At Riverside Academy we place language and literacy at the heart of our curriculum. It underpins the learning of all our children and is the key to their future when they will need to communicate effectively in every area of their lives. We encourage the children to speak articulately as well as to listen, and strive to instil a love of books, which will in turn support them as writers.
We have updated our teaching of English, to be in line with the new National Curriculum and we follow the programmes of study as set out in the Key Stage 1 and 2 framework document.
From the earliest years in school, the children work and play in a text rich environment. Role play areas in foundation stage and Key Stage 1 encourage drama and imaginary games which promote children’s knowledge and use of ambitious vocabulary. Hot seating, debates and role plays are just some of the fun and interactive approaches we use to engage the children in lessons.
In Key Stage 1, daily phonics sessions, following the 'Letters and Sounds' programme, teach children how to decode and segment words in order for them to read and write more efficiently. In Key Stage 2, structured spelling sessions, following the new National Curriculum teach specific spelling patterns and encourage children to look for spelling rules. Weekly spellings are sent home, based on the spelling rule or pattern for that week.
The importance of reading cannot be underestimated as it is the tool by which children will learn in almost every other curriculum area. To enable all our students to reach their full potential in reading, it is taught specifically to small groups every day, ensuring that all children are given high quality reading sessions. We have invested in a large number of high quality class texts for each class to be the basis of our English teaching. In addition, each class has a shared chapter book, which is read aloud to the class at the end of each day whilst they follow the text in their own copy. Individual reading also takes place in every class at 12pm, allowing the children time to choose and enjoy a range of books. A key part of the children’s homework is regular reading at home. We encourage the children to read aloud with someone every day and to discuss the book.
Writing is a key skill on which significant emphasis is placed. The children all receive a daily English session where the focus is on specific skills (eg using complex sentences or selecting conjunctions) and children have regular opportunities to write with their teachers and TAs in small guided groups to allow them to gain confidence in their composition skills. Opportunities are always maximised to make cross curricular links and we give the children the chance to apply their skills in at least one extended piece per week.
We award one child per month in each year group with ‘Writer of the Month’ in order to promote the importance of the subject within their education. Winners are awarded with a pen of their choice and these are presented in a special celebration assembly every month.