This manual is designed to help teachers establish a principled framework for developing English at Key Stages 1 and 2. The central aim is to provide formats and suggestions for individuals or groups of teachers who want to raise standards of achievement in English for their pupils. Whilst all aspects of the National Curriculum for English are covered, this manual goes further and includes other aspects of English which teachers themselves have identified as priorities. There are also sections which deal with areas noted by Ofsted reports as needing more attention.
To make the manual easier to use, Chapters 2, 3 and 4 deal separately with Reading, Writing, and Speaking and Listening although each chapter acknowledges that literacy and language develop together. In practice, English activities which begin with writing are often threaded through with speaking and listening and always include some elements of reading. Similarly, reading can often include talk and lead to writing, and the suggestions for classroom activities represent this view of the interrelatedness of English as a whole. The National Curriculum term ‘English’ does not always adequately represent what is happening in the classroom as language is developed; what about children whose first language is British Sign Language? Or the many pupils who have the added benefit of bilingualism? While this manual pays careful attention to the importance of developing children’s ability to communicate clearly and accurately in English, it also takes into account the broader view of what is involved in full literacy and language development. Chapter 5 covers knowledge about language - grammar, punctuation and spelling - and Chapter 6 offers suggestions for teaching from texts and teaching about texts.
Each chapter includes background information and summaries of up-to-date theoretical views of the different elements of language and literacy, practical guidance on managing the curriculum and formats for use with colleagues and for classroom work. Chapters 2-4 include detailed guidance for assessment, recording and reporting development in language and literacy and for supporting children who experience difficulties. The material also covers issues of differentiation and language diversity and the importance of links between home and school. There are suggestions at the end of every chapter for ways of working with homes and parents to foster literacy development. The final chapter summarises the material with an outline of the role of the English coordinator and a framework for developing or reviewing policies for reading, writing and speaking and listening.
The manual will be useful for teachers with any length of experience - from NQTs to those who want to take a new and more focused look at aspects of well-embedded practice and to anyone whose role involves organising inservice sessions.
In many chapters there are examples drawn from case studies of classroom practice written by teachers who have recently worked on developments in English in their own classrooms, as well as some children’s reflections on learning. The idea of a manual like this, though, is to help teachers who use it to develop their own practices. While there are many examples of classroom ideas and frameworks for use with colleagues and pupils, the best way for the material to be used is to adapt it to your own requirements and contexts.