Downsway Primary School, Reading (October 2020)

Dowsway Primary School used the Reading Planet print books before they subscribed to Reading Planet Online. During the first lockdown in 2020, they began using it to ensure their pupils continued to read at home during school closures. 

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We’ve been using the Reading Planet reading scheme for about 3 years but we hadn’t really used Reading Planet Online much at all before the national lockdown of schools in March 2020. Over the summer term, our four year groups from Foundation up to Year 3 used the online books from home; it was such a benefit to be able to allocate to the children the books they would have had at school.

Being able to view and interact with the books on an iPad is very engaging for the children. Most parents and teachers obviously want the children to be reading print books, but as an option, the interactive online versions are exciting for the children and help motivate some of the children who maybe otherwise wouldn’t engage. Of course, we had a mixed picture of families who did engage with the reading and some who didn’t. In many cases, though, parents and children were asking for more and more books to be allocated and asking whether they could go up a book band. Our Year 1 teacher particularly liked the quizzes – they were helpful for checking children’s knowledge and their engagement.

When we returned to school in June and July, the teachers used Reading Planet Online on the iPads and the children were excited to be able to do that.

Since returning to school in September, we’ve started to roll out Reading Planet Online across Key Stage 2 and some classes have been using it for whole group reading sessions. We’ve been finding it super-helpful for children who have been isolating and it will be a brilliant tool to have if we have to close a ‘bubble’. Anybody who’s off has been assigned books from the online library.

In Foundation, we have just given out the Lilac Plus books to take home, so it has been great for the teachers to be able to do whole class on-screen modelling interacting with the books.

I would definitely recommend Reading Planet Online to other schools – it has helped our home-school relationship in reading and strengthened the link.

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