Mrs Merion Shippam

English Subject Leader

Why do we teacher English?
 In Telford Infant School we believe that English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. A high-quality education in English will teach children to speak and write fluently so that they can communicate their ideas and emotions to others, and through their reading and listening, others can communicate with them. Through reading in particular, children have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually.  Reading also enables children both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know.   By the end of Key Stage One our aim is for children to leave our school being  good listeners, effective and confident communicators, enthusiastic and imaginative writers and loving reading!
How do we teach English?
At Telford Infant School we recognise that 'oracy'  is key to a child’s success in learning. Throughout our curriculum we strive to develop oracy skills with particular emphasis on expressive vocabulary. We explicitly teach our children to be effective speakers and listeners through role-play, peer-to-peer talk and whole class discussions.   

Our children learn synthetic phonics through the Twinkl Phonics program which is based on Letters and Sounds. This provides a consistent and systematic approach through a coherently planned sequence of engaging lessons. As children progress, their reading books are matched to their phonics level. Children develop their reading skills and reading comprehension through individual, group and whole class reading.    They regularly have the opportunity to read for pleasure as reading for pleasure has been found to be a powerful factor in children’s cognitive development.     

By the end of Key Stage One, children will learn to be effective writers by writing for a range of purposes, responding to exciting experiences that inspire and challenge themIn KS1 children have discrete SPAG (spelling, punctuation, and grammar) lessons each week, this learning is then applied in the children’s writing tasks. 

In Reception children develop their gross and small motor skills through active and outdoor learningThey learn how to hold a pencil correctly and how to form letters correctly in line with the graphemes they are learning in their phonics lessons. 

Throughout Key Stage One children’s handwriting progresses from print to cursive. At Telford Infant School we follow the Twinkl handwriting program. We believe that good presentation skills are important as we want children to be proud of and to value their own work.  


 How your child will make progress in English during their time at Telford Infant School?

Learning throughout the school in all areas of the curriculum is incremental, with the whole class taught together. Where needed, pupils are given targeted phonics, speaking and listening, reading, spelling or handwriting interventions and ‘reactive teach’ sessions, to ensure that they are ready to continue with the learning sequence. For a very small number of pupils who require an individualised curriculum, teachers will adapt and plan the curriculum to meet the specific needs of learners.

Reading at Home

Reading at home every day makes a huge difference. Here are some ideas for helping your child with reading.

  • Reading does not have to be from your child’s school reading book. Books from home, leaflets, instructions for games, comics, signs in the environment (eg. supermarket), internet research, greeting cards are all reading too. Please note these in your child’s Tapestry account as we are always pleased to see children enjoying a varied reading diet.
  • Enjoy a bedtime story every night, this is a great way to model reading to your child.
  • Children who wish to bring in a treat for their classmates on their birthday are asked to donate a book to their class book corner rather than bring in sweets. Children can write a short message in the front of their birthday book and it is shared by the whole class at story time and will be available to be enjoyed by many children for years to come.
Please look on Tapestry for 'Advice on Reading with Your Child' booklet. 

Writing at Home

Early skills

  • Try fun activities that strengthen your child’s hand and fingers e.g. cutting, painting, squeezing playdough, picking up small things with tweezers and pegs.
  • Praise play writing – early squiggles and marks show that your child is beginning to understand writing.
  • Use magnetic letters and make small words together.
  • Make up a story together about one of their toys. You write the story as they say the words. Make up a little booklet. Take photos and use the pictures in the book.
  • Let your child write their own Christmas cards, thank you letters, cards or emails to friends or relatives, invitations to a party, or a list of things they need to take on holiday.
  • Cut up letters from magazines for children to make their names and short sentences.
  • Make handwriting interesting – practise drawing letters in sand, water, or paint, use white boards, playdough, pastry or shaving foam.

Beginner writers

  • Keep talking! This remains the key to good writing. Talk about what has been seen, heard, smelled, tasted and touched with as many details as possible.
  • Play word-building games to develop descriptive vocabulary such as Boggle, Scrabble, Guess Who, ‘What am I?”
  • Create silly sentences or tongue twisters using alliteration (a group of words that all begin with the same sound) e.g. Sad Sid slipped on Sam’s salad sandwich.
  • Encourage your child to rehearse their sentence out loud before they write it down.
  • If a tricky word has been used in an interesting way, this should be praised even if it is spelled wrongly. Remember, it is difficult to get everything right when you are learning!
  • Let children write part of shopping lists and then let them be responsible for carrying the list and finding certain items.
  • After making a cake, doing a craft activity or playing a game, challenge children to write instructions for someone else to follow.
  • Make up fun ways to remember how to spell difficult words e.g. Big Elephants Can Always Understand Small Elephants = because.
  • Play ‘I Spy’ and ‘Hangman’ which encourage use of sounds and spellings.
  • Practise phonics, high frequency words and handwriting.
  • Praise effort as well as success in writing.

Confident writers

  • Help your child write a letter to their favourite author. Details can be found on the internet.
  • As with early writers be aware of occasions when children can be involved in writing – shopping lists, cards, phone messages, notes to friends, invitations to family occasions etc.
  • Write information pages or booklets about a hobby or something they find interesting e.g. dinosaurs, class topics, sports stars etc. Illustrate and label.
  • Encourage use of paragraphs for blocks of information.
  • Write postcards from holidays and record holiday events in a diary that can be shared with friends or family.
  • Provide your child with a quiet, comfortable place to write if they want it, as well as exciting writing materials. Pound shops sell cheap but attractive notebooks, scrap books, post it notes, cards, pens, pencils, felt pens and rubbers.
  • Let your child see you as a writer.
  • Read books to, and with, them that are at a higher level than their own reading to expose them to ambitious vocabulary and complex sentence structure.

For all children – make writing fun!

Every week, your child's class teacher will upload helpful learning activities (including spellings) and mini-books to help you revisit the phonics learning your child has been doing in school.  
'The best thing about the day was getting to dress up and read to the reception children in our Buddy Groups'
'I had the best day ever.  I got to dress up and everything... I love, love, love reading ... I am quite good at it now...'
'I think I'm going to be an author'
'Did you know that I can read chapter books now?'