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English & Literacy

St Michael's English & Literacy Curriculum


Our goal in English is to ensure every child has the self-belief and skill-set to consider themselves a reader and an author. Through an immersion in books – whether that be the latest and/or important high-quality texts readily available to all children, teacher-pupil reading dialogue or text-based topics in English and wider-curriculum lessons – we want all children to develop a strong foundation in English, beginning with developing a lifetime love for reading.


Here at St. Michael’s we are firm believers that the productive writing process is born from the productive process of talk; we place great value on speaking and listening within the writing process. Throughout their journey in English, our young authors will learn to understand the purpose of their writing and always consider who their audience is. Children will be guided through the creative process of writing, igniting and harnessing their imaginations, enabling them to realise they are artists and composers who can select from a range of skills, an ever-broadening vocabulary and grammatical structures to create work which has a desired impact on the reader. Children at St. Michael’s also understand that just like other artists, writers should constantly review their own work, looking for ways to increase the impact of their creation and so proof-reading and editing plays a vitally important role with our English lessons too.

Phonics & Early Reading


To support the teaching of phonics and early reading at St. Michael's CofE First School, we use the DfE validated systematic synthetic phonics programme Read Write Inc.


Read Write Inc. Phonics is a whole-school approach to teaching literacy for 4 to 9-year olds that creates fluent readers, confident speakers and willing writers. It integrates phonics with comprehension, writing, grammar, spelling and handwriting using engaging partner work and drama. 


The essence of the programme is consistency and simplicity and it aims to get children to read well, quickly.

We use a range of fully decodable reading books from Oxford University Press which are aligned with every stage of the phonics programme. Therefore, children are always reading material which is at their phonetic level.


For more information, please visit our Phonics & Early Reading pages by following this link.


To read fluently we need children to have a strong orthographic map. This means that they learn sounds represented by letters or groups of letters in each word and can recognise them immediately. This is fluency. Without it there is no understanding or comprehension. For example, to consistently recognise that "ea" in "bread" spells "e" we need to read it at least four times for it to go into our long term memory.

Reading At KS2 

Our intent for reading at KS2:

  • children to be equipped with the skills to access age appropriate texts.
  • children to be practising their reading everyday in school in order to achieve a high level of fluency.
  • children to be exposed to a range of text types and genres.
  • children to be able to talk about books and stories confidently.
  • children to be responsible for their own book choice, to be able to record their reading and to practise their reading at home




What we are doing to implement reading in KS2 and achieve these aims:

  • Reading is prioritised with a reading lesson every morning in KS2.
  • Storytime everyday
  • Time for children to make guided book choices from the library
  • Time for independent reading of these books
  • Expectations that children will bring their books in and out of school daily and read at home for homework


What happens in daily reading lessons:

  • 1 Extended read – a shared long text
  • 1 Close read – a shared read of a shorter text – lyrics, information, story
  • 1 Library session
  • 2 Fluency sessions to practise oral reading skills.


We assess fluency by:

  • listening to the children read aloud
  • reading speed and accuracy test three times a year.
  • We help children who have not achieved fluency, practise to gain confidence reading aloud in small intervention groups.
  • As in KS1, this rigour was reflected in 2023 KS2 SATS results.


Reading books:

  • Through KS1 books are assigned to children systematically.
  • Children are given texts that are matched to their phonics ability.
  • We assess the children throughout KS1 to see if they are secure enough in decoding to come off decodable books.
  • We continue to give skills books in KS1 and KS2 to children who need more practice in fluency skills before moving onto becoming a guided reader


What it means to be a guided reader:

  • When we have assessed children as fluent enough to move from decodable books and from skills books they progress to becoming a Guided Reader.
  • We will not allow them to fall over the edge of the cliff unguided in their reading!
  • Throughout our lives we are guided in our reading choices, through reviews from peers, publications, sales streams. We take the same approach in school


Reading books

  • Skills books will be taken from the purple and turquoise levels of the scheme. These will have few words on the page so the focus can be on accuracy and prosody. These will be assigned to children by a teacher or assistant.
  • Guided reads will come from the library. Children must show a teacher or assistant their book choice before taking it home. The book is intended to something they will enjoy, something that is just above their reading fluency level to challenge them.
  • Reading spines are books that have been selected for each class on a yearly rotating basis. These have been selected for the range of genre, author and language. They are chosen to complement our curriculum.

How Parents Can Support Reading At Home


There are few better ways to improve children’s chances in school and in the wider world than to support them to become independent readers. This should be a pleasurable activity!


Reading is not just about decoding – it is about understanding language and story, knowledge of vocabulary and of the world around us. All of this is increased through listening and speaking.


Bedtime story – cosy up with a book! Model reading. Yes - it is still possible at KS2! Children of all ages love listening to story!


Ensure that children read for homework daily. It is now prioritised (alongside tables). 20 minutes each night at a minimum.


Ensure that children record these reads in their reading records. Date and pages read. Ensure that children bring their book bags containing reading books and records in and out of school everyday.


Thank you parents for all you do to support this vital learning!

Reading Diary Comments


Listed below are some comments which may help you when writing in the Reading Record to describe how your child has read to you at home. The more information that you can provide in your child’s Reading Record, the more we can help your child in class!

Word reading

  • Read familiar words independently.
  • Was able to recall some of the magical (common exception words).They recognised ‘friend’.
  • Worked out new words using phonics / picture cues / the whole sentence / the first sound of a word.
  • They recognised the ‘sh’ or ‘oa’ sound in some words or throughout the book.
  • Read one word at a time.
  • Could decode technical vocabulary in non-fiction texts.
  • Found it tricky to decode technical vocabulary.


  • Showed good understanding.
  • Did not understand the text.
  • Able to predict what might happen next in the text.
  • Discussed the story and characters well.
  • Struggled to retell main events.
  • Could work out the meaning of technical vocabulary in non-fiction.
  • Needed help to work out the meaning of technical vocabulary.



  • Read with fluency and expression.
  • Read one word at a time.
  • Was able to take full stops / exclamation marks / question marks into account when reading.
  • Needed help to take full stops / exclamation marks / question marks into account when reading.
  • Was able to take into account “ ”.
  • Needed help to take into account “ ”.


  • Enjoyed reading this book a lot.
  • Needed help to concentrate.



  • Self-corrected own errors independently.
  • Needed help to self-correct errors.



  • Able to read this book with some help.
  • Able to read this book with lots of help.
  • Able to read this book independently.


  • Able to identify the type of text (fairytale, story, information etc).
  • Needed help to identify the type of text or purpose of the text.
  • Could use the glossary / contents / index pages appropriately.
  • Needed help to use the glossary / contents / index pages.