At the Mount Stewart Schools, we believe that literacy and communication are key life skills. We aim to provide an interesting and engaging English curriculum that is underpinned by the belief that developing children’s language is crucial to their success across the curriculum and for life-long learning. At Mount Stewart, we want children to enjoy and appreciate literature for all its rich variety.
Enlivening Reading at Mount Stewart
Reading is at the heart of our curriculum. As children’s reading develops at different rates, teaching is tailored to each child and their ability, with a focus on instilling in our children a word-rich vocabulary that will enable them to access a variety of texts. This begins in the classroom with cross-curricular displays that provide a vocabulary-rich environment to inspire and encourage our children to understand, practise and apply new words to their everyday oracy and written language. By including a vast range of vocabulary in all lessons and the physical learning environment, we aim to embed high-quality language and increase children’s retention of key vocabulary, which they can then understand and use accurately and independently. Through the tiered approach, children also learn how to group vocabulary based on their common usage and make links between words based on definition and etymology.
Children read daily in the classroom, either in shared reading pairs, one-to-one with a member of staff, or within guided reading groups. Staff teach and model reading to all children, before building on each child’s understanding of vocabulary, to increase their confidence and individual bank of word knowledge. We continuously encourage all children to read a range of texts both in school and at home, so that they have as many opportunities as possible to discuss the meaning of texts, build on their knowledge of the language and make links between texts and vocabulary. Children are given lots of opportunities to ask questions, explore texts in-depth and become used to answering a range of questions accurately and in a clear, succinct manner.
In EYFS and KS1, the teaching of systematic phonics encourages children to link sounds and letters and begin to read and write. Children are expected to apply their phonics skills in all areas of the curriculum. Phonics planning allows our children to gain a progressively deeper understanding of the phonetic structure of the English language as they move through the school, to ensure all children acquire the key tools needed to become fluent reader.
Writing forms a significant part of all subjects across the curriculum. We pride ourselves on good presentation skills in literacy and therefore we teach children at the Mount Stewart School to write using a cursive script from the beginning of their time here. We know that using a cursive script helps most children become more confident, fluent writers and also helps improve spelling.
Our consistent aim if for all our children to develop into skilful and imaginative writers across the curriculum. Writing is organised around a clear learning sequence where-by children study and engage with a high-quality model text and practice the grammar skills necessary for the specific genre, before progressing into extended writing and editing independently.
We encourage all children to be able to read and write in cursive script and reward all children when they make progress in reading and writing across the curriculum areas.