St Michael with St John Church of England Primary School

Nurture, Inspire, Achieve.

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Welcome to the English page!


Our English Intent Statement

At St Michael with St John, the majority of our pupils have English as an additional language and therefore, the acquisition of language is given high priority.  Spoken language, reading and writing are integral to the whole language experience and we provide opportunities for children to develop these essential skills in English lessons and across the curriculum. 


Our English curriculum is designed to meet the needs of all pupils from our diverse heritage groups, preparing them as fully as possible for their next phase of education.  Our mission statement underpins all aspects of the school’s work, informs school development and shapes the school environment and our curriculum.  It is firmly based upon on our belief that, ‘with God all things are possible’.  This is encapsulated in our motto: Nurture, Inspire, Achieve.


Nurture: We care for, support and protect our children whilst they are growing and learning with us and encourage them to do the same for each other and the wider community.  We recognise that the ability to read and write is one of the most important skills that we can teach our children from the very earliest age.  This begins in our EYFS with the systematic teaching of phonics, letter formation and sentence structure.


Inspire: We inspire each child to become confident, inquiring citizens with an enthusiasm and desire to learn and explore.  We value and promote language acquisition through reading, writing and the development of oracy, so that children understand that these essential skills will enable them to be successful in English lessons and other areas of the curriculum.


Achieve: We develop each child to be capable of achieving in life, to develop academically and socially, and to succeed in school and beyond.  Through our immersive styles of teaching, all children are expected to use and apply their developing spoken and written language in English lessons and across all areas of the curriculum. This ensures that all pupils, especially the many who arrive at our school with little or no English, leave us fully able to do so.


Our curriculum is tailored to maximise pupils’ interest and curiosity for learning.  We provide a variety of first hand experiences to stimulate learning, placing a strong focus on the independent application of the essential skills and new vocabulary.  


At St Michael with St John, we are following the programmes of study for English from the National Curriculum.  Detailed schemes of work may be viewed in school on request.  For more information regarding Reading and Writing, please refer to the policies below.


The explicit teaching of reading is placed very highly as part of the reading curriculum:



Please refer to the separate ‘Phonics’ tab for information about how we teach phonics and early reading in school.


In addition to a daily phonics session, children in Reception have a weekly Guided Reading session with the teacher.  During this session, the teacher systematically teaches the skills of reading.


Year 1 to Year 6

Whole class reading across school takes place at 1.00pm to 1.25pm in all classes and is led by the class teacher. Each year group has an overview mapping out carefully selected texts for the year.  There is one text type allocated per week, which follows a cycle of fiction – non-fiction – poetry.  Each day has a focus on a different reading domain.  Please refer to our Reading Policy for more information.


The Assessment of Reading

Assessing reading involves examining pupils’ competence in both word reading and comprehension.  Rich opportunities to gather evidence include reading through the English unit, whole class reading, phonics sessions, shared reading, drama and intervention sessions.  Teachers also look out also for wider opportunities to gather evidence such as reading in other subjects, class assemblies and independent reading.


Summative assessments are also completed on a termly basis (half-termly in Y2 and Y6) by using a range of assessment materials e.g. National Foundation for Education Research (NFER) assessments, past SATS papers and Rising Stars (PIRA) assessments.


Reading for Pleasure

Reading for pleasure is given a high priority at SMSJ.  We hold an annual Super Reading Week in October and celebrate World Book Day in March, during which our children have access to a variety of reading experiences, including visits from local authors & visits to Blackburn Central Library.  Reading Buddy sessions take place on a half-termly basis and children enjoy sharing stories with children from a different class.  We have a fantastic school library which is open at lunchtimes and children enjoy collecting stamps on their library loyalty card.  We also celebrate ‘Author of the Month’ and have lots of competitions for the children to take part in.  Our school book shop offers a range of popular fiction and non-fiction titles which we sell at cost price.


Other ways of promoting reading include:


Star Reads

Each class has an on-going ‘Star Read’ – these are a core of books from the Pie Corbett Reading Spine which ‘create a living library inside a child’s mind’.  The Star Read is timetabled to promote reading for pleasure and enjoyment. It is an expectation that the children should be able to talk confidently about the star-read books, what they’re about and the author of each book by the end of the year.


Classroom Reading Corners

Each classroom has a reading corner which promotes reading for pleasure and provides children with a comfortable place to enjoy a good book. 

Browse Our Classroom Reading Corners!

Online Reading Platforms - New for September 2020!


Reading Eggs (EYFS and Key Stage 1)   

We are excited to announce that your child now has access to Reading Eggs at school – the fun and effective program that teaches children how to read!  Reading Eggs is designed to get your child motivated and excited about reading. Your child will now be able to access the program in class and at home.

This guide details all the features and benefits of Reading Eggs and how it can teach your child to
read. We hope you and your child enjoy the learning to read adventure with Reading Eggs.  Please encourage your child to use Reading Eggs at home on a regular basis.


Reading Plus (Key Stage 2) 

We are delighted to have launched a new online reading program called Reading Plus for our children in Key Stage 2.  Reading Plus teaches children to be stronger readers. It does this by developing silent reading fluency (reading speed), then introducing more complex stories (for comprehension), and advanced vocabulary (for knowledge). Children have access to 800+ high quality online texts that are constantly updated and adapted to meet every child’s needs, regardless of what level they are reading at. Teachers can monitor exactly what and how children are reading, meaning they can offer the right kind of support when needed.


Your child has now received a username and password and Reading Plus can be accessed on any device at any time.  Please encourage your child to use the program regularly as it really will make a difference.  The school code is rpstmic5 – your child may need to use this when they first log in.  This guide explains more about Reading Plus.

Story time with Mr Simpson

Here are some of the most popular children’s stories, shared by our very own, super-talented Mr Simpson!  Click on the book cover below and enjoy!


The Gruffalo


The Gingerbread Man



Someone Bigger



Owl Babies


Not Now, Bernard


The Three Billy Goats Gruff

The Tiger Who Came to Tea



Mrs McTats and Her Houseful of Cats


The Gruffalo's Child


Six Dinner Sid



Where the Wild Things Are

Farmer Duck

Supertato - Veggies in the Valley of Doom


The Snail and the Whale


The Scariest Thing of All



Mr Brave



I'm Not Your Friend



The Giant's Loo Roll


Dave the Lonely Monster


Room on the Broom


Little Miss Trouble



The Wind in the Willows

Harry and the Dinosaurs Go to School

A Squash and a Squeeze


I Don't Want to Go to Bed




The Smartest Giant in Town


I Want to Go Home


Charlie Cook's Favourite Book


Mr Cheerful


I Want Two Birthdays


The Truth Pixie


I Want To Do It Myself


Puss in Boots



Cave Baby


Aliens Love Underpants


Peace At Last



Moon Rabbit




Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type




Barry the Fish with Fingers and the Hairy Scary Monster




Only One You

Pirates Love Underpants


My Grandmother's Clock


Winnie's Magic Wand


Pumpkin Soup


A Home for

Mr Tipps


Shark in the Park


Come On, Daisy!


Lost and Found


The Colour Monster

The Colour Monster Goes to School

The Dinosaur that Pooped the Past


Giraffes Can't Dance


Zog and the Flying Doctors


Keith the Cat and the Magic Hat


The Heart and the Bottle


Doug the Bug that Went Boing


Amazing Grace

Emily Brown and the Thing


The Flower

The Three Little Pigs


Hansel and Gretel





George and the Dragon



Why Elephant has a Trunk



Little Miss Bossy


The Highway Rat


Emoji Reading


Writing is integral to our children’s whole language experience and takes place in the English lesson on a daily basis.  In addition to this, we provide opportunities for children to develop their writing across the curriculum and apply the skills learned in English lessons.  There is one planned 'Writing Across the Curriculum' opportunity per subject, per half term. 


We provide additional extended writing opportunities through half-termly ‘Big Writes’.  This approach incorporates a ‘wow’ or learning experience that is designed to motivate children and encourage them to want to write.  Learning experiences are linked to our Super Learning Days/Weeks.  Examples include: author visits during Super Reading Week, First Aid/CPR training during Safety Week and special visitors e.g. a Team GB Paralympian basketball player during Active & Healthy Me Week.


The development of spoken language at SMSJ is of paramount importance, given that the vast majority of our children have English as an Additional Language.  Therefore, oracy plays a crucial role in all areas of the curriculum.  Strategies include regular end of unit presentations, drama, performance poetry, class Collective Worships, public speaking and debate.  On Tuesdays, we are very fortunate to have local actor Paul Simpson in school who works with the children on oracy.  It is wonderful to see our children's confidence being nurtured and they love to receive Mr Simpson's weekly 'Pineapple of Bravery' award!


Our school takes part in the annual debating and public speaking competitions and we were delighted to come first (for the second year running) in the public speaking competition and winners of the debating competition in 2019.  This is a great achievement for us and is testament to the hard work of our children, staff and their families.

Pineapple of Bravery Award for Oracy

Debating Competition Winners