Overall Aims of English at

St. Michael's

Overall Aims:

We aim to:

  • develop each child’s knowledge, skills and understanding of English to the highest level through speaking and listening, reading and writing

  • to produce confident, literate children, able to understand, enjoy and use appropriately the variety of language available to them.

  • give children a safe and secure environment, which provides encouragement for the development of all aspects of Literacy.

  • We aim to ensure that there is equality of access and opportunity for all children to develop their English skills.

  • We aim to develop a close partnership between school and parents in order to maximise the learning potential of our pupils.

  • We seek to ensure that all children achieve their full potential in all aspects of English by the time they move from Primary to Secondary Education.

At St. Michael’s school we strive for children to be ‘literate pupils’. We aim for children to be able to:

· Read, write and speak with confidence, fluency and understanding.

· Speak confidently and clearly, adapting what they say and how they say it to the purpose and audience.

· Listen, understand and respond appropriately to what others have to say.

· Understand the connections between the spoken and the written word.

· Be able to orchestrate a full range of strategies and cues (phonic, graphic, syntactic, contextual) to monitor their own reading and writing and to correct their own mistakes.

· Understand a range of text types and genres (fiction and non-fiction) and be able to write in a variety of styles and forms appropriate to the audience and purpose.

· Be able to plan, draft, revise and edit their own writing.

· Develop fluent and legible handwriting.

· Have an interest in words and their meanings, developing a growing vocabulary in spoken and written forms.

· Have an interest in books, read with enjoyment and understanding, evaluating and justifying their preferences.

· Discuss reading and writing comprehensively, expressing opinions, explaining techniques and justifying choices, about a wide range of fiction and non-fiction texts, using suitable technical vocabulary.

· Through reading and writing, develop their powers of imagination, inventiveness and critical awareness.

Phonics Scheme

St Michael’s CofE Primary School follows the newly accredited Essential Letters and Sounds phonics scheme to ensure the consistent teaching of high quality phonics.

Further information about Essential Letters and Sounds can be found by viewing this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7sJ8IOOMJGs

How do we teach Phonics at St Michael’s?

At St Michael’s, we start by teaching phonics in Nursery, building knowledge and skills in Reception and Key stage 1.

The six phases of the Essential Letters and Sounds provides a structure for the class teachers to follow and plan children’s progression.

The EYFS and KS1 staff will carefully adapt their planning to meet the needs of the children within their class. The teacher’s individual assessments will inform the rate at which the children are able to progress through the phrases and adapt their pace accordingly, offering closing-the-gap interventions immediately if required.

How you can help at home

Learn how to pronounce all 44 phonics sounds, or phonemes, used in the English language by accessing this video:


Pronouncing Phase 2 sounds (Reception class)

Pronouncing Phase 3 sounds (Reception class)

Pronouncing Phase 5 sounds (Reception and Year 1 class)

How to read a story to your child

If you can find the time beforehand, read the read-aloud book to yourself first, so you can think about how you’re going to read it to your child.

On the first reading:

• Make reading aloud feel like a treat. Make it a special quiet time and cuddle up so you can both see the book.

• Show curiosity about what you’re going to read: ‘This book looks interesting. It’s about an angry child. I wonder how angry he gets…’

• Read through the whole story the first time without stopping too much. Let the story weave its own magic.

• Read with enjoyment. If you’re not enjoying it, your child won’t. Read favourite stories over and over again.

On later readings:

• Let your child pause, think about and comment on the pictures.

• If you think your child did not understand something, try to explain: ‘Oh! I think what’s happening here is that…’

• Chat about the story and pictures: ‘I wonder why she did that?’; ‘Oh no, I hope she’s not going to…’; ‘I wouldn’t have done that, would you?’

• Link the stories to your own family experiences: ‘This reminds me of when …’

• Link stories to others that your child knows: ‘Ah! Do you remember the

dragon in ….? Do you remember what happened to him?’

• Encourage your child to join in with the bits they know.

• Avoid asking questions to test what your child remembers.

• Avoid telling children that reading stories is good for them

Please click below for information from the Essential Letters and Sounds Information session:

ELS Parent Information PP.pdf

Curriculum Highlights

The Masked Reader

Post lockdown, the whole school enjoyed taking part in The Masked Reader.

Eight school staff members read a section of their favourite childhood book under a disguise and with a different voice and the pupils had to guess which staff member was reading to them. The winning pupils were Freddie from Key Stage 1 and Libby from Key Stage 2. It was a fun event and it was great to see the teaching staff share their favourite books with the school.


Across the school, the pupils spent the day undertaking numerous word and writing challenges and learning about the etymology of words, synonyms, antonyms and played games to build their word power.

We learnt how much of the English language is heavily influenced by Latin and Greek and that we can associate many English words with Latin and Greek words. We played games to improve our vocabulary, such as Call My Bluff and Pointless, and we used thesauruses to find synonyms to create our own Word Clouds. In the afternoon we took part in the Five Sentence Challenge where we had to write creatively and finish a given story in just five creative sentences. The pupils used their senses, wh- words and figurative language to enhance their writing. There were prizes for the top three writers in each class.

The pupils learnt that in order to improve their word power, that they should read daily and should always use dictionaries and thesauruses to check their understanding of words. They should also try and use new words they learn regularly and adopt them as part of their everyday vocabulary.

Some new words that the pupils learnt on the day include:

  • hangry (adjective) - bad-tempered or irritable as a result of hunger

  • plogging (noun) - a recreational activity, originating in Sweden, that combines jogging with picking up litter.

  • funambulist (noun) - a tightrope walker

  • gasconade (noun) - extravagant boasting

  • peterman (noun) - a safecracker

Visit from Martin Impey, Author and Illustrator

Year 6 Shakespeare Workshop, retelling the play 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'

Year 6 wrote and told Horror stories as part of their work on genre fictions.

Year 1 have been writing spaghetti poems.

Year 1 have been reading The Hungry Caterpillar.

Useful Links