English: Writing 

Talk for Writing - National Showcase School

Talk for Writing (TfW) Showcase Schools offer open mornings where teachers and leaders from other schools can see TfW in action in the classroom. During the open mornings, visitors are able to see teaching and learning in the classroom using TfW and look at books and outcomes. They are also provided with the opportunity to speak with leadership about the implementation of TfW and learn from the school's improvement journey. 

St. Michael's is one of four TfW Showcase Schools nationally. We are immensely proud of our status as a TfW Showcase School. 

English Curriculum Map 2023-24

How we teach writing:

English (Talk for Writing)

St. Michael’s is a one-form entry primary school close to the centre of Birmingham. We celebrate the diversity of our children, with the vast majority of our pupils coming from minority ethnic groups and with 16 different languages spoken at home. As a result, we believe 'talk' is vitally important across the curriculum and recognise the power that it has to create avid storytellers and writers.

In July 2023, St. Michael's became an accredited Talk for Writing Showcase School appointed by Pie Corbett. The Talk for Writing team recognised the successful implementation and leadership of English. We started our Talk for Writing journey in 2021 and instantly knew that the primacy on ‘talk’ would not only result in confident storytellers, but children who possess a command of literary language, both orally and in written form. We take great pride in our rich and ambitious curriculum, with texts that: reflect the community that we serve, challenge stereotypes, affirm identity and provide excellent models of literacy.

Talk for Writing is an engaging teaching framework developed by Pie Corbett, supported by Julia Strong. It is particularly powerful because it is based on the principles of how children learn. It enables children to imitate the language they need for a particular topic orally, before reading and analysing it, and then writing their own innovated version prior to formulating their own independent writing.

The Talk for Writing approach enables children to read and write independently for a variety of audiences and purposes within different subjects. A key feature is that children internalise the language structures needed to write through ‘talking the text’, as well as close reading. The approach moves from dependence towards independence, with the teacher using shared and guided teaching to develop the ability in children to write creatively and powerfully.

Here at St. Michael’s, we underpin our English work by establishing a core reading spine of quality fiction, poetry and non-fiction that all children experience and draw upon. Imaginative units of work are developed to create a whole-school plan that is refined over the years, is well-resourced and documented allowing teachers to focus on adapting their teaching for children’s learning.


In pursuit of building a rich English curriculum, we are intent on making our poetry provision one which possesses creative content, opens doors to new knowledge and is inherently challenging. This depth and challenge in our poetry texts allows:

  1. Teachers to model reading challenging texts with expert prosody;
  2. Additional opportunity to develop reading and comprehension;
  3. Opportunity for children to develop fluency;
  4. The study of the relationship between poet and audience and the impact on the reader;
  5. Exposure to a greater breadth and depth of vocabulary.

At St. Michael’s, we pride ourselves on providing a poetry curriculum, where the majority of poems stem from Bob Cox: Opening Doors anthology. At its heart, it has equity and excellence, social justice and inclusion. Some of our units include:

Year 6 studying the emotive and touching ‘Sympathy’ by Paul Laurence Dunbar, as well as Year 3 studying the classic narrative poem ‘The Pied Piper of Hamelin’ by Robert Browning. This degree of rigour and challenge is reflective of the entirety of our English curriculum and it allows children to see the world of literature in a different light.


Our English curriculum includes a high-quality provision of non-fiction texts, which are reflective of the daily texts encountered in our digital information age. Our non-fiction provision allows children to access knowledge from different disciplines, challenges stereotypes, reflect the current lived experiences of our children and is inherently challenging. This depth and challenge in our non-fiction texts allows:

  1. Teachers to model reading challenging texts with expert prosody;
  2. Greater knowledge acquisition;
  3. Opportunity for children to further develop fluency;
  4. The study of the relationship between author and audience and the impact on the reader;
  5. Teaching of vocabulary, non-fiction voice and presentational features;
  6. Teaching of the specific reading knowledge, skills and strategies that non-fiction texts require;
  7. Understanding of how non-fiction texts can be used as a meaningful stimulus for children’s own real world and independent writing;
  8. Children to draw on reader knowledge to make careful choices around voice, language and presentation in their own information writing.


At the heart of our English curriculum is a provision of high-quality fictional texts, which provide an excellent model of literary integrity, exceptional vocabulary and reflect the context of children that we teach. Our provision of fictional texts allows children to experience varying plot structures, including but not limited to; tales where the character embarks on a journey, stories where there is a beast for the protagonist to overcome or texts where the main characters lose an important object that must be found. Within these plot structures, children will be taught ‘tools’ rather than rules, of how to:

  1. Create carefully crafted openings and endings;
  2. Bring their characters alive through detailed characterisation;
  3. Develop vivid settings and suspense that contribute to the writing as a whole;
  4. Craft dialogue that moves the story forward and reveals the depth of character;
  5. Use description across a range of writing, including poetry and non-fiction.

The depth and challenge in our fictional texts allows:

  1. Teachers to model reading challenging texts with expert prosody;
  2. Opportunity for children to further develop vocabulary and fluency;
  3. The study of the relationship between author and audience and the impact on the reader;
  4. Exposure to a wide and diverse range of authors, illustrators, genres and forms;
  5. Children to see themselves reflected in what they read and write about and to have the opportunity to investigate other lives, worlds and perspectives;
  6. Exposure to books that are worth revisiting, re-reading and provide the opportunity to respond in a variety of creative ways.


Our enacted curriculum enables pupils to become fluent in key transcriptional components and grammar, so they become increasingly accurate writers.

Daily practice gives the children from EYFS to Year 6 the opportunity to practice transcription, spelling and grammar and build fluency and automaticity. We aim to build this fluency early as we recognise that this will free up children cognitively to focus on content and composition. Children are able then to ‘transfer’ not only in English, but across the wider curriculum.

Unit Coverage Document

Example: Year 5 - Summer Units (Fiction, Poetry and Non-Fiction)  All year groups and units have an accompanying 'Unit Coverage' document.

English: Reading


At St. Michael's, we recognise reading as the ‘master key’ that grants access to knowledge in the curriculum and opens opportunities in the wider world. As a result, reading will be wide and varied; providing children with the skills and knowledge that equips them with the mechanics and the background knowledge necessary to both access and enjoy rich literature.

At St. Michael's, reading is at the heart of our curriculum and influences, complements and enriches all other academic subjects that we teach.


At St. Michael's, we provide a balanced approach to reading and throughout their time here, children will experience the following:

A Balanced Approach to Reading at St. Michael’s CE Academy:


  • Early Reading (Systematic teaching of Phonics)
  • 1:1 Reading
  • Guided Reading (Teacher guides)


  • Guided Reading (Teacher guides)
  • 1:1 Reading

KS2 and Year 2

  • Whole class Reading

Whole School

  • Independent Reading
  • Reading aloud to children (daily)


  • 1:1 Reading (Reading Intervention Champion)

We encourage all of our children to read every day, both in school and at home.  The children are taught to read through a structured and systematic programme that develops skills upon entry to Reception.

Quickly following on from early reading and accessing ‘matched’ books, the children progress to comprehension and enjoying a range of high-quality texts which have been chosen based on the National Curriculum Programme of Study. Regular reading sessions also provide opportunities for encouraging and embedding reading for pleasure. Similarly, whole class texts and teacher read aloud books for each year group are ambitious and reflect the realities within our school, including but not limited to ‘faith’ and ‘cultural heritage’. 

Windows, Mirrors and Doors

“To experience people, cultures and worlds beyond your own can deepen and enrich a reader’s understanding of the world and their place in it.”

– CLPE Reflecting Realities 2020

Windows: The texts within our reading curriculum are ‘windows’ which allow the children to witness lives, stories and experiences that are different from their own and develop a pivotal social/emotional competence - empathy.

Mirrors: Our rich reading curriculum is a ‘mirror’, which allows children to see themselves reflected in the pages of the books that we study. This includes characters, subject matter and themes that are identifiable, relatable and nuanced.

Doors: Additionally, our texts become ‘sliding glass doors’ where the children feel transported into ‘other’ worlds and they experience powerful knowledge that takes them beyond what they currently experience.

In Early Years and Year 1 the children are taught reading individually, in a small (guided) group and within the whole class using a variety of texts.  All of the children have the opportunity to study and discuss the same high-quality reading texts. 

From Year 2 to Year 6 our children are taught via a ‘Whole Class Reading’ approach, whereby all children have the opportunity to study and discuss the same texts. These texts are rich in ambitious and challenging vocabulary and this is present in our fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts. Additionally, in reading sessions the children will also read ‘embedded texts’ that provide background knowledge and support their understanding of the main text.  During these sessions they will have the opportunity to discuss texts, orally answer questions and practice reading fluency.

This also includes opportunities for:

  • Choral reading
  • Echo reading
  • Accountable independent reading

For those children who require additional reading support, they will also take part in additional supported sessions to develop fluency and comprehension simultaneously. We have a 1:1 reading fluency intervention programme, which is based on the ‘Hertfordshire Reading Fluency Project’.

Reading Spine 

First published in 2017, the CLPE Reflecting Realities report highlights the need for more books aimed at ages 3-11 to feature a character who is black, Asian or minority ethnic.  We passionately believe our pupils should be able to 'see themselves' in the books that we read in school. The document below lists the books that we read from EYFS to Year 6. 

Reading Content Domains Progression 

Reading Content Domain Coverage