Year 4 children have been learning all about Traditional Tales and have published their own story. They read their stories to year 1 and 2 children, who enjoyed hearing all about their good and evil characters.




Reading Challenge

Our approach to the teaching of reading

At Hill Farm, children are given the opportunity and encouragement to read independently in order to build confidence, stamina and fluency, as well as to develop their experience of a range of books and authors.

Children have access to a wide range of books including fiction and non-fiction via the school library, class libraries and a progressive, structured book banded reading scheme.

All children in Reception to Year 6, will have a reading book to take home. The level of the books they read will be informed by ongoing teacher assessment linked to National Curriculum levels. All children will also have a reading record in which both their home and school reading will be logged.

Children’s individual reading will be monitored by their class teacher and teaching assistants. Each time a child reads, at home or at school, a comment will be written in the reading record. Where children do not read regularly at home, teachers will arrange for them to read individually at school to parent helpers or teaching assistants.

What do Book Band levels mean?

Readingbooks are graded by difficulty by reading levels known as Book Bands.  Each Book Band has its own colour. The chart below gives an indication of the range of Book Band levels at which most children will be reading as they progress through primary school.

The chart shows the progress of an ‘average’ band of children- but no individual child is ‘average’, so no child makes smooth progress precisely in this way. Children tend to learn in fits and starts – periods of growth followed by periods of consolidation when their progress seems to halt for a while. The periods where you don’t see rapid progress may be worrying, especially after a ‘growth spurt’, but they are important as your child develops confidence in using and applying their newly acquired skills.

If you are ever worried about your child’s progress, please talk to their teacher.



Reading Level

Approximate Yr Grp


1 (no words)












Year One













Year Two










Year Three







Year Four










Year Five and Six








Free Reader

4C+ and higher

Hearing books read aloud

Hearing books read aloud builds enthusiasm and enjoyment. It influences independent reading and tunes children in to book language. Teachers of all age groups have a timetabled slot per day where they can read aloud to their class.

Guided Reading

Each day there will be a Guided Reading session in Years 1 to 6 with all children, which lasts between 20 and 30 minutes. The structure of the session will be that one group will be having a guided session led by the Teacher, another group will be group reading with the TA and the other children will be undertaking an independent task relating to their previous Guided Reading sessions or other reading focused activities e.g. finding information using information books, independent reading, cloze procedure, comprehension activities, book reviews etc.

Teachers use the Collins Big Cat Reading resources which are book banded so that the session can be appropriately differentiated. The teacher will use the guidance at the rear of the book as their planning for the session alongside the children’s individual reading targets. They will record the children’s learning outcomes on the planning sheet.

Any guided group activities or independent tasks that the children undertake will be completed in their Guided Reading Journals.

Hints on helping with reading at home

As a parent, you can play an important role in helping your child learn to read. Research shows that children who are helped at home make better progress in school. Reading with your child can be fun and very rewarding. It also shows that you value their efforts. If children enjoy reading, it will benefit their whole education. They are also more likely to carry on reading as adults.

Choosing what to read

Choose any books that appeal to your child, for example, stories or information books on hobbies/interests such as football or animals. Vary your reading together. It doesn’t have to be school books. Newspapers, magazines, recipes, games instructions can be read together and still be part of the process of learning to read with enjoyment. We hope that you will also borrow books from the school library and from the local library to read together. Your children may keep choosing the same book because it is a favourite. This is all part of learning to read. Children enjoy being read to even when they are fluent readers.

How can I help?

  • Find a quiet, relaxing place away from distractions such as TV
  • Sit comfortably in good light and talk to your child about their book
  • Read for about 10 minutes; a regular short time of quality is better than a long session which happens only occasionally
  • Ask why they have chosen the book
  • Talk about the cover and title and what the story might be about
  • Ask them to tell you who wrote the book or point to the author
  • Look at the pictures and ask them to tell you where the story takes
  • Place
  • Ask who they can see in the pictures (especially in simple caption
  • books)
  • Try to be supportive and positive during the reading time
  • Encourage your children to look closely at the print
  • Read the first page or two together until your child is ready to continue alone
  • Encourage your child to point to each word as they read aloud
  • Where possible wait for your child to decode words
  • Encourage the use of clues such as the look/sound of the letters, what would make sense and the illustrations
  • When a mistake is self-corrected or a previously unknown word is recognised, praise highly
  • Encourage expressive reading by drawing attention to punctuation
  • Help understanding by talking about the story or text – the setting, the plot, the characters
  • Discuss the kind of people the characters are and the way they behave
  • Talk about the kind of story it is (adventure, fantasy, science fiction, myth…)
  • Encourage your child to refer to words and passages in the text to justify opinions
  • If your child is finding a book difficult, help out by reading it together


If your child gets stuck on a word, you could:

-        Let them read on so they can work out the word themselves from the context
-        Point to a picture if it will help them guess the meaning
-        Give them the first or last sounds to help them
-        Read along with them then pause, prompt, praise if they get it right
-        Read the word for them (especially if it is a Proper Name)
-        When they are confident with sounds, let them sound out unknown words – break longer words down in to syllables. Do not sound out words which are not phonetic e.g. “because”.

Remember – practice, with praise, makes perfect.

Please remember that the purpose of the ‘Reading Record’ book is to give your child’s class teacher feedback on how well your child is reading at home. If you have any concerns about your child’s reading please contact the class teacher by letter or in person.

Useful questions to ask when hearing your child read

Reception, Year 1 and Year 2

  • Who is in the story?
  • Where is the story set?
  • Can you use the pictures to tell part of the story?
  • How do you think the story will end?
  • What will happen next?
  • Do you like the characters? Why?
  • What happens in the story?
  • What did the characters say? Why?
  • How did a character scare, upset or help another character?
  • Has this ever happened to you? How did you feel?
  • Did the story make you think of something that has happened to you or someone you know?
  • Can you put the main events in order?
  • How would you feel at this point in the story?
  • What would you do?
  • How do you think a character feels?
  • Why did a character do/say something in the text?
  • How did a character in the book help/upset another in the story? Why?
  • What advice would you give the characters?

Year 3 and Year 4

  • Can you explain why you think a character did that in the story?
  • What does this word/phrase tell you about the character or setting?
  • What does the word ‘X’ tell us about ‘Y’?
  • Find two ways in which the writer tells you about an event/setting/character/theme?
  • Which words did you like the most? Why?
  • In the story ‘X’ is mentioned a lot. Why?
  • What other words/phrases could the writer have used?
  • What do you think the writer meant by writing ‘X’?
  • Which words do you think are the most important in this sentence/paragraph/page? Why?

Year 5 and Year 6

  • What did that character mean when they said ‘X’?
  • Are the character’s actions a surprise or what you expected?
  • Why is that character surprised/scared/excited/angry?
  • Explain the character’s actions or reactions to events in the story?
  • What clues are there in the story to show that that character is happy/angry/sad/excited etc?
  • What do you think this character thinks or another character? Why?
  • How did the writer make you think this?
  • Has the writer been successful in creating a setting/mood/character/theme?
  • What else could they have done?
  • Choose a passage from the text describing a particular event and question the children on the atmosphere before and after the event.
  • Describe different character’s reactions to the same event?
  • Who is the ‘voice’ in the text?
  • Which character does the writer want you to like or dislike? How have they done this?
  • What do you think will happen because of a character’s actions/dialogue/thoughts?

Further information can be found in: ‘A guide to supporting reading for parents of primary school children’ at