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Crosshall Junior Academy Trust

Reading at Crosshall Junior School

" I have a passion for teaching kids to become readers, to become comfortable with a book, not daunted.  Books shouldn't be daunting, they should be funny, exciting and wonderful; and learning to be a reader gives a terrific advantage"

- Roald Dahl

At Crosshall Junior School, we strongly believe that reading is not only a vital life skill but a doorway into real world places, experiences, and cultures as well as into a world of imagination and creativity.  As such, we aim to engender a lifelong love of reading in all our pupils, and the golden thread of this culture and ethos is woven throughout the school.  Quality reading for both pleasure and purpose is a high priority.

Reading for Pleasure

In conjunction with the Open University’s Reading for Pleasure program, we are currently embarking on a whole-school initiative to raise the profile of reading even further, promoting a love of reading and enhancing our already high-quality reading culture.  Book blanked activities, reading rivers, and informal book talk are just som of the ways quality reading discussion is encouraged.  Pupil attitudes to books and reading have already seen a noticeably positive increase.

Click on each title below for details under each section.


All classes have a class book that is read to the children purely for pleasure.  The texts are varied and engaging, often prompting fantastic discussion and learning opportunities, but the focus is the enjoyment of quality texts.  To support this, we also have 'Celebrity Readers': staff from around the school visit different classes, bringing a picture book, short story or poetry to share with children in another class.   

In addition, every year we hold a 'Book Week'.  This is an immersive reading week involving lots of book talk, oracy, drama and writing, a visiting author and a book fair.  There are English-related competitions, a dress-up day and a broad range of activities to promote the joy of reading.


We have worked hard to create a rich reading environment at our school.  All classrooms ahve reading corners with a pupil-led range of texts, and every unit has reading-focused displays.

We have a very well-resourced library with a librarian who creates fabulous displays in addition to her work supporting groups during guided reading, helping children select books for independent reading and generally being a source of wisdom about all things literary.  To support this amazing work, we have many pupil librarians who help keep the library a warm, tidy, and welcoming space for children to enjoy.

Our Head Teacher, Ms. Anne Eardley, makes use of this space to hold lunchtime story time, and pupils love to curl up on the cushions and listen to a range of texts.  It is also where we host our family reading events, which are often so well-attended we have to spill out into other spaces!

To expand our reading spaces further, we also have a 'Book Nook': an outside area where children can access books at lunchtimes, take part in informal book talk, and read and recommend texts to one another.


Reading, reading successes and reading progress are promoted and recognised in assemblies, through certificates, badges, in our school newsletter to parents and via school displays. Our disadvantaged students receive their own 'personal library' to initiate more reading at home and encourage the entire family to value reading.  We hold Book Swaps open to all, host reading for pleasure events as well as curriculum-focused reading activities, and sharing the importance of our reading culture (alongside a tour of the library) forms part of our new parents' evening in the summer term.  From September 2023, we will also have English Ambassadors who will support our reading culture in a variety of ways.

Reading for Purpose 

general curriculum 

The teaching of reading at Crosshall Junior School is carefully planned and sequenced as an integrated part of English lessons.  Using our reading progression document to inform planning (which includes key reading and phonic vocabulary), quality texts, and excerpts are used throughout both English lessons and the wider curriculum.  Developing pupil knowledge and understanding of this vocabulary is a current focus.  In addition, our school reading and poetry spines provide a backbone of quality texts to select as class readers, promote to pupils and (in case of poetry) to memorise and perform.

To support phonic understanding, the full range of reading skills and reading prosody, additional targeted interventions are in place in all year groups.  Pupils are identified through rigorous assessment via STAR assessments, PiXL testing and teacher assessment, and are monitored and supported to succeed.


The lowest 20% of readers, along with any pupils starting at Crosshall Junior School after the beginning of the academic year, complete the KS1 phonic screening check.  For those students that did not pass the phonics screening check, we deliver the Success for All phonics intervention programme developed by the FFT and backed by the Education Endowment Fund (EEF).  This consists of daily phonics lessons, adapted for a small group instead of the usual whole-class approach.  Phonic knowledge is taught and then practised within reading activities with trained teaching assistants.  Children who passed the screening but still require phonic support take part in the Lightning Squad (FFT) intervention, delivered daily in a one-to-one setting by an external tutor or a trained teaching assistant depending on the year group.  These sessions consist of a range of reading activities on a computer and progress is regularly assessed.  Children participating in the Lightning Squad are assigned phonetically-decodable books based on these assessments.

All staff are trained in phonics and are kept updated with the latest vocabulary and guidance.  FFT materials are available in all units to support adults and pupils in using phonic knowledge to scaffold reading and writing skills.


In Years Three and Four, discrete reading teaching takes the form of guided reading every week.  This is centred around quality texts or excerpts and targeted questioning based on the core reading skills identified in the National Curriculum.  Pupils respond verbally or through short written or pictorial tasks.

In Years Five and Six, this approach is developed further using Jane Considine's Reading Rainbow as the basis of Book Talk sessions run several times a week.  Lenses and question stems drawn from the National Curriculum are used for targeted questioning about quality texts, with pupils responding verbally or in writing.

independent reading 

At Crosshall Junior School we use Accelerated Reader to support, encourage and assess independent reading.  Rather than being a scheme, this program takes real books and evaluates them for complexity and length of text to level them, meaning that pupils and parents can select books from the school library, books they have at home or the local library, and still know that the level is appropriate.  Appropriate and varied book selection is supported by our librarian, class teachers, parents and peers, and is informed by AR BookFind.

To identify the appropriate level for each child, STAR reading tests are administered termly.  This, in conjunction with other assessments (e.g. PiXL testing, teacher assessment) informs their A.R. level, which is reviewed regularly.  Pupils quiz on the books they read and work towards an individualised reading target, which helps teachers to track their level of comprehension and vocabulary development and informs the planning and teaching of reading in class.  It also allows teachers to direct pupils' reading, including providing additional support and intervention for those finding reading difficult and stretching pupils by encouraging a broader and more varied book selection.

Furthermore, Home Connect allows parents to receive real-time updates on how their child is performing on their quizzes, their progress towards targets, the certificate they are working towards and much more.

at home 

To reinforce all the work children are doing in school, the expectation is that pupils read at least thirty minutes per day at home.  Reading with an adult and discussing texts is strongly encouraged in all year groups, and our reading diaries provide a range of questions to ensure that discussion is of a high standard.

In addition, parents and pupils are encouraged to discuss reading more generally - not just school books, but all reading material; to visit the local library; for adults to share what they are reading; and generally to show that reading is valued at home as well as at school.


"There are many little ways to enlarge your world.  Love of books is the best of all"

-Jacqueline Kennedy


"So please, oh PLEASE, we beg, we pray,

Go throw your TV set away,

And its place you can install,

A lovely bookshelf on the wall"

- Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory


"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island"

- Walt Disney


"Today a reader, tomorrow a leader"

- Margaret Fuller