English at St Michael's
At St Michael’s, we strive to give children the best possible start to allow them to become fluent and capable writers in order to be able to communicate their ideas effectively throughout the rest of their education and beyond. We have developed our curriculum to ensure that children are given the opportunity to write for different audiences and purposes, often using reading as inspiration. We believe that talk and reading are essential foundations for children to become successful writers and we give them the opportunity for this through Talk 4 Writing as well as our approach to reading. We also give students many opportunities for writing across the curriculum.
• We use the Talk 4 Writing process to structure writing units:
o Writing purposes are planned for each term in each year group and children have the opportunity to revisit writing purposes in order to show progression.
o Teachers produce a high-quality model text which the children learn through a text map and actions, which helps to embed vocabulary and sentence structures.
o Short burst writing activities are planned based on what children need to be able to do, as shown from the cold task
o Children then have the opportunity to write their own piece using the structure of the model text. This is modelled to them by the teacher first, when a shared write is completed.
o At the end of the unit, children then complete an unaided ‘HOT’ task, drawing together the skills they have been taught throughout this process.
• Quality texts read to the children and available for them to read independently; this allows them to draw upon their reading for inspiration.
• The grammar and punctuation objectives are embedded throughout the writing curriculum to ensure that this is meaningful and purposeful for the children.
• We have a large focus on vocabulary at St Michael’s. We explicitly teach challenging vocabulary to children, enabling them to use this in their writing. We also use ‘never heard the word grids’ in KS2 to encourage the acquisition of more subject-specific vocabulary.
• EYFS and KS1 are taught early writing and spelling through the Read Write Inc phonics scheme.
• Spellings KS2: we currently use No Nonsense Spellings to teach children spelling rules.
• Children have the opportunity to write across the curriculum in all other subjects. This encourages them to transfer their skills from English lessons into other areas.
• A high standard of cursive handwriting is modelled across school and children are encouraged to imitate this. It is taught and practised regularly, and expected across the curriculum, and interventions are planned where necessary.
The impact of our writing curriculum is measure in the following ways:
• Independent writing assessments at the end of each term
• Cold and hot tasks at the start and end of each Talk 4 Writing unit help to inform planning and assess progress
• Constant formative assessment in lessons and subsequent lessons planned or feedback given based on this (either verbally, written marking or whole class feedback)
• Internal and external moderation is carried out to ensure that our writing judgements are accurate
• Subject monitoring through learning walks, book looks and pupil & teacher voice
At St Michael’s, we believe that reading is fundamental to our children succeeding throughout their education and beyond. We have developed our curriculum to ensure that children are given the opportunity to develop a genuine love of reading. Through a whole class reading approach, children will be exposed to a variety of texts and rich discussion surrounding these. Reading will also be used to extend children’s knowledge across the curriculum.
Implementation in KS2
Through a whole class reading approach in KS2, children will be exposed to a huge variety of text types. Reciprocal reading, echo reading, independent reading and paired reading will all help children to develop fluency and expression when reading aloud. Lessons will focus on vocabulary, inference, prediction, explaining, summarising and retrieval, either as standalone skills or combined. Whole class reading lessons will be largely discussion-based to allow the lessons to flow without the constraints of writing down every answer. KS1: reading is taught through a mixture of whole class reading comprehension and guided reading in groups. Reading across the curriculum: through WCR, but also in other subjects, children will be given the opportunity to read across the curriculum and use this to extend their knowledge. This is a vital skill for the future. Lower down the school, this will be largely teacher-led, with children becoming more independent as they move up through the school. Class novels/ stories: children across the school will be read aloud to every day by the teacher. Through this, they will experience a wide range of stories and discussions surrounding these. We will ensure that we have diversity in the books we read to our classes across the year, so all children feel represented, and can experience reading about different cultures. Independent reading time: children will be given time each day for independent reading. In KS1, and for any KS2 children who need fluency practice, they will read aloud to adults. Phonics: in KS1, children are taught to read using the Read Write Inc phonics scheme. This includes paired reading sessions. RWI is also used in LKS2 for extra intervention where necessary. Reading eggs: In KS1, Reading Eggs is used for extra reading practice. Library: we work closely with the local library, who lend us topic-related books, and arrange author visits. We also plan visits to the library. This all encourage reading for pleasure. Book corners: each class has an attractive book corner with a wide selection of age appropriate books to help encourage reading for pleasure.
- Benchmarking (KS1): assess reading level to ensure children are reading books at the correct level.
- Accelerated reader quizzes: in KS2, children will take a quiz on their reading books to check their understanding and keep track of what they are reading.
- Termly STAR assessments: at the start of September, and the end of each term, children in KS2 will take their STAR assessment which assesses their reading ability and this is used to monitor progress.
- Reading comprehension tests (end of year): children will take a written comprehension test at the end of the year to assess whether they are WTS, EXS or GDS. Children in Year 2 and 6 complete practise SATs papers before the statutory end of year assessment.
- Whole class reading quizzes and discussions: in whole class reading lessons, and guided reading sessions, teachers are constantly assessing understanding through questioning and discussions.
- Pupil and teacher voice: the reading lead will carry out pupil voice surveys at regular intervals.
- KS1: RWI termly assessment and phonics check.
World Book Day 2023

To celebrate World Book Day this year, each class chose a book by the author Tom Percival and based their day around this. These books focus on feelings and explore dealing with emotions and expressing your feelings.

  • Reception read Milo’s Monster which explored the feeling of Jealousy and then created their own monsters.
  • Year 1 read ‘Ruby’s Worry’ and looked at the structure of the story before writing their own character descriptions.
  • Year 2 read ‘Ravi’s Roar’ and explored what emotions are shown then wrote about what to do if you're feeling angry like the tiger.
  • KS1 also swapped around and had the opportunity to hear one of the other stories.
  • Year 3 read ‘Meesha makes Friends’ and then made their own friends out of pipe cleaners, as well as thinking about their hopes and wishes.
  • Year 4 read ‘The River’ and created a Science project on blue tits based on the theme of this book.
  • Year 5 read ‘Dream Big Little Mole’ and thought about what is unique about themselves, then helped out by tidying the garden area.
  • Year 6 read ‘ The Invisible’ and then decorated jars to use as a gratitude jar. We filled these with all sorts of things that we usually take for granted that we should try and appreciate more.
We also enjoyed a fantastic Book Breakfast - thank you to all parents who attended and donated food and drinks for this! 
Children had the opportunity to share their favourite books with another child from a different year group. It was lovely to see the older children supporting younger children with their reading!
Quotes from the children:

‘Today we have been doing calming activities like reading The Invisible which is about a girl who feels invisible and then becomes vibrant. Based on that book, we made cute gratitude jars, decorated them and expressed ourselves. We also read to younger years and they read to us’ 

‘World Book Day is based around sharing love for books which we did through breakfast and reading with younger years’ 
Geography Quality Mark 2017-20