The course aims to develop in the individual pupil the skills associated with the 3 language modes:
- Reading - includes responding to literature and Close Reading "interpretation"
- Writing - includes imaginative writing eg short stories, poems, as well as writing which presents information, expresses opinions etc.
- Talk and Listening Skills
Developing the awareness of language is a key part of our work since language skills are important not only in English but for all subjects in school, and indeed for life outside school, where clarity of expression and the ability to communicate are required.
The S1 and S2 English course also prepares pupils for National 4 and National 5 English in S3 and S4.
Like most English courses, the S1 and S2 course are skills-based with an important literature component. A balance of texts is studied throughout each year covering poetry, prose and drama. These texts are used to provide stimulus material for Writing, Talk and language study as well as Extended Reading (literature answers).
Texts are also studied in extract form, often grouped according to theme. This provides the basis for a wide range of activities including group discussion, report writing, language exercises and so on.
We expect ALL students to read fiction at home daily and for an absolute minimum of an hour every week. Students will be asked to keep a log of their home reading (included). This will be glued into each pupil’s Literacy and Homework jotter. Parents are asked to sign this each week. The teacher will assess the Reading Logs periodically throughout the year and certificates will be awarded for achieving personal targets.
Naturally, the length and complexity of novels vary enormously but, as a rough guide, students should aim to complete a minimum of five novels over the course of the year. It is important to emphasise that this is the minimum expected. It is expected that all pupils challenge themselves in their choice of texts.
To get ideas, students can use the Earlston High School Riveting Reads blog, where pupils review what they have read. Pupils will be shown in class how to access this through Glow – Literacy across learning. They can also leave reviews of the books they have read on this site.
Students can also get ideas from the school library and websites. There are many excellent websites such as guardian.co.uk/childrens-books-site and amazon.co.uk where students and parents can browse for ideas. The lovereading4schools.co.uk/viewschool/3416.
In addition to the weekly Reading homework described above, pupils can expect focused Reading or Writing homework related to the topics covered by the Literacy Period.
Pupils will experience one Literacy Period every week. The skills and knowledge attained here will be consolidated in the main body of English lessons as well as through further homework tasks- Book Reviews and the Research Project.