We have been trialling Reading Planet for just over one year. We have used the books for guided reading in Key Stage 1 and Foundation stage, as well as for shared group reading and one-to-one reading at school. We’ve also been using the Reading Planet Online Library for whole-class shared reading. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed using the scheme and have found it has had a positive impact on staff and pupils. The teachers feel the banding and progression in Reading Planet are strong points and are just right and the children love the modern feel of the stories. We have access to other schemes such as ORT and Dandelion but they’re not used as a scheme, just additional books within the colour band for access. Children are much more engaged with Reading Planet. We are looking to lose the older schemes and replace as funding allows.
We really like the progression in Reading Planet with the colours building up to independence within. It allows the children to develop confidence. The access to books online also supports the home-school relationship. The guidance notes support adults in the questions to ask and give a clear picture of what is being covered. In Key Stage 1, we use the books in guided reading sessions with some children reading to the teacher and some working through a text on the whiteboard with the teaching assistant. Another group might be drawing information from the texts and writing their predictions and practising their punctuation, for example.
Comet Street Kids and the Galaxy strands seem to be the children’s favourites at the moment. They think the best element is the online though! We’ve used Bug Club previously but we prefer the Reading Planet Online Library now. All the children are motivated and engaged when it is used in class and the checkpoint quizzes are very popular. They help the children to create those mental markers for what happens where in the book – these are essential reading skills that we later take for granted but which are difficult for many children to develop. When the children know they’re going to answer a quiz question on what they’ve just read, it helps them to embed the order of events in their memories and this helps with prediction skills, too.
Our Reception teacher is very enthusiastic about the wordless books and the first sentence books, and she has had a positive reaction from volunteer parents, too. She uses the support pages of key words and the children discuss the words, which she feels helps with their vocabulary development. Many of the books link with things the classes are doing – like the ‘café’ one, and that helps with vocab. We’ve also been building in the Speech Rhythm activities and these have been helpful with children who struggle with fluency and also in nursery.
We use Read, Write Inc for phonics input and our teachers really like the way the Rocket Phonics books complement their phonics teaching. A group we were tracking really came on with their reading using these books. Our Phonics pass rate improved by 11% to 83% and we saw a 10% increase in the KS1 Reading SATs results, with 15% increase in greater depth. Reading Planet is definitely one of the things that has helped impact our reading results.
Suzanne Gibbons, Headteacher and Deborah May, Literacy Lead, Tranmoor Primary School