English consists of speaking and listening, reading and writing. Speaking and listening takes place across the curriculum every day and we encourage children to work in pairs or small groups using “talk for learning”. From an early age, children are provided with regular opportunities at St Helen’s to express their ideas clearly; this not only helps to develop confident speaking, but also consolidates learning.
There is a whole school approach to phonics and this is used to promote the development of reading along with developing reading for meaning through engagement with pictures and text. Daily phonic sessions take place where children learn to “segment” (break up words into sounds) and “blend” (put the sounds back together). The school follows the Letters and Sounds programme for phonics.
Guided reading takes place regularly and all children are expected to read at home on a daily basis, regardless of age or reading ability. Children are encouraged to read on a daily basis and in doing so can work towards achieving Star Reader Award. Children are assessed in their reading age and placed on the most appropriate reading band where they will read books from the Oxford Reading Tree and Collins.
St Helen’s has adopted a “cursive” handwriting style to encourage fluency when writing creatively and to support spelling skills.