In Monmouth School Girls’ Prep our literacy objective is to provide a rich and stimulating language environment where speaking confidently, listening carefully, reading reflectively and writing passionately are integrated into all aspects of the curriculum.
The English curriculum aims to be broad and stimulating, giving pupils the opportunity to develop their skills and their enthusiasm for the subject. We introduce the girls to a variety of authors, genres and forms of writing, as well as fostering an understanding of writing for different purposes and audiences. We challenge the girls to write with accuracy and meaning, and we help them enjoy the writing process as well as ensuring they recognise the value of the work they produce.
Pupils are encouraged to read regularly, both at home and in school, developing confident and independent readers with a love for books and literature. Each year group studies three well recognised class texts, inspiring creativity when writing and performing. The pupils learn to empathise with characters and enjoy different styles of writing from a selection of celebrated authors. We use discussion, dramatic performance and creative writing to enhance the understanding of different genres.
Spelling, grammar, punctuation and handwriting are taught independently throughout the English curriculum, as well as part of a whole curriculum approach, which provides a consistent focus on the construction of all written pieces.
In Year 3, we build on the foundations formed in Key Stage One. A variety of teaching approaches are used to facilitate learning. Pupils receive weekly spelling, comprehension, grammar and punctuation and handwriting lessons to hone, develop and extend basic skills.
Stimulating opportunities for writing in a range of contexts and for different audiences ensure that pupils practise these skills. Cross-curricular links are developed where appropriate. Daily reading is an essential aspect of the Year 3 curriculum. Our set class novels (The Twits, The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark and Charlotte’s Web) enable pupils to share and study classic children’s fiction in more depth. Pupils are encouraged to develop their own writing through studying the features of a range of genres including poetry, instruction writing, letter writing, report writing and stories. Creativity is encouraged as pupils are guided at all stages of the writing process, through planning, editing and evaluating.
Oracy is a key focus in Year 3 English with confidence and competence in spoken language and listening skills being an essential aspect. Pupils enjoy participating in role play, performing and presenting for audiences, and learning to be constructive in their evaluations.
In Year 3, girls are introduced to the popular and successful Accelerated Reading Program which ensures that they are selecting and reading books at the appropriate level. Through reading and taking online quizzes, girls enjoy immediate feedback and are hugely motivated to progress in their reading.
Year 4 is an exciting time to be studying English. The girls develop a strong foundation of the basic skills in literacy with weekly grammar and punctuation lessons, spelling sessions, reading comprehension practice and handwriting.
We aim to instil within our girls a real passion for literature, for reading and for writing. To this aim we focus the majority of our studies on great influential authors. The girls enjoy an in-depth dramatic study of Shakespeare’s Hamlet as well as Romeo and Juliet. In the summer term girls will also study Geoffrey Chaucer and will take part in their own ‘Canterbury Tales’ story competition before embarking on their own summer holiday pilgrimage to Year 5. Other units of study will broaden the girls’ understanding of non-fiction texts and through the dramatic events of the Battle of Stamford Bridge they will create detailed newspaper stories linked closely with their history topic. They will also embark on writing and designing an information text, carrying out the necessary research in their science classes and producing the text in their English classes.
The girls receive one topic-focused homework and one spelling homework each week.
In Year 5 pupils begin to explore texts in a more comprehensive and independent manner – this involves the books that they read for pleasure, as well as the texts they are introduced to as part of their classroom learning.
Girls keep a book journal with regular activities to demonstrate understanding of their chosen reading material, and comprehension tasks of a variety of forms are completed during text studies. This develops a reflective and dialogical approach to their reading. They also complete online comprehension quizzes after reading books from our school library, designed to reward their careful reading.
The girls continue to develop their grammar, punctuation and handwriting skills, as well as using computing to create different forms and genres of cross curricular texts – such as their own audiobooks, blogs, advertisements and short films. They use their creative skills to produce some fabulous pieces of work across many different forms, which introduce the girls to the many ways their English skills can be used in later life.
We focus on three main texts in Year Five, as well as a variety of modern and classic authors. The girls enjoy an inspiring trip to The Globe Theatre in London to take part in a Shakespearean actor’s workshop, and they have the opportunity to take part in our Eisteddfod competition, and Summer Production.
In Year 6, pupils have the opportunity to share their work with a larger audience. They continue to develop their written and verbal literacy skills for a variety of purposes; they have the opportunity to perform the lead roles in the annual Summer production, they regularly create audio files and iMovies of their dramatic performances, and they create written pieces in both poetry and prose across a wide range of genres to share with their peers.
The girls develop their oratory skills by analysing and responding to famous speeches. They are invited to share their views on current affairs, and encouraged to engage in debates to strengthen their oral skills, and to encourage consideration of the views of others. They are visited by guest speakers – such as our local MP – and are given the opportunity to discuss both local and global events.
The girls focus on a variety of authors and genres in Text Studies. They extend their creative writing skills with multi-chapter cross curricular stories, powerful performance poetry, and several independent non-fiction projects. The girls continue to develop their handwriting, spelling and comprehension skills as well as their creative talents to prepare them for the entrance exam, but also for life beyond the senior school. The girls consider how literacy is used in a modern workplace, and complete entrepreneurial projects involving a variety of cross curricular skills.
In Year Six the girls enjoy visits to theatres, museums, the British Library and the Houses of Parliament as part of their cross curricular studies; all of which are used to enhance their literacy studies.