Griffin Park Primary School, Blackburn (July 2019)

Gayle Berry is English & EYFS-KS1 Lead and this is her report following trialling of Reading Planet at Griffin Park. 

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We have been trialling Reading Planet for just over a year, using the books for guided reading in KS1, as home readers and for one-to-one reading at school. We have found that the books are engaging for the children and link to their interests - the children relate to the characters.  There's a great range of genres in the scheme and good links to cross-curricular topics: all classes use the Galaxy books - with Ofsted's focus on reading around the curriculum, these are really helpful. We love the links with Geography in particular - these have grabbed the attention of the children.

We have used Rigby and Oxford Reading Tree but I find the Reading Planet books link better with our topics and the follow-up activities are better. I like the way the Rocket Phonics books link to Letters and Sounds and are phonically decodable. The Lift-off series has been great for foundation stage, too, with the wordless books and then the books with starter words and sentences.

Our biggest challenges in reading are children's vocabulary levels on entry and lack of parental support. Parents have been more engaged and spoken more about this reading scheme and have said they really like the questions at the back - they've helped parents to check their children's understanding. The tricky words at the front of the books are really helpful and so are the tips for parents.

I think that Reading Planet has made a big impact on our children's reading. We have children moving through bookbands quicker. One of the children in our target group had a starting age of 5 years 4 months in September and by the end of the year 10 years 7 months! Another child made progress from a reading age of 4 years 9 months to 8:11 - also in target group. SEN children in the target group also all made over 1 year progress: one was below 4 yrs 5 months and now 6:2. Another below 4:5 now 7:5. Of 6 children that didn't pass phonics in year 1, 3 have passed now. It's great progress!

The children have engaged with all the Reading Planet strands and the bookband levels are more in line, even in the non-fiction which is often an issue with other schemes. Children on white level have shown the same continued interest as those lower down - they like the characters. I have 8 children with SEN in year 2 and a large number on pupil premium who were struggling with their reading - they were still on pink books but they have not felt patronised by the text, which is great.

The children in KS2 have responded well to the new books. They are very appealing and look mature. The white and lime cross over so there's continuation between KS1 and KS2. We like the links into Science and would like more of this.

We have used the Reading Planet Online Library for shared reading as a whole class, especially in Foundation - the children like to feel the success from the quizzes.

We have been using the Teacher's Guide materials and we're really pleased you've put those online in the online library now. We have used the posters on the CDs and the games. We use the activities and the comprehension prompts and find the teacher's guides really easy for TAs and cover teachers to pick up and use, too. Our TAs in nursery and the teachers in Reception have really enjoyed using the Speech Rhythm activities, and these have also been used with children with SEN in KS1. I think these are helping with children's reading development and would like some extension of these.

Gayle Berry, English and EYFS-KS1 Lead
Griffin Park

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