Ancaster CofE Primary School, Grantham, (September 2019)

Ancaster C of E Primary School is a one-form entry school in the south of Lincolnshire. During 2018-2019,  5% of pupils had EAL and 21% of pupils received Pupil Premium. Hayley Footitt is English Lead.

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We have been trialling Reading Planet for just over a year. We use the books for guided reading in KS1, for one-to-one reading at school, home reading, and we use the Reading Planet Online Library for whole-class shared reading. Pupils and teachers both love it! I asked some of the children and they specifically mentioned Sasha Snail’s TripHippo DiscoNorth Pole, South Pole and Fire, Fire! (this one linked well with our study of the Fire of London). They love the non-fiction for the visual presentation and appropriate levelling. The children also mentioned the wide variety.

The cross-curricular links in general are useful, like Landmark Explorer as we look at coastal regions, and My Neolithic Diary is perfect for the Stone Age topic. We’ve found the titles that link to Maths really useful – like the ones introducing shape and counting. We’d like some more of these please. In KS2, the girls especially like the the Pocket Elf series and the boys like the World of Robots series. The traditional tales are great as children who struggle with reading can still talk about the story as they’re familiar with it.

We really enjoy using the Online Library and the children really look forward to the quizzes, which again help their comprehension, prediction and inference skills. We have used the books as whole class texts and then we answer the comprehension questions altogether on the whiteboard. We’ve seen a lot of engagement from pupils and also improvement and development, especially with struggling pupils, and particularly when we’re using the Online Library. They enjoy the way the text highlights with the audio syncing. It helps their confidence when they are reading. They also like the sound effects! 

We use the teacher tools on the Online Library frequently – circling key graphemes and vocab. Pupils come up to the board to do this and to answer the quiz questions. The checkpoint quizzes are really useful in helping children to remember key points and the order of events in the book, especially with longer titles. They like looking out for the green icon. The teachers can then check their understanding before moving on. We want to get all the children logging on from home next. Our teaching assistants working with struggling readers like to use the online books on the ipads and with the printed book alongside. The children feel more confident when they hear and see the audio synced text being highlighted and read out loud and then they read it themselves from the book.

We’ve pretty much cast aside all other reading schemes now as we assessed our other reading books and book bands against Reading Planet and found that the other schemes didn’t match up. Reading Planet is higher quality, has better in levels of text, better stories, more relevant content and even uses the punctuation relevant to the year group. We like that the expectations are linked to the end of Key Stage assessments – other schemes don’t match up on this. We love the linked phonics focus and the comprehension questions so that any adult can ask purposeful questions.

Hayley Footitt, English Lead, Ancaster CE Primary School 

September 2019

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