At Fairfields, we believe that English is a vital part of a child’s education. We want our children to become resilient, independent learners with a passion for reading that they will carry forward into their later lives. We aim to inspire an appreciation of our rich and varied literary heritage and a habit of reading widely and often. We want to develop a culture where children take pride in their writing, write clearly and accurately and adapt their language and style for a range of contexts. We want to inspire children to be confident in the art of speaking and listening, and to be able to use discussion to communicate and further their learning.
Follow the links below to learn more about how we teach English here at Fairfields, as well as how best to support your child.
We aim for our English curriculum to give children a broad, varied learning experience, allowing them to build both their knowledge and their creativity and appreciation of literature. The children read a wide variety of books and stories throughout their time at Fairfields, classic fairy tales and traditional tales in EYFS and Key Stage 1 to classic novels and great modern classics in Key Stage 2. We want our children to love reading and believe that to do this it is important to experience and share fantastic examples from our literary heritage, studying whole texts wherever possible.
Within our English lessons, children will study high-quality texts, reading aloud and developing comprehension skills. As they move through the school, the children will study a wide range of text types and genres. See the text type progression for Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2.
In Key Stage 2, the children study a wide variety of class novels to allow them to access our rich and varied literary heritage and develop a love of reading. We will read through the novels together, as well as exploring the characters and events in our lesson work. We produce pieces of writing based on the texts as well as performing sections aloud.
From Reception through to Year 6, all of our children take part in regular guided reading sessions, looking in detail at a wide variety of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Guided Reading sessions are a great opportunity to build confidence with reading aloud, reinforce comprehension strategies and discuss a text in more detail.
We expect every child at Fairfields to be reading every day. Each child has a reading record book and will bring home books from our school reading scheme as well as a library book. It is really important for your child’s progress and development that they are heard read regularly.
You can support their reading by:
- helping them to sound out words
- discussing the meaning of any unfamiliar words
- talking about characters and the decisions they make within the text
- asking questions about events that have happened
- asking their opinion about the book
The Reading Record book is a key way to share progress with the school.
Once they have completed the school reading scheme, children move on to Free Reading, where they are able to choose the books that they are reading. The Free Reading Challenge aims to encourage the children to choose a diverse, challenging range of texts to keep expanding their reading horizons.
The children also complete their own ‘Reading Passport’, recording all of the books they read on top of their school reading book. Once they complete each passport, it is sent to Mr Gaidoni to celebrate all of the fantastic reading happening at Fairfields.
At Fairfields, we are very lucky to have an incredible library that all children visit regularly. All year groups can borrow a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction books – there is something for everyone!
Take a look around our library – how many book characters can you spot?
Search our online library catalogue
Our library was opened on World Book Day in 2017 by the famous author and illustrator, James Mayhew.
He has written a series of books about a girl called Katie, who explores famous paintings by climbing inside them. Have you read any of his books? You can find lots of them in our school library!
Every year we celebrate World Book Day, looking at books together and celebrating our love of reading. We have dressed up, read together, written stories and even held our own ‘Masked Reader’ competition!
We have reading buddies, with Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 classes coming together to read stories together, and we have had lots of reading events with parents and other adults coming in to school to share books with the children.
Our online school library on Google Classroom features members of staff from throughout the school sharing stories, which all children can access. We hope you enjoy listening to the stories as much as we enjoyed reading them!
We also want to highlight the importance of spoken language, giving the children regular opportunities to develop their fluency and expression. We offer children the chance to perform productions in all Key Stages, and also watch live productions both in and out of school, for example, the school coming together to watch a pantomime each year. In Year 6, our children take part in a workshop learning about a Shakespeare play before having the opportunity to see a professional theatre company perform the play in a local theatre.
What is phonics?
Phonics is an important first step in learning to read. It helps children hear, identify and use different sounds that distinguish one word from another in the English language. Phonemes are the individual units of sound within a word, whereas graphemes are the letters used to make those sounds. There may be more than one way of making a particular sound, for example the ‘ay’ sound in ‘tray’ and ‘plate’.
At Fairfields, we follow the Letters and Sounds handbook as the basis for our phonics teaching. Within phonics sessions, children will be taught how to:
- recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes
- identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make such as ‘sh’ or ‘oo’
- blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word
Children can then use this knowledge to ‘de-code’ new words that they hear or see.
Daily phonics sessions take place in Nursery, Reception and Year 1. As the children move into Year 2, when appropriate this focus moves on to spelling, applying their phonics knowledge to make decisions about how specific words are spelt.
Here are some videos giving extra guidance and information about learning phonics.
If you would like to know more about the phonics that your child will be learning, here are links to some Youtube lessons funded the Department for Education to support phonics learning.
Our English lessons are based around high-quality texts. Within each year group, children will explore the text, considering the author’s use of language; how a text is organised and the key features of the genre. They will then have the opportunity to practise using applying these in their own pieces of writing.
Writing is a crucial skill developed and used not only in English lessons but across the curriculum as a whole. We aim to give the children the opportunity to explore a wide variety of genres of writing throughout their time at Fairfields.
See our text type progression to see the genres and text types the children will cover during their time at Fairfields.
In Nursery, Reception and Year 1, the children will learn phonics, linking sounds to letters to begin to be able to both read and write an increasingly wide range of words. As they move forward through Key Stage 1 and into Key Stage 2, the children will move on to focusing on spelling: making choices about which graphemes (groups of letters) to use to spell words accurately. They will also have to learn a number of tricky or high-frequency words that are not phonically regular.
Explore the high-frequency and tricky words that your child will cover within the phonics phases.
In Key Stage 2, the objectives for spelling cover two years at a time. Lower Key Stage 2 (Years 3 and 4) and Upper Key Stage 2 (Years 5 and 6) will cover a series of spelling rules, alongside learning a list of statutory words. The lists are a mixture of words pupils frequently use in their writing and those which they often misspell. Some of the words may can be quite challenging, so may be revisited to build confidence.
The National Curriculum for English sets out a clear progression of grammar, punctuation and spelling knowledge for children to cover during Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2. Throughout their time at Fairfields, the children will learn how to write and punctuate sentences, as well as how to use an increasingly wide range of grammatical techniques and punctuation. We link this in with our reading, looking at how authors use these techniques in their writing, both fiction and non-fiction.
Here at Fairfields, we follow the Nelson handwriting scheme. The children begin by looking at forming individual letters before moving on to joining letters together. As children move up through the school they develop their confidence and fluency. In Key Stage 2, children can earn their pen licence by demonstrating clear, consistent presentation and joining in their writing.