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Language is fundamental to the expression of thought and ideas and provides children with a richness of experience, which is fundamental to their understanding of the world. It is central to the way in which they communicate and a knowledge of language in all its variations, underpins all aspects of their learning.


The National Curriculum divides English into three areas:-


  1. Spoken language
  2. Reading (word reading and reading comprehension) - Link to parent Guide for Reading
  3. Writing
  4. Spelling, vocabulary, grammar and punctuation


Planning for English follows the content of the National Curriculum statutory requirements but many aspects have been extended by the school in order to enrich the children’s learning, with great emphasis being placed upon discussion and thinking skills.


Parents often enquire particularly about how the children are taught to read. Reading is a complex area of learning which continues throughout a child’s education, from the earliest recognition of words and sounds, to the advanced use of study and reference skills. We use a variety of teaching methods at Birchwood which encompass both phonic and word recognition skills.


All fiction books (both reading schemes and individual fiction) are colour coded according to their level of difficulty. These range from picture books with few words for the youngest readers, to more demanding texts and content for our older and more able children. They will read an increasing range of both fiction and non-fiction books.


The children also have complete access to classroom books and those in the school’s central library. As they progress through the school, their use of IT based research will increase and emphasis is placed upon helping them to learn how to become skilled in their evaluation of such written texts.


We appreciate the support which you, as parents, are able to give your children in this area of learning and your son and /or daughter will regularly bring books home to share with you. In KS2, these books will include a class text for each term which is linked to their WOW topic- a copy of this text is bought for each child using school funds.


Your children will be given many opportunities to write prose and poetry in response to a great variety of stimuli. A major event on the school calendar is our Poetry Day when children across the school learn and recite a poem of their choice. They will be taught from the very beginning of their time with us to develop ways in which they can use and present their ideas through writing.


Formal handwriting is taught and a great deal of positive emphasis is placed upon the presentation and accuracy of written work. If they are joining their handwriting consistently, children can be awarded with pen licences.


Opportunities are also created on a daily basis for the children to talk and express their ideas and learning through discussion. They are also expected to listen to and consider other people’s thoughts carefully and with respect.