there is any history of reading or spelling problems in the family, as this will help them make a decision about whether or not your child may need extra help.
If you're still not sure, the best thing to do is agree a timeframe with the teacher - a period after which you'll meet up again to see how your child is getting on.