‘There can be no more important subject than English in the school curriculum’

– Ofsted, 2012

Hello fellow humans, I hope the week has treated you well and I hope the weekend treats you even better!

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Jonathan Glazzard and Jane Stokoe‘s book ‘Teaching Systematic Synthetic Phonics and Early English‘ (wow what a mouth-full) explores ways in which teachers can increase attainment and achievement in all aspects of Early English. The book highlights how important it is that learners stay engaged, enthusiastic and committed and in turn teachers must ensure that they are implementing the best practices possible to improve standards.

Education secretary Nicky Morgan has recently announced (see here) that students that fail to achieve a C grade or above in their GCSE English must now retake the exam.

Teaching Systematic Synthetic Phonics and Early English‘ actively discusses ways in which teachers can improve English at a young age, putting them in a better position to eventually go on to take their English GCSEs.

So, here it is-

Your free extract from a book that, in the current climate, is absolutely necessary.


Lucy is a trainee teacher, undertaking her first placement in a Year 2 class. The children are learning about alternative versions of traditional tales. Lucy decides to use the text The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. The children enjoy listening to the story which is written from the wolf’s point of view. After reading the story the children are asked to sit in a circle and consider the story. In particular Lucy asks them to think about whether they think the wolf is giving a true account of the version of events. The children are firstly given thinking time and then time to talk through their ideas with the person sitting next to them. Lucy then runs a whole class Community of Enquiry where the children listen to different ideas in the circle, build on what other people have said and offer their own responses. Lucy does not dominate the discussion and she lets the discussions evolve, occasionally prompting them to think about specific points. The children are fee to agree or disagree but know that if they disagree with someone’s point of view this must be done respectfully and they must explain why they do not share the same opinion.

  • What support would children need to reach this level of maturity in their discussions?
  • How could you use this approach across the curriculum?

Critical reflections 

Some teachers embrace talk and communication in their classrooms. Their classrooms are busy, lively places and talk is used across the curriculum to promote learning. Other teachers in contrast tightly control children’s talk. Why do you think this is?

Critical points 

This chapter has emphasised the importance of:

  • creating a rich language enabling environment which provides opportunities for talk and communication;
  • extending children’s language development;
  • planning opportunities for children to use language and communication across the curriculum;
  • early identification of children with speech, language and communication difficulties.

See here for more details on the book– NOW A WHOOPING 15% OFF.

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