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National Curriculum Primary Keystage 1 Year 1 English

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Spoken language

Statutory requirements

Pupils should be taught to:

  • listen and respond appropriately to adults and their peers
  • ask relevant questions to extend their understanding and knowledge
  • use relevant strategies to build their vocabulary
  • articulate and justify answers, arguments and opinions
  • give well-structured descriptions, explanations and narratives for different purposes, including for expressing feelings
  • maintain attention and participate actively in collaborative conversations, staying on topic and initiating and responding to comments
  • use spoken language to develop understanding through speculating, hypothesising, imagining and exploring ideas
  • speak audibly and fluently with an increasing command of Standard English
  • participate in discussions, presentations, performances, role play, improvisations and debates
  • gain, maintain and monitor the interest of the listener(s)
  • consider and evaluate different viewpoints, attending to and building on the contributions of others
  • select and use appropriate registers for effective communication.

Notes and guidance (non-statutory)

These statements apply to all years. The content should be taught at a level appropriate to the age of the pupils. Pupils should build on the oral language skills that have been taught in preceding years.

Pupils should be taught to develop their competence in spoken language and listening to enhance the effectiveness with which they are able to communicate across a range of contexts and to a range of audiences. They should therefore have opportunities to work in groups of different sizes – in pairs, small groups, large groups and as a whole class. Pupils should understand how to take turns and when and how to participate constructively in conversations and debates.

Attention should also be paid to increasing pupils’ vocabulary, ranging from describing their immediate world and feelings to developing a broader, deeper and richer vocabulary to discuss abstract concepts and a wider range of topics, and to enhancing their knowledge about language as a whole.

Pupils should receive constructive feedback on their spoken language and listening, not only to improve their knowledge and skills but also to establish secure foundations for effective spoken language in their studies at primary school, helping them to achieve in secondary education and beyond.

Reading – word reading

Statutory requirements

Pupils should be taught to:

  • apply phonic knowledge and skills as the route to decode words
  • respond speedily with the correct sound to graphemes (letters or groups of letters) for all 40+ phonemes, including, where applicable, alternative sounds for graphemes
  • read accurately by blending sounds in unfamiliar words containing GPCs that have been taught
  • read common exception words, noting unusual correspondences between spelling and sound and where these occur in the word
  • read words containing taught GPCs and –s, –es, –ing, –ed, –er and –est endings
  • read other words of more than one syllable that contain taught GPCs
  • read words with contractions [for example, I’m, I’ll, we’ll], and understand that the apostrophe represents the omitted letter(s)
  • read aloud accurately books that are consistent with their developing phonic knowledge and that do not require them to use other strategies to work out words
  • re-read these books to build up their fluency and confidence in word reading.

Notes and guidance (non-statutory)

Pupils should revise and consolidate the GPCs and the common exception words taught in Reception. As soon as they can read words comprising the year 1 GPCs accurately and speedily, they should move on to the year 2 programme of study for word reading.

The number, order and choice of exception words taught will vary according to the phonics programme being used. Ensuring that pupils are aware of the GPCs they contain, however unusual these are, supports spelling later.

Young readers encounter words that they have not seen before much more frequently than experienced readers do, and they may not know the meaning of some of these. Practice at reading such words by sounding and blending can provide opportunities not only for pupils to develop confidence in their decoding skills, but also for teachers to explain the meaning and thus develop pupils’ vocabulary.

Pupils should be taught how to read words with suffixes by being helped to build on the root words that they can read already. Pupils’ reading and re-reading of books that are closely matched to their developing phonic knowledge and knowledge of common exception words supports their fluency, as well as increasing their confidence in their reading skills. Fluent word reading greatly assists comprehension, especially when pupils come to read longer books.

Reading – comprehension

Statutory requirements

Pupils should be taught to:

  • develop pleasure in reading, motivation to read, vocabulary and understanding by:
  • listening to and discussing a wide range of poems, stories and non-fiction at a level beyond that at which they can read independently
  • being encouraged to link what they read or hear read to their own experiences
  • becoming very familiar with key stories, fairy stories and traditional tales, retelling them and considering their particular characteristics
  • recognising and joining in with predictable phrases
  • learning to appreciate rhymes and poems, and to recite some by heart
  • discussing word meanings, linking new meanings to those already known
  • understand both the books they can already read accurately and fluently and those they listen to by:
  • drawing on what they already know or on background information and vocabulary provided by the teacher
  • checking that the text makes sense to them as they read and correcting inaccurate reading
  • discussing the significance of the title and events
  • making inferences on the basis of what is being said and done
  • predicting what might happen on the basis of what has been read so far
  • participate in discussion about what is read to them, taking turns and listening to what others say
  • explain clearly their understanding of what is read to them.

Notes and guidance (non-statutory)

Pupils should have extensive experience of listening to, sharing and discussing a wide range of high-quality books with the teacher, other adults and each other to engender a love of reading at the same time as they are reading independently.

Pupils’ vocabulary should be developed when they listen to books read aloud and when they discuss what they have heard. Such vocabulary can also feed into their writing. Knowing the meaning of more words increases pupils’ chances of understanding when they read by themselves. The meaning of some new words should be introduced to pupils before they start to read on their own, so that these unknown words do not hold up their comprehension.

However, once pupils have already decoded words successfully, the meaning of those that are new to them can be discussed with them, so contributing to developing their early skills of inference. By listening frequently to stories, poems and non-fiction that they cannot yet read for themselves, pupils begin to understand how written language can be structured in order, for example, to build surprise in narratives or to present facts in non-fiction. Listening to and discussing information books and other non-fiction establishes the foundations for their learning in other subjects. Pupils should be shown some of the processes for finding out information.

Through listening, pupils also start to learn how language sounds and increase their vocabulary and awareness of grammatical structures. In due course, they will be able to draw on such grammar in their own writing.

Rules for effective discussions should be agreed with and demonstrated for pupils. They should help to develop and evaluate them, with the expectation that everyone takes part. Pupils should be helped to consider the opinions of others.

Role-play can help pupils to identify with and explore characters and to try out the language they have listened to.

Writing – transcription

Statutory requirements

Spelling (seeEnglish Appendix 1)

Pupils should be taught to:

  • spell:
  • words containing each of the 40+ phonemes already taught
  • common exception words
  • the days of the week
  • name the letters of the alphabet:
  • naming the letters of the alphabet in order
  • using letter names to distinguish between alternative spellings of the same sound
  • add prefixes and suffixes:
  • using the spelling rule for addings ores as the plural marker for nouns and the third person singular marker for verbs
  • using the prefix un
  • usinging, –ed, –er andest where no change is needed in the spelling of root words [for example, helping, helped, helper, eating, quicker, quickest]
  • apply simple spelling rules and guidance, as listed inEnglish Appendix 1
  • write from memory simple sentences dictated by the teacher that include words using the GPCs and common exception words taught so far.

Notes and guidance (non-statutory)

Reading should be taught alongside spelling, so that pupils understand that they can read back words they have spelt.

Pupils should be shown how to segment spoken words into individual phonemes and then how to represent the phonemes by the appropriate grapheme(s). It is important to recognise that phoneme-grapheme correspondences (which underpin spelling) are more variable than grapheme-phoneme correspondences (which underpin reading). For this reason, pupils need to do much more word-specific rehearsal for spelling than for reading.

At this stage pupils will be spelling some words in a phonically plausible way, even if sometimes incorrectly. Misspellings of words that pupils have been taught to spell should be corrected; other misspelt words should be used to teach pupils about alternative ways of representing those sounds.

Writing simple dictated sentences that include words taught so far gives pupils opportunities to apply and practise their spelling.

Statutory requirements

Handwriting

Pupils should be taught to:

  • sit correctly at a table, holding a pencil comfortably and correctly
  • begin to form lower-case letters in the correct direction, starting and finishing in the right place
  • form capital letters
  • form digits 0-9
  • understand which letters belong to which handwriting ‘families’ (i.e. letters that are formed in similar ways) and to practise these.

Notes and guidance (non-statutory)

Handwriting requires frequent and discrete, direct teaching. Pupils should be able to form letters correctly and confidently. The size of the writing implement (pencil, pen) should not be too large for a young pupil’s hand. Whatever is being used should allow the pupil to hold it easily and correctly so that bad habits are avoided.

Left-handed pupils should receive specific teaching to meet their needs.

Writing – composition

Statutory requirements

Pupils should be taught to:

  • write sentences by:
  • saying out loud what they are going to write about
  • composing a sentence orally before writing it
  • sequencing sentences to form short narratives
  • re-reading what they have written to check that it makes sense
  • discuss what they have written with the teacher or other pupils
  • read aloud their writing clearly enough to be heard by their peers and the teacher.

Notes and guidance (non-statutory)

At the beginning of year 1, not all pupils will have the spelling and handwriting skills they need to write down everything that they can compose out loud.

Pupils should understand, through demonstration, the skills and processes essential to writing: that is, thinking aloud as they collect ideas, drafting, and re-reading to check their meaning is clear.

Writing – vocabulary, grammar and punctuation

Statutory requirements

Pupils should be taught to:

  • leaving spaces between words
  • joining words and joining clauses using and
  • beginning to punctuate sentences using a capital letter and a full stop, question mark or exclamation mark
  • using a capital letter for names of people, places, the days of the week, and the personal pronoun ‘I’
  • learning the grammar for year 1 in English Appendix 2
  • use the grammatical terminology in English Appendix 2 in discussing their writing.

Notes and guidance (non-statutory)

Pupils should be taught to recognise sentence boundaries in spoken sentences and to use the vocabulary listed inEnglish Appendix 2 (‘Terminology for pupils’) when their writing is discussed.

Pupils should begin to use some of the distinctive features of Standard English in their writing. ‘Standard English’ is defined in theGlossary.