Reading at Pallister Park Primary School
At Pallister Park Primary, we aim to encourage a love of reading that will remain with our children for the rest of their lives. We acknowledge that a broad and balanced reading diet provides children of all ages with the opportunity to develop across the curriculum, gain greater knowledge of the wider world and challenge perspectives on a range of social and cultural issues.
The Mechanics of Reading – Once children have acquired the skills they need to decode, we have a fully-resourced Oxford Reading Scheme which includes a range of genres, caters for a variety of interests and has a high-interest level. This operates alongside our year group libraries which are filled with age-appropriate books and authors. A member of staff reads with the children on a one-to-one basis frequently in order to improve fluency and comprehension skills. In upper KS2, children have access to the online platform, ‘Reading Plus’ which appropriately matches text to their level of fluency and comprehension.
Reading for Understanding – From Y2 onwards, we use the John Murray approach to teach reading for understanding a minimum of four times per week. We use ‘Reading Explorers’ as our reading model to ensure consistency and explore a range of different genres which includes fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Children familiarise themselves with a single text over the course of the week and apply the different skills they need in order to enjoy reading further. In doing so, the children are able to establish a mental model of what they have read.
Reading for Pleasure – Our staff read to the children every day. We recognise the importance of modelling the process of reading in order to improve understanding and increase enjoyment. In KS1, each year group has a selection of ‘Favourite Five’ books which they access throughout the year, embedding familiar story patterns and extending their knowledge of factual and imaginary worlds.
In KS2, a carefully chosen reading spine provides a high-level of interest and often enhances the children’s knowledge of the wider topics they cover in class, challenging their understanding of the world around them by adopting Ruth Miskin’s window and mirror approach. Our year group libraries include a range of texts that are carefully curated by teachers. We encourage staff to have ownership of the reading and update their reading-spine books in order to achieve greater success. Our belief is that children enjoy the books our teachers are most passionate about.
At Pallister, we have made a commitment to giving our children a book on their birthday, at Christmas and on World Book Day as a minimum. They are also able to choose form a range of books if they are awarded ‘Pupil of the Week!’
We participate in a number of local events, expose the children to a range of authors and enjoy themed days in order to embed a positive reading culture.
Phonics at Pallister Park Primary School
We use the systematic Read Write Inc (RWI) phonics program for our early reading teaching. Sessions run daily in groups where children are taught to recognise sounds, read decodable green words, red tricky words and alien words. They then practise spelling these words and writing them down. Children are taught to apply their phonics skills and improve fluency through correctly matched Read write inc story books used during these sessions in school.
All staff receive training and regular updates with development opportunities. This ensures continuity and strengthens staff confidence in delivering the sessions. Our school has invested heavily in Ruth Miskin Training to develop a team of expert reading teachers, we have held a whole school staff training day in September 2021. We have taken part in Ruth Miskin development days in May 2022 and most recently in February 2023. Development days ensure we externally validate our fidelity to the RWI scheme. Members from Ruth Miskin Training come into school and work alongside teachers in order to strengthen our school’s ability, to consistently teach reading to all of our children.
Children’s progress in phonics is closely tracked and children are regularly assessed and regrouped as appropriate. Reading leaders track progress and identify children who require 1:1 intervention which is then implemented in order for children to catch up. Reading leaders take part in remote progress meetings with official RWI trainers in order to best meet our children’s emerging needs.
If children require additional support in phonics as they transition in to KS2, they participate in daily Read, Write Inc sessions in Y3 and Y4 before moving onto the Fresh Start scheme if required in Y5 and Y6.
EYFS/KS1 Home Reading Books
Home reading books are phonics based and exactly match our phonics program to ensure books closely match the sounds learned by children. Children take these home and parents are encouraged to support their children in reading these. There are also activities and questions for them to complete in the front and back of the books.
Children’s progress through the reading levels is again closely tracked and once they reach the higher levels of the KS1 reading scheme they can progress to a wider range of take home books containing all taught sounds. These books containing all taught sounds allow children to improve their reading confidence before using the reading plus scheme.
In the summer term all Year 1 children take part in a phonics check, this is a statutory national test in which the children read 20 real words and 20 pseudo words (non-sense /alien words).
EYFS/KS1 Our ‘Favourite Five’
One of the core priorities of our school is to encourage reading for pleasure. We have created a set of ‘Favourite Five’ books within every year group across EYFS and key stage one. Regular reading of these books has been intended for the following reasons:
Vocabulary and Word Recognition
The more your child reads, the larger their vocabulary becomes. When your child reads or hears the same book multiple times, they become familiar and comfortable with a greater number of words.
Pattern and Rhythm
Hearing favourite stories read aloud helps your child become aware of the pattern and rhythm of text. Language is more than just words — it’s how words sound and connect to each other. Parents can model the rhythms of reading for children who are just learning how language works.
Repetitive reading allows your child to read without stumbling or stopping, and reading time becomes more pleasant for everyone. Once your child masters one book, it makes moving on to another more appealing.
Reading comprehension is the ability to understand all the components of a story — from plot to character development to symbolism. Each time your child reads or hears a book read to them, they learn more about the story itself. Each pass through the text or illustrations allows them to dive deeper into the story’s meaning, preparing them for more complex narratives down the road.