How we teach English at Sylvester

At Sylvester Primary Academy, English is taught in accordance with the English programmes of study set out in the National Curriculum for Key Stages 1 and 2.


At Sylvester, English is taught as a subject in its own right, but it is also used as a medium to teach all other curriculum subjects. As a result, children receive five daily English lessons each week, but also gain regular opportunities in the other core and foundation subjects to practise, revise and further develop their reading, speaking, listening and writing skills.


Real books, complete novels, short stories and class readers are central to all teaching at Sylvester. Whenever possible English teaching is linked to real books or class readers and the children also have many opportunities to listen to and respond to books, short stories and poetry outside the regular English lessons. Teachers are encouraged to read regularly to the children for enjoyment and have a set list of stories to read each year.


Weekly English Lessons ( 5 x 1hr )

Each year group receive five dedicated English lessons each week. Three of these lessons are based around one of the year group’s selected text genres. One lesson is solely focussed upon SPAG (spelling , punctuation and grammar) and one lesson takes the form of The Big Write or The Big Read. Example weekly English timetable:

Day 1 – Text Genre Lesson (1hr)

Day 2 – Text Genre Lesson (1hr)

Day 3 – Text Genre Lesson (1hr)

Day 4 – SPAG Lesson (1hr)

Day 5 – The Big Write or The Big Read (1.5 hrs)


Text Genre Lessons

Each year group has a number of selected fiction genres to study (story writing, plays and poetry) and selected non-fiction text genres to study (reports, recounts, instructions, etc). Three lessons each week are dedicated to the class’ current text genre unit (each unit may be between two weeks to five weeks long). Each genre unit is taught using the reading to writing planning and teaching model. This ensures each unit of work incorporates each of the following aspects: text familiarity tasks, shared reading, guided reading, speaking and listening tasks, shared writing, guided writing, independent writing, drafting, editing and redrafting.


SPAG Lessons

Each week, every class receives one English lesson dedicated solely to practising their understanding of SPAG. Each year group has a selected number of year group specific SPAG objectives to cover as well as revising previous year groups’ SPAG objectives.


The Big Write / The Big Read Lessons

Each week, one English lesson is dedicated either to The Big Write or The Big Read. These lessons aim to allow the children to write or read for an extended period. The lessons are separate to the text genre lessons, and thus allow children to revise many text types throughout the year. The Big Write lessons allow children to write complete texts in one lesson, while The Big Read lessons are dedicated to developing comprehension skills such as, skimming, scanning, information retrieval, inference and deduction.


Extended Writing

Each week, children are given the opportunity to practise their writing skills through an extending writing task in another core subject or in one of the foundation subjects.