To read or really read: that is the question…

Over the past few months, teaching children to read, and more importantly to really read has been more difficult than usual. Teachers have endeavoured to deliver a reading curriculum through remote learning and pupils who have been able to attend school have had some reading lessons. However, long-term; medium-term and short-term plans for reading have been adapted and re-shaped to meet the needs of the current climate.

In an ideal world, most schools aspire for the following to ensure their reading curriculum meets the needs of their pupils:

  • High-quality texts used to engage, motivate and encourage pupils to read
  • Well-chosen texts spanning a wealth of topics and themes to ensure that pupils are challenged and prepared for the next chapter in their own development
  • Skilled teachers who pose questions that equip pupils with a toolkit to: retrieve; infer; discuss; challenge each other (and themselves); analyse and comprehend
  • Planning that ensures progression through choice of texts – a rich diet of fiction; non-fiction and poetry (including song lyrics)
  • Teachers who model and scaffold how to analyse a text and support pupils to translate verbal responses into cohesive written responses
  • Opportunities to apply learning cross a range of contexts
  • Home-reading that is purposeful and engagement from adults at home
  • Pupil progress discussions that identify what the implications for teaching reading/pupil progress are and purposeful next steps

There have been many discussions about ‘lost learning’ and how teachers will need to support pupils to ‘catch up’ with their reading skills. We may need to prioritise some reading behaviours such as:

  • Read, read and read some more. Let’s read as much as we can…
  • Talking about what has been read. Many pupils may have read at home, but will they be discussing character; plot; style of writing; themes etc…? Pupils will have missed bouncing ideas off their peers and above all the buzz that reading discussions create when readers agree/disagree with each other.
  • Justifying their opinion. Our youngest readers are taught to justify their opinion by explaining why they think something (perhaps using ‘because’ to explain their opinion) and this skill progresses through school as readers develop more skills. This tool may not be as sharp as it was in March and we will need to spend more time modelling how to justify our opinion through talk.

It may be refreshing to recognise that all of these priorities involve getting lost in a great class text; demonstrating how to talk about what we have read and modelling how to articulate a response rather than completing reading assessment after assessment…

So how can Rising Stars support schools with this?

  • Taking reading books home may not be straight-forward in September 2020 (or over the summer holidays).
  • Schools may need to provide remote learning for families in September 2020 (or over the summer holidays).
  • Rising Stars are offering a free 30-day subscription for two resources that will do their best to encourage pupils to read and read and in turn, really read!

How you can take advantage of this?

  • Subscribe for 30-days FREE
  • Use ‘Reading Planet’ to ensure that your pupils have high-quality texts at home
  • Use ‘Cracking Comprehension’ to ensure that your pupils continue to spin all of the plates involved in comprehending and really reading


Nothing can replace pupils being at school with teachers who can deliver a rich reading curriculum.

But in testing times, these two FREE resources will offer schools support to encourage reading continues at home and beyond…

Maddy Barnes, July 2020


Find out more about Cracking Comprehension or Reading Planet, or try them free of charge for yourself. 

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