"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body." – Joseph Addison
"Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn." – Benjamin Franklin.
"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies... The person who never reads lives only one."
English topics at Mulgrave are based on stories by well-known authors, the children are given time to immerse themselves in the story and get to know the characters and text format. Children are encouraged to read a wide variety of genres, with a particular focus on Global Learning, as this is what our curriculum is centred around.
Being a Global Learning Centre of Excellence school means we need to teach children how to comprehend, interpret and apply skills not only in isolation, but through a global, creative curriculum. This ensures that pupils are able to understand that events do not occur in isolation. We teach children through guided sessions, the skills of inference, inquiry and interpretation and encourage them to apply this to a range of ‘real life’ texts, through the perspective of a Global Lens, as we believe our pupils need to understand the world they live in and how our lives are interlinked.
At Mulgrave, phonics is taught daily to all children in Nursery, Reception and Key Stage One. We use the Letters and Sounds programme to teach children the letters of the alphabet and their matching sounds.
The children are taught to read words by blending, which means saying each sound and then pushing all the sounds together to make a word. The children are taught to spell words by segmenting, which means sounding out words and writing down the sounds they can hear.
By the end of Reception children are expected to know all Phase Three sounds. By the end of Year One all children are expected to know all Phase Five sounds. By the time they have finished Key Stage One, most children at Mulgrave are secure in Phase Six sounds. This phase moves away from learning sounds and focuses on spelling rules and patterns.
At the end of Year One all the children in the country take a test called a Phonics Screening. They have to read 40 real and nonsense words. We call the nonsense words ‘Alien words’ and the children practise reading them every day. To see an example of a previous phonics screening check, please click here.
At Mulgrave we want our children to become enthusiastic, passionate and engaged readers, and to develop a life-long love of books. We introduce the children to a range of good quality fiction, non-fiction and poetry books through our whole-class, core-text approach to teaching reading, and during their daily guided reading sessions.
In the early stages of reading, we teach children to decode words using phonic skills as their main approach, alongside which we teach sight vocabulary. Once grasped, the focus for developing reading is understanding and comprehension, as well as recognising and understanding words in context. We encourage children to use dictionaries to look up the meaning of words they do not understand, to further develop a bank of words for future use.
As children’s reading develops at different rates, we aim to ensure all pupils are taught reading whole class, with the aim of bridging the gap, but also to challenge our more able pupils through the use of a range of question types. Teaching is tailored to each child and their ability. Children will read daily in classroom, either in shared reading, and one to one reading or guided reading groups. Children are encouraged to read a range of books in school and at home and communication between staff and parents is encouraged, which is evident in the Reading Planners we have provided for our pupils throughout the key stages.
Reading with your child
Developing readers will bring home levelled books and a picture book each week. Independent readers will bring home self-selected books from their book corner. Please spend time reading with and talking to your child about what they read, and help them to use their reading log to record their enjoyment of reading.
Please see the recommended reading book lists below for each year group (years 2 - 6).
At Mulgrave, it is our vision that every child will learn to write by being given real and exciting materials and opportunities. We will show and explain everyday occurrences to the children and inspire them to write about them. We will share excellent writing to inspire children to emulate styles. We encourage children to read their work for enjoyment, to read it aloud to others and provide audiences for writing. We want children to have an understanding that writing has a real purpose and that word choice and style can bring about change.
We use a core text approach over a half term to plan quality written outcomes. This high quality literature is used to engage and inspire the pupils, and provide rich models of writing for them to imitate in their own independent writing, through style, voice and language structure.
The beginning of the topic is spent on the first stage of the writing process - inspire, immerse and analyse, with the remainder of the topic spent on planning, quality written outcomes, editing then publishing. Time is devoted to producing the final written outcome as the children are not expected to produce a whole written outcome in one lesson, but rather build up to it over time. Children use cursive handwriting to publish their learning.
All classrooms at Mulgrave have an English Learning Wall which provides scaffolds and models for the pupils’ writing, including higher order vocabulary, examples of a range of sentence types, and models of the quality written outcome that the children are working towards. The learning walls are updated continuously thoughout the topic to support pupil learning.
We also promote the teaching of global issues at Mulgrave, where children are taught current affairs such as climate change, refugees, conflict and poverty. This enables pupils to think critically about core issues that are taking place in our world today. We also encourage pupils to better understand their role in a globally-interdependent world and to explore strategies by which they can make it more just and sustainable. This will ensure that our children are able to think critically about global issues, to take the steps needed in this rapidly changing world.
Alongside phonics, we also teach the children how to spell from Year 1 onwards. We believe that learning to spell is an important tool for your child to use as an essential part of day-to-day life, as well as in their learning. We teach spelling using an investigative and collaborative approach, focusing on spelling patterns, prefixes and suffixes, knowledge of word origin and root words. At the end of Year Two, children will have a spelling test and also at the end of Year Six.
Please click here for information about the spelling rules and patterns taught in each year group.
Please click here for spellings for each year group.
Grammar and Punctuation
At Mulgrave, grammar and punctuation is taught during English sessions through contextualised learning linked to the core-text, as well as in separate Grammar lessons in order to reinforce key grammatical concepts. Language and punctuation skills are taught through analysis of the author’s use of effective vocabulary choices, language structures and writing style, and by using the core-text as a model during the writing process. Children are given opportunities to imitate the author’s style, reflect on why the writing is effective, then to practise and develop their own writing style using the skills they have learnt.
Please click here to see the punctuation and grammar that we teach in each year group.
We encourage excellence in everything that we do and this includes handwriting. The children in KS1 have daily handwriting sessions and the children in KS2 have handwriting practice two or three times a week.
If a child produces consistently good handwriting in all books, with all letters formed correctly, then they are rewarded for their effort. They can present their books to leadership and then may be issued with a pen licence if their writing is of a high enough standard.
Please see examples of the progression of handwriting below:
Long Term Curriculum Maps
Please click on the links below to see the progression of knowledge and skills taught in English at Mulgrave.