Reading at John Henry Newman

In order to raise levels of attainment and improve the progress of pupils reading we have restructured our existing books in school based on the Oxford Bands.

There are 6 Bands in the Oxford Criteria. Band 1 equates to a Year 1 reader, Band 6 to a Year 6 reader. The re-structuring at JHN has been done adhering to these Bands.

They ensure measured and excellent progression and cover all necessary genres. Each level includes all the following genres:-

  • Letters and Sounds (Phonics)
  • High Frequency Words
  • Fiction
  • Non-fiction (letters and sounds and high frequency words based)
  • Poetry
  • Real Books (Colour banded)
  • Traditional Tales
  • Classics
  • Playscripts
  • Graphic Novels
In the early stages – until children have progressed through phase 6 letters and sounds and have consolidated their ability to read a minimum of 200 High Frequency words, in and out of context – it is crucial the children read these books in order as set out in the reading record sheets/on the book boxes and as shown in the Reading Scheme document to ensure continuity in their learning.

Using this methodology will ensure children develop the crucial ability to understand and be able to discuss in detail the content of each text read regardless of genre. They will read text appropriately whilst making consistent progress through the bands.

Each box contains a variety of genres and each Oxford level incorporates all genres. There will at times be a mis-match in children’s ability to read different texts. This is due to children’s familiarity with one genre over another i.e. non-fiction and poetry are often more of a challenge as children aren’t so familiar with reading such texts as they are with fiction. For example, Oxford Reading Tree “The Magic Key” series incorporate the development of High Frequency words. It is widely acknowledged that the HF words lists were drawn up from the ORT series. This series supports the child’s ability to read in context from the beginning and develop the ability to discuss events, characters, settings etc. These books should be read in one session to support this development fully.

The re-structuring of our resources to adhere to the Oxford Bands will blend together all necessary reading skills in a more effective methodology and ensure all children make excellent progress and read for pleasure.

To enable us at JHN to give our children the opportunity to achieve their potential, we need to ensure coverage in a consistent, progressive way of all genres. It has been necessary to supplement our existing resources as many genres were missing from our resources. The following resources have been purchased 

  • Project X Phonics – Bands 1 and 2 , Letters and Sounds 1-6. This is a progressive programme linking Letters and Sounds teaching to using and applying in context of story books. Consolidation is built in.
  • Project X (first and only progressive reading programme taking children through to Band 6 readers. (Same characters as Project X Phonics).
  • Code X Intervention Programme used here at JHN. This uses the same characters so children on intervention can use Project X alongside and then continue on the School Reading Scheme providing continuity.
Current evidence and research shows clearly that children who become free readers in Primary School are failing to make further progress once structure and management is withdrawn.

Children’s free choices in reading usually entail choices of favourite authors/genres. Most children did not chose books from all genres so, once at secondary school, children found it difficult to access:-

  • Non-fiction – Science, History, Geography etc.
  • Poetry
  • Classics
  • Playscripts
  • Fiction at a higher level using different writing styles and more challenging vocabulary

Most children stopped reading books on a regular basis.

Project X creators focused on three main areas:-

  1. Re-engaging disengaged/reluctant readers especially boys.
  2. Linking Letters & Sounds and High Frequency words in a progressive programme.
  3. Linking Letters and Sounds/High Frequency Words in fiction and non-fiction texts.

At each theme there are 5 books in a cluster – 2 fiction, 2 non-fiction and 1 crossing both genres.

Alien Adventures is a 100% de-codable series linked to Letters and Sounds.

It introduces nonsense words (Aliens words) in line with Phonics KS1 tests. Will raise standard in Phonics Screening and avoid any inappropriate teaching to the test.

Poetry Series. High Frequency Word (HF) and Letters and Sounds based. Works on themes for good, cross-curricular links. Reading poetry makes different demands on the child from other genres.

Traditional Tales Series. Again Letters and Sounds, HF word based ensuring careful progression alongside other series. As part of the National Curriculum all children are expected to know/have read a wide range of Traditional Tales and understand that these stories are from the past and have been re-written in easier to read forms. All children will study many in the original form later in school life.

Fireflies Series. This is purely non-fiction linked to Letters and Sounds and HF words. It introduces children to serious non-fiction at their reading and comprehension level. This skill will ensure all skills are developed in preparation for their learning across the entire curriculum in primary, secondary or at further education level. Excellent general knowledge is gained.

Snapdragons. This series introduces young children from the outset to different fonts/authors/graphics/vocabulary styles. It is also linked to HF words structure. This series leads children carefully into the ability to access real books with ease.

Songbirds. Written by Julia Donaldson of “Gruffalo” fame. This series is totally de-codeable and linked to Letters and Sounds. This is a fictional series introducing different characters in each book ensuring children do not get hooked into one series and find it difficult to transfer reading skills across into other books/genres.

We have ORT, “The Magic Key” series and excellent real books, which have all been integrated into the structure of the book boxes.

The majority of our investment has been in EYFS/KS1 where resources were sparse. Project X ensures progression exists throughout the entire school covering all genres.

There is now a consistent, whole school Progressive Reading Scheme in place. 122 reading boxes have been constructed. There are approximately 5 boxes for each level.

Each class has a copy of the JHN Reading Scheme showing the contents of every box. There is a chart relating to Oxford Levels, NC levels and Target Tracker Bands, Letters & Sounds phase, number of HF words used, Book Band level and progression chart. This also incorporates the Guided Reading Sets for KS1 and KS2 (using real books). The Ofsted inspection criteria is also included. Does this need updating??

Each box has a record of books. This will have a star rating incorporated for children to complete. It will be a good indicator of the child’s attitude to different genres for teacher assessment. It will also ensure the system is easy to use and quick to access the next book. These records will also show clearly if books need to be read in the correct order i.e.: as children complete Phase 6 Letters and Sounds, more flexibility about order is possible.

All pupils undertake daily reading sessions in various forms i.e. daily guided reading sessions; daily independent silent reading; etc. Every child reads to an adult in school at least once per week. We expect parents to read with their child every day. Pupils can loan a book from the school library to take home and share alongside a book from the reading scheme.

All entries/comments made by the teacher/adult in school should directly refer to child’s current targets.

A rigorous reading record system has been implemented throughout the school. This will travel with the child throughout their journey at JHN evidencing in commentary, reading sessions/behaviours, observations, etc.

Home/School Reading Diaries/home reading books will allow parents to become partners in supporting their child’s reading development by reading books at home to consolidate their learning each day.

The overall scheme ensures teaching, learning, applying and consolidation is rigorous. Progress will be structured and systematic so no child will access inappropriate text or be in danger of not making appropriate progress.

This system covers every aspect of good practice and gives children excellent access to appropriate resources. It fulfils all Ofsted and government criteria in a child friendly, but rigorous and well-structured approach.

Underpinning Principles
  • To record reading and learning
  • To record individual and 1:1 Teaching and learning
Use of Reading Diaries JHN

  • Reading Diaries are to be completed at least 3x per week at home by Parent (Year 1) and Pupils (Year 2-6)
  • Teachers to respond to comments made by pupils/parents either with a written response (if a question has been asked) or by initialling/using a stamp/stickers as an acknowledgement that the response has been seen.
Other comments/record of reading will be entered into the Blue Reading Records that all children have.

Blue Reading Records - All children will have a reading book which relates to the Band they are working within.

Each Blue Reading Record will include:

  • Target Tracker targets - comments should relate to child’s target/next stepsReading Record Sheet (To be completed by child for Independent/Guided Reading Y4-6)
  • Book Box Sheet
  • Questions for children to respond to.