Reading at Gidea Park

At Gidea Park we believe that learning to read is one of the most important things your child will achieve at our school.  A positive first experience of reading can shape a child’s love of books and help develop every aspect of their learning, so we put great effort into making every child a reader as quickly as possible.   Throughout their time at Gidea Park, children are exposed to a wide range of diverse and engaging texts through shared, guided and independent reading giving them solid foundations for starting secondary schools.

Reading for Pleasure

We firmly believe that Reading for Pleasure is as important as learning good reading strategies, so we work hard to maintain our class libraries, regularly renewing and updating our texts.  We had two very successful book fairs which enabled us to purchase new books for each class.  We try to be creative in our range of reading materials and, with the development of our curriculum, are extending the range of non-fiction texts to help the children make meaningful connections within our topics.

We have a daily DEAR (Drop Everything And Read) time, where children may read to themselves or an adult might share a book with the class.    

What Reading Looks Like at Gidea Park

Each year group has specific authors they focus on so the children become familiar with the author’s style and, as they move up through the school, can make comparisons between texts and authors.  This also gives them an informed choice over their likes and dislikes.

Vocabulary development is something we prioritise – we introduce new vocabulary frequently, which we encourage the children to use in context.  We also have vocabulary lists which we cover as part of our topic work.


In Reception:

Children practise reading books that match the phonics phase they are learning.  We use the Read Write Inc scheme for this.  We supplement this with books that have been banded – the banded books encourage the children to read their sight words.

In KS1 and Beyond:

Once the children have worked through the book bands and we feel their understanding is a good as their decoding, they will become free readers. 

In KS2:

Each year group has core texts which have been thoughtfully selected to ensure the children are exposed to a broad range of genres and different language structures.  The key comprehension skills we aim to embed are:  

  • Developing Vocabulary (understanding the meaning of words/synonyms and making connections),
  • Inference – an idea drawn from evidence and reasoning
  • Prediction – being able to predict what might happen next
  • Explanation – describing in detail
  • Retrieval – finding key information in the text
  • Sequencing – ordering parts of the text
  • Summarising – recalling the main points or ideas

Tracking and Progress

Class teachers assess the children’s reading skills regularly so that we can ensure they are making good progress in both decoding words and understanding the text.  Children who are exceeding the targets are encouraged to choose challenging and diverse reading material.  Any children who are not making the expected progress will be given additional support.

Parental Support

As part of our home / school agreement our pupils are expected to read regularly at home with parental support.  The children are encouraged to achieve their reading badge, which they receive when they have read twenty age-appropriate books at home.  This is then celebrated with the whole school in assembly.

Recommended Reads

To find a comprehensive list of books suitable for each year group go to:

and go to the tab ‘Key Stage Book Lists’.

This website also provides book suggestions for a range of different topics.