At Ashmount, English sits at the heart of our curriculum – it is through language, story and text that children learn to form concepts, connect ideas and express themselves. Through literacy, in all its forms, children learn to both make sense of the world and shape their place within it.
Across both writing and reading, we place a heavy emphasis on developing a child’s vocabulary and speaking and listening skills.
Our aim is for all children at Ashmount to develop a life-long love of reading. We ensure that there are no missed opportunities to spark children’s enjoyment and interest in reading.
Children at Ashmount are exposed to a wide range of high quality children’s literature from the moment they begin their school life with us. Teachers regularly read a variety of age-appropriate texts to pupils both for the purpose of study and enjoyment. As a result, children are constantly exposed to rich language and vocabulary.
Through our reading programme, we ensure we meet the aims of the National Curriculum and ensure that our pupils:
In Reception and KS1, phonics is taught daily. Please see the phonics page for more information about how phonics is taught at Ashmount.
We have a fantastic library, full of both fiction and non-fiction texts, which children visit to take out books to read at home or reference texts to use as part of their wider reading into curriculum areas that they are studying.
Each class has a well stocked book case or reading corner filled with a wide range of high quality reading materials. We recommend visiting Read the World website for high quality diverse texts if you are looking to purchase additional reading materials for your home.
Each year we launch Islington’s Reading Road Map which encourages children in KS2 to read a range of texts across different genres which they may not have come across before. Children earn stickers and certificates for the number of books on the road map that they read!
It is expected that children read daily at home, as they do in school, and that they share and discuss books with their adults. Each child receives a reading record from school which they use to log the books they have read. This book also acts as an additional communication tool around reading between parents and teachers.
Throughout the year we have author visits, reading/story related events, workshops with poets, book fairs and World Book Day – one of the highlights of the year!
We teach writing through high-quality texts. These texts are carefully selected and range from picture books to longer novels. We also teach writing through immersive real-life experiences, such as educational visits or outdoor learning.
Throughout the Early Years and Key Stage 1 children are taught the key principles of writing in order to lay a solid foundation for developing their skills later on. An emphasis is placed on developing correct letter formation with ‘finger spaces’ between in each word. Children are taught to apply their knowledge of phonics to help them spell accurately, and to structure their work according to the audience and purpose of their writing. We follow the RWI Get Writing Programme and as with reading, the alphabetic code is embedded first, so that children can write simple words early on and build on their success. The children write every day, rehearsing out loud what they want to write, and composing sentence by sentence, until they are confident enough to write independently. They write at the level of their spelling knowledge: that is, they use their knowledge of the alphabetic code and the ‘tricky’ words they have learnt. In every lesson, children rapidly build up their spelling knowledge so that soon they are able to spell complex words confidently. The children can use adventurous vocabulary in their writing because they have encountered such language in their reading and they have talked about what the words mean. By the end of Key Stage 1 children have been taught the fundamentals of punctuation and grammar. This structural and technical knowledge is fostered alongside developing a love for writing as a lifelong means for communication and expression.
In KS2, teachers plan creatively around a high quality text. Many of the texts we have selected are taken from the Centre for Children’s Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) and we have ensured that the texts children read and study, reflect the diversity within our school community. Teachers are led by the possibilities of the text when planning and ensure children write a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts, including recounts, news reports, explanation texts, poems, plays and stories of all kinds are studied throughout the Key Stage. We use drama, role-play, storytelling and discussion to engage the imagination, before moving on to vocabulary exploration, sentence craft and creative writing.
We use Oxford University Press’s Nelson scheme for handwriting from Year 1.
Handwriting is taught each week from Reception to Year 6, beginning with mark making and patterns in the Early Years all the way up to legible, controlled and joined handwriting in Year 6.
Spelling is taught daily in from Year 2, once children no longer need daily explicit phonics teaching. In KS2, spelling lessons take place 3 times per week in KS2, following the Read Write Inc. Spelling scheme which is progressive and carefully sequenced. Spellings are sent home at the beginning of each half term for children to practice and short low stakes ‘check up’ tests happen at the end of each unit.
Grammar is interwoven into English lessons and occasionally taught discretely in KS2.
As children progress through KS2, children are taught to write for a range of purposes – to entertain, inform, explain, persuade and discuss – using explicit sentence models and ambitious vocabulary. They then learn to shape these sentences into coherent paragraphs before planning and creating their own original works of fiction and non-fiction. Children are expected and encouraged to use and apply their writing skills across the curriculum. Children enjoy publishing their writing and are proud to see it displayed in their classrooms/learning spaces.
When children leave Ashmount at the end of Year 6, they leave as confident writers with the ability to express themselves through spoken and written language.
For more information please visit: The National Curriculum for English