English is central to our day at St Michael’s. Teachers have created a rich and diverse curriculum that centres around a range of high-quality books in which the children can immerse themselves. These are the inspiration for writing for a wide range of purposes as well as encouraging love of literature and the pursuit of knowledge.
“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”
At St Michael’s we want all children to leave us with a deep love of literature, a vibrant imagination and an excellent understanding of the written word. Children are taught reading both through discrete phonics sessions as well as through their English lessons. Other curriculum subjects also incorporate reading to ensure children are exposed to books that cover a wide variety of topics. This approach has ensured that we can continue to drive our excellent standards of reading and writing in the school.
We have a structured reading scheme. All children in Reception to Year 3 and some children in Years 4 to 6, have a reading scheme book which is changed regularly.
Reception to Year 2
Children have a daily phonics session using the systematic synthetic phonics approach where they practise segmenting and blending to support their fluency. They also take part in regular 1:1 reading sessions with an adult to practise fluency and comprehension skills.
English lessons (Year 1-2), based around a class book, allow them to explore a variety of stories and non-fiction books as well as practise their reading skills in a whole class setting. Story-time is an important time of the day and teachers select a variety of stories ranging from classics to books specifically chosen to represent our diverse school community.
Years 3 to 6
In addition to practising reading skills in a whole class setting through their class text in English, children have separate comprehension lessons. In these lessons, individual reading skills and strategies are taught to ensure children have a well-rounded understanding of what makes a good reader. Our fantastic school library is stocked with every genre of book including the newest titles and every class has a slot where they can browse, discuss recommendations with our librarian and decide on their book for the week.
Children who need additional support in reading, take part in daily 1:1 readings sessions with an adult.
“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.”
At St Michael’s we believe that every child can be an excellent writer and should be able to express themselves through their writing.
Our writing curriculum (in-line with the 2013 national curriculum) is based around high-quality and engaging books that allow the children to become engrossed in the story and language. Reading, drama and speaking and listening activities are carefully planned so the children can explore the characters, the style, structure and features of the text in depth. These are combined with grammar lessons that introduce new concepts as well as consolidate previous learning. Children are taught how to write in a variety of genres, through modelling and sharing ideas, they then practise their writing skills before producing a final piece of writing.
Spelling & Handwriting
We understand that spelling and handwriting are crucial skills that support writing fluency and the ability to express yourself accurately. With this end in mind, spelling and handwriting are taught in separate sessions and revisited regularly during English lessons.
Our phonics programme is a systematic, synthetic phonics approach that has been adapted from Letters and Sounds. All children in Reception, Year 1 & Year 2 take part in a daily phonics session. This not only allows them to practise their reading skills but also develop an understanding of phonic spelling rules and letter formation. Years 1 and 2 also follow the national curriculum spelling rules set out for their year group. The children are taught cursive handwriting following the Nelson Handwriting scheme.
In Years 3 to 6, spelling and handwriting are taught regularly and discretely throughout the week. They also follow the Nelson Handwriting scheme and the spelling rules set out in the 2013 National Curriculum’s Appendix 1 for spelling. Spellings are sent home to practise as part of homework.