English

Luton Infant and Nursery School has adopted the Talk for Writing approach for teaching English. Talk for Writing is a whole-school, cumulative approach to teaching writing that enables children to develop good speaking and listening skills and make rapid progress in writing whilst developing a love of literature and story-telling at the same time.  The English curriculum at Luton Infant and Nursery School is designed to engage even the most reluctant writer and to develop confident writers that are willing to take risks in order to produce engaging pieces of work.

Talk for Writing takes the children through a process that enables them to have access to high quality models for their writing in the form of stories, factual information and poetry, gives them the chance to develop their vocabulary bank over time, learn about grammar, punctuation and spelling (GPAS) and publish their own pieces of work for an agreed audience. Each unit of work is divided into three main parts:

Imitation: This is the chance to get to know a high quality text really well. The children learn the text and rehearse it using actions to aid memory, they discuss the text and answer comprehension questions about it, they discuss key words from the text and practise using them in different contexts (speed words), the engage in drama activities in order to gain a deeper understanding of situations and characters and they complete ‘short burst’ writing activities in response to the text.

Innovation: This part of the process uses shared writing to model the process of creating our own stories, information pieces or poems. The children are given scaffolds to aid them in creating their own piece of writing that is similar or based on the text explored during imitation. The writing process in segmented into small chunks throughout lessons to make the process well supported for even our youngest pupils and the children are encouraged to continually consider their choices around structure, word choice and GPAS in order to create texts that are engaging for the reader. Constant shared writing also develops writing habits within the class community of writers. Each year, new strategies and techniques are introduced, building on previous learning and giving children confidence as writers. 

Independent Application:  This is the opportunity for the children to engage in sustained writing tasks and allows them the independence to apply their new knowledge in a creative way. There is an emphasis during this part of the process on ‘having a go’ and then editing to improve. The children’s final pieces of work are then published in some way e.g. in a class book, displayed on the wall or published for display in the school library.

The English curriculum at Luton Infant and Nursery School is founded on the principle that teachers should increase the amount children read/are read to and establishing a very strong ‘literature spine’ which identifies key stories, picture books, poems and non-fiction which will be read and drawn upon and referred to when teaching writing. Over time, children gradually build their bank of well-known texts, supplemented by picture books, novels, poems and non-fiction books. Gradually this living library of language begins to equip the children with the words they need to express themselves. In the same way, the ability to manipulate that bank of texts increasingly enables children to create new versions and become inventive and experimental.

 

Reading

At Luton Infant and Nursery School we aim to:

  • Ensure every child is a reader
  • Develop a life-long love of literature and reading in every child
  • Immerse children in high quality literature

Learning takes place within literature rich environment that aims to use high quality texts to deepen children’s understanding throughout the curriculum. Each class has a stimulating and inviting book area that can be used to read for pleasure and choose from a wide range of stories, non-fiction texts, poetry and other sources of literature such as magazines.

The children receive regular Guided Reading sessions during which strategies for reading and comprehension are worked on. We also run many successful interventions that aid children in making rapid progress if they need a boost. These include Reading Recovery, Better Reading Stamina, Toe-by-Toe, Word Hornet and Talking Partners.

Help at home

We ask that parents listen to their children read their school reading book at least three times and week. More importantly, we encourage parents to read stories to their children and talk about what they have read.

 

Phonics

At Luton Infants School we follow the ‘Letters and Sounds’ scheme for phonics. If you would like to help your child at home with their phonics, there are lots of interactive resources available on the Phonics Play website (www.phonicsplay.co.uk). Below is an overview of the phonemes that we teach throughout Reception and Key Stage 1. If you have any further questions about how to help your child with phonics, do not hesitate to see your class teacher or Mrs Gamet (Phonics Co-ordinator).

 

Phonics Glossary for Parents

Blending

Children are taught to be able to blend. This is when children say the sounds that make up a word and are able to put the sounds together until they can hear what the word is. This skill is vital in learning to read. E.g. c - a - t  = cat

Segmenting

Children are also taught to segment. This is the opposite of blending. Children are able to say a word and then break it up into the phonemes that make it up. This skill is vital in being able to spell words. E.g. book = b – oo – k

Phonemes

Words are made up from small units of sound called phonemes. Phonics teaches children to be able to listen carefully and identify the phonemes that make up each word. This helps children to learn to read words and to spell words

Graphemes

Grapheme is a term to describe how each phoneme can look when it is written down. These sounds are taught in a particular order. The first sounds to be taught are s, a, t, p.

Digraph

 2 letters making one sound e.g. c-ow

Trigraph

 3 letters making one sound e.g. n-igh-t

Split digraphs

2 vowels with a consonant in between e.g. spine   - i_e 

And don’t forget to use Phonics Play!

 

Recommended Phonics Activities

If you are unsure how to correctly pronounce any of the sounds go to Mr. Thorne Does Phonics where you can watch videos of Mr. Thorne or his friend Geraldine the Giraffe teach the sound and discuss words including it. He also has apps for Android and Apple available.

http://www.youtube.com/user/breakthruchris

http://www.mrthorne.com/

 

Phonics Play

www.phonicsplay.co.uk

This is a very popular website we use regularly in our phonics lessons. The children will be familiar with the website and its games. Some of our favourite games are:

  • Flashcards
  • Buried Treasure
  • Dragons Den
  • Picnic on Pluto
  • Reading Robot

 

Twinkl Phonics App (available on apple and android devices).

This app includes lots of different sections covering phonic sounds, letter formation, high frequency words and games such as buried treasure and matching games.

 

Alphablocks

This is not a website we have used in class but it involves interactive videos that children can watch and then are able to make up words with the given letters. It allows them to practise sound recognition and blending.

 

Phonics Books

Revisit pages in your child’s phonics book to practice reading and spelling a good range of words. Don’t forget to look for the high frequency and tricky words!

 

More websites with phonics games on:

http://www.ictgames.com/literacy.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/ks1/literacy/

http://oxfordowl.co.uk

 

Please click here for our English policy