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During each phase of the children’s learning in our school, reading is taught and consolidated frequently throughout the week. From the their very first days at school, we want them to foster a love of reading and engagement with literature, that we work to embolden and preserve as they move through our school and into their KS3 education. Children begin their journey with books in Nursery.

To explore our overview of reading at Holy Rood, please click here to see our reading map. 

Reading in EYFS

In the EYFS year groups, children listen to daily stories as well as participating in 1:1 reading with an adult. In Reception, all children will start on the school reading scheme books and begin to participate in their initial Guided Reading sessions. These sessions continue into KS1 and progress across the year groups to provide opportunities to build fluency, strengthen comprehension skills, improve attention to detail and expand their vocabulary in smaller groups. Proficient reading is modelled and explored, with related activities set to build on their reading skills and hone their understanding of the text.

 Providing opportunities for all children to access high quality whole class literature is essential, not only in the EYFS, but, across the school. Teachers use high-quality core texts that come recommended by educational bodies to enhance each Literacy topic, and endeavour to expose their classes to a range of engaging and inspirational texts throughout the year.

Classes in KS1 and KS2 complete weekly comprehension lessons based on their current learning where the teacher can target and build upon reading skills such as decoding, making inferences, predicting and deducing.

Guided Reading and reading in Upper Key Stage 2

 In Years 1-5 children continue to participate in Guided Reading sessions, where the children are able to engage in an age-appropriate, challenging text with the teacher or TA before applying the skills they have developed to a written comprehension work

As they progress through our school, children are increasingly prepared for a curriculum that is accessed through their understanding of written contexts. In Years 5 and 6, reading is incorporated into almost every area of the curriculum where a high quality text extracts are used as the basis of learning across the curriculum, in History, RE and Maths.

In Year 6, children participate in Reading Enrichment sessions, wherein they read and explore in detail a short extract from a series of recommended books. This aims to help the children maintain proficiency with reading and recognise authorial choices, whilst, alongside Free Reading, exposes them to a wealth of genres that will help them to determine their own literary preferences as they move into young adult reading.

Additional Reading Enrichment Opportunities

 We have many wonderful spaces around our school in which the children can engage with books of their choice. Children can listen to and share stories in our Woodland, in our Outside Reading Area (the ORA) and in the school library through which they can also borrow books to read at home. Each classroom has a wonderful and welcoming Reading Area or class library in which children can choose their own books to read and access a range of age-appropriate texts both in line with their learning and for pleasure. 

During October, we hold our annual Book Week, which aims to immerse the children in a week of newly sought, engaging literature, further reading opportunities and a passion for sharing stories and learning from what we read. Both children and parents are encouraged to embrace reading during this week, with information sent home about how families can actively engage with the theme of the week. Recent themes have included: Bedtime Stories, Immigration and this year our Book Week was entitled Our Common Home which helped children to understand what they could learn about our environment from reading books.  

Diversity in our English Curriculum

At Holy Rood we have been increasing diverse representation in our chosen texts and the books that the children have access to.  We understand that children engage with literature more when they can see themselves reflected in what they read. Teachers have made conscious choices in broadening the range of class books available to their pupils and have amended some of their core texts to better reflect the world we live in. Children are encouraged to engage critically with representation and challenge stereotypes in the some of the classic literature that remains on the curriculum, and to respond openly about how what they read makes them feel.

If you would like to add more diverse books to your children’s collection at home, here are some recommendations:


Birthday Books

Birthday Books is a new initiative that we have implemented this year whereby on their birthday, children can donate a book of their choice to the school library. This not only helps to keep our library stock up-to-date and full of the children’s favourite books but also acts as a recommended reading service between the students!

 Support with reading

Parent and Carer reading meeting presentation slides

A guide on how to access your child's eBook

6 Key Questions to ask when reading at home with a KS2 child. 

Suggested Reading Lists Year 1-Year 6

You can access the Herts Children’s Library system here for reading challenges, clubs, homework help and new additions to the library catalogue.

Reading Area Competition 2022-2023

Miss McNeill, our English lead, as one of her subject priorities wanted to promote a positive reading culture in our school for our children. Therefore, we launched a competition for each class to design and create the most imaginative and exciting Reading Area in their classroom which inspires children to want to spend time there reading their books and becoming immersed in a text-rich environment. Every class in the school was involved, from Nursery to year 6, in designing this age-appropriate reading haven, and the competition was judged by a published author called Kaye Umansky. The winning class, as chosen by Kate, received a prize which has been donated by the MacMahon family when their final child left Holy Rood at the end of the last academic year.

Kaye was very impressed by the reading corners she saw and said ‘I really enjoyed looking through the reading areas - so hard to decide on the winners! I involved my husband and daughter too.’ Kaye (and her family) chose the following winners: 1 st place – Reception Newman 2nd place – Nursery 3 rd place- 1Alban.

Congratulations to our winning classes and the adults who supported in creating these wonderful spaces for children to read and thank you to Kaye Umansky for judging this competition.