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Benefits consolidating schools

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All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society; pupils who do not learn to speak, read and write fluently and confidently are effectively disenfranchised.The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written language, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment.

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Teachers should therefore ensure the continual development of pupils’ confidence and competence in spoken language and listening skills.Underpinning both is the understanding that the letters on the page represent the sounds in spoken words.This is why phonics should be emphasised in the early teaching of reading to beginners (ie unskilled readers) when they start school.The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils: The national curriculum for English reflects the importance of spoken language in pupils’ development across the whole curriculum – cognitively, socially and linguistically.Spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing.Effective composition involves articulating and communicating ideas, and then organising them coherently for a reader.

This requires clarity, awareness of the audience, purpose and context, and an increasingly wide knowledge of vocabulary and grammar.

Good comprehension draws from linguistic knowledge (in particular of vocabulary and grammar) and on knowledge of the world.

Comprehension skills develop through pupils’ experience of high-quality discussion with the teacher, as well as from reading and discussing a range of stories, poems and non-fiction.

Pupils should develop a capacity to explain their understanding of books and other reading, and to prepare their ideas before they write.

They must be assisted in making their thinking clear to themselves as well as to others, and teachers should ensure that pupils build secure foundations by using discussion to probe and remedy their misconceptions.

Writing also depends on fluent, legible and, eventually, speedy handwriting.