Approach and Ideology

At Holly Park, we recognise the vital role that the ability to read confidently plays in determining the future successes of our children.   We aim for all our pupils, regardless of their background and starting point; to become fluent, confident readers with a passion for books and reading. 

We provide our pupils with a rich and diverse reading curriculum that aims to strengthen our children’s engagement with reading throughout their time at primary school. The regular teaching of de-coding skills develops fluency; while exposure to a wide range of texts and literature (linked to the wider curriculum) helps foster a love of reading.  The purpose of our reading Curriculum is to:

  • Support pupils’ progress in reading throughout the school (de-coding and comprehension).
  • Ensure a range of genres are covered which include poetry, fiction and non-fiction.
  • Expose pupils to a diverse range of literary characters that reflect the school community. Pupils should be able to find familiarity and see reflections in the lives of the people they read about with their own – as well as experience those of others’.  Contemporary and classic texts are covered.
  • Allow pupils to make meaningful connections by creating links to topics and other subjects taught.
  • Stimulate thought, discussion and debate.
  • Make reading enjoyable, for staff and pupils.
  • Create a community of readers at Holly Park School

See what we have planned for World Book Day: WBD 24 Press Release


Pupils’ opportunities to read, hear, explore and engage with texts on a daily basis are wide ranging and include:

  • Classrooms have books available for children to read. Our Reading Challenge provides an extensive library of books for pupils to choose from in KS2.
  • We subscribe to the Barnet Library Service so teachers can order additional books and resources to support curriculum topics, children’s interests, author studies, etc.
  • Teacher-led Guided Reading session (minimum of four times a week).
  • Books, stories and information texts are interwoven in to the curriculum.
  • Phonics teaching.
  • Time for independent reading.
  • As a stimulus for lesson delivery.
  • Talk times.
  • Taking part in our Reading Challenge.
  • Carefully selected picture books to support PSHE and personal development. These support pupils understanding of social and moral issues.
  • Daily Story and carpet times.
  • A number of Key-Leader led workshops for year groups that parents can join.

Additionally to this, we take a number of approaches to foster and promote a love of reading.  Our school Reading Champions are ambassadors for reading and play a vital role in helping encourage their peers to read.  They have hosted a number of special book events, assisted with assemblies, written school reading newsletters and run book clubs at lunchtimes. We participate enthusiastically in World Book Day, have our annual ‘book swap’, have special reading assemblies and have hosted inspiring author visits.

Books and stories are integral to education and personal development at Holly Park.

If you would like hints and tips to support your child’s reading at home, click on these links:

Guided Reading

The majority of the teaching of reading at Holly Park is done as whole-class reading and it takes place a minimum of four times a week. All pupils study the same text, carry out activities and take part in discussion to develop their comprehension skills. There are numerous benefits to this approach including:

  • ALL pupils are reading, every session.
  • All children benefit from the shared experience of exploring vocabulary, stories, characters, events and information with others. No child feels excluded from this experience.
  • Pupils who may be behind their year group have fluency modelled to them.
  • Pupils who may be behind their year group have exposure to a diverse range of interesting and engaging texts with content that is relevant to their age, rather than reading ability. They still have the opportunity to engage with discussions on the same level as their peers.
  • Pupils who are more fluent can be challenged through targeted questioning.
  • No time is wasted – all pupils are de-coding, participating in activities and developing their comprehension skills in every session.

Reception and KS1

Reading is delivered by displaying a Bug Club book linked to their current phonics learning.  It is broken down as follows:

  • Day 1: Class listen to the story and talk about key elements of the book.
  • Days 2&3: All children take part in a balance of whole class, small group and individual reading.
  • Days 4&5: Children take part in reading fluency and comprehension activities.

Children will also have a Bug Club book they can access to practice reading at home.  Additionally, they can take home up to two books a week from the classroom to share and enjoy with family members.

Key Stage 2

Chosen texts are made up of appropriate fiction and non-fiction books, extracts, poems and classic texts.  They are most-often linked to topic work being done in class. They are carefully selected across the key-stage so as to ensure the contents included and author selection is diverse.  Although certain sessions may vary it will usually run for 20 -30 minutes and takes place as follows:

  • All pupils follow along with the text using a ruler.
  • The class teacher always reads first.
  • 6 pupils will be selected to read aloud, while the rest of the class follow.
  • Teacher will include planned, engaging activities (some written and recorded) that stimulate and deepen thinking, discussion and comprehension skills. VIPERS is used to remind both pupils and staff of the relevant comprehension skills that need to be covered.
  • Each session, the class teacher keeps a record of who has read, which areas of VIPERS (or the UKS2 Content Domain) have been covered and any notes they deem relevant.

Additional Support

Some pupils may find reading challenging and be behind the standard for the year group.  There are a number of reasons for this; it could be due to English being a second language, a late start to education or a special educational need.  We believe that all children can and should be taught to read. We identify pupils who require additional support and may offer any of the following:

  • One-to-one reading sessions with a member of our support staff, additional to whole-class. This could be targeted for fluency, comprehension or a combination of both.
  • Small group sessions (additional to whole-class) with the class teacher or member of support staff. This could be targeted for fluency, comprehension or a combination of both.
  • Phonics support with trained support staff. This could be individual or in a small group.
  • Four our disadvantaged pupils, additional weekly reading for up to 20 minutes with the class teacher. Again, this could be individual or in a small group.


Effective assessment is crucial in allowing staff to monitor pupils’ progress and carefully plan for their continued development.  There are many strands to assessing reading and we have a careful balance of formative and summative methods.

Early Years Foundation Stage

Formative assessment happens daily during shared reading. This includes comprehension skills as well as decoding phonic skills.

All children also have at least one weekly opportunity to read 1:1 with their class teacher, individual post it assessments are made and, when necessary, children will be given additional Bug Club books and online phonics activities to complete.

Termly phonic summative assessments are uploaded onto the Phonics Tracker document.

Children who are identified as falling behind are given additional support with daily Phonics pre-teach sessions and additional small group/1:1 reading sessions

Children who are identified as needing support with comprehension are included in groups such as `Early Talk Boost` and Colourful Semantics.

Key Stage 1

Pupils are carefully monitored during daily phonics and guided reading sessions.  The ability to decode and respond to questioning will assist teachers in identifying gaps in learning; informing teachers how to support pupils in future sessions. It may be that they identify pupils who would benefit from additional support.

Teachers will read one to one with all pupils in their class during the first week of every half term.  This will allow them to best gauge how fluently a child can read independently.

Children in Year 2 carry out regular written comprehension activities to assess their ability and prepare them for KS2.

Termly phonic summative assessments are uploaded onto the Phonics Tracker document. This information is used to group any children who need additional reading and phonics support, such as phonic pre teach groups.

Key Stage 2

Pupils are informally assessed throughout whole-class guided sessions.  Their responses to questions and engagement in activities are monitored against the VIPERS skills in LKS2 and the National Curriculum’s content domain in UKS2. 

Pupils who enter KS2 having not obtained the KS1 Phonics Screening Check will have regular additional phonics support as part of a small group.

Pupils identified as being below the standard for their year group will be given relevant support (as above).

Most pupils will have a formal reading assessment, termly.  The results will be used to monitor individual pupils’ progress and inform grades inputted on to the school data tracker system.  These (more formal) assessments are also aimed to help prepare pupils for the KS2 National Test taken for reading in Year 6.

Support for Reading at Home

If there is one area we would ask parents and carers to support their child’s learning with at home then it is, undoubtedly, reading.  The benefits are endless, not only supporting a child’s education and academic growth but their personal and cognitive development too.  It should be fun – a time to laugh, talk and learn together; enjoying the language, pictures, information, characters and stories contained within a book.  In school, we support children to progress their reading skills and we ask that at home the emphasis be on reading for pleasure; reading for the joy of it.  This, in itself, will have a significant impact on reading ability.

As a school we:

  • Provide regular guidance and advice to parents on how to support their child at home.
  • Provide online access to bug club.
  • Provide pupils with books to take home.
  • Provide special reading newsletters, twice annually.
  • Arrange world book day activities that families can get involved with.
  • Share pictures, views and news or reading via the weekly newsletter or website.
  • Invite parents to workshops that cover various aspects of reading including; phonics, poetry, our Reading Challenge, encouraging your child to read.

The Holly Park Reading Challenge

Our pupils are on a reading journey that culminates with a challenging national reading test in Y6 which is based on some very difficult texts.  The Holly Park Reading Challenge Library grows in difficulty and challenge at each level – with length of book, vocabulary and general content. It is designed to support children towards the Y6 national reading test; allowing them to develop their love of reading as they grow in confidence and ability. 

Some children will begin the challenge towards the end of Year 2, however for the majority of children the reading challenge begins in Year 3 and runs right through KS2 to the end of Year 6.

We hope that the challenge will be exciting for the children and encourage parents and carers to support their children with it. The challenge has a wide variety of books at each level and we hope that the wide range of genres will maintain enthusiasm and enjoyment of reading – reading for pleasure!

The reading challenge library has a mixture of different genres and authors both modern and classic. The challenge includes poetry books, nonfiction and books that are diverse in their content, settings and characters. The challenge increases in difficulty as it progresses both in the level of text and vocabulary (decoding) and comprehension. There are a variety of different books to choose from at each level. Children choose the book they would like to read, within the reading level, based on their own interests. There is something for everybody and the books available are the result of thorough research – we are confident that our pupils can find their own lives, reflected in our Reading Challenge library.  Our Reading Champions also play an important role in book selection; making suggestions for new additions.  Additionally, children can bring in books from home to read as part of the reading challenge as long as the class teacher agrees that it is suitable for the level of the reading challenge.

The aim of the KS2 reading challenge library is NOT to race through it. It is not so much about the technicality and fluency of reading (which is developed through class Guided Reading sessions) but exposure to different styles of writing and reading for the joy of it; reading for pleasure. It is not a competition to see who can read through it the fastest – children need to progress through it at their own rate.

At each level, the children complete a log. The log evidences the books that each child has read. Parents are involved as they sign the log to say the book has been completed. Teachers stick in a star or sign the log to show the book is finished and a new book can be started.  Once the log at each level is completed, the children get a badge. Badges are awarded at a KS2 Friday celebration assembly.

In order to complete the challenge at each level the children will need to read fiction books, a poetry book and some non-fiction books. The reading log indicates how many of each type of book has to be read.

There is a booklist for each stage.

  • Blue
  • Red
  • Bronze
  • Bronze Advanced
  • Silver
  • Silver Advanced
  • Gold
  • Gold Advanced
  • Platinum
  • Diamond

 Year 3

The majority of children in Y3 will begin on Bronze Level. However, some who need some consolidation and to work on reading fluency will begin on Blue or red. A few children will continue with the Bug Club from KS1 as they start KS2. It is expected on average that Bronze level is for Y3.

Children will need to read 15 books at Bronze level and another 15 books at Bronze Advanced level.

Towards the end of Year 3, some children may progress on to Silver and will carry that through to the start of Year 4.

Year 4

 It is expected that the majority of children in Year 4 will be working on the Silver level. Children cannot go beyond the Gold level in Year 4. As mentioned above it is not a race. The books beyond Gold level do not have appropriate content or topics for children in lower KS2 they are aimed towards children in upper KS2.

Children will need to read 15 books at Silver level and another 15 books at Silver Advanced level before they progress on to Gold.  They will carry their Record through to the start of Year 5.

Year 5

It is expected that the majority of children will begin in Year 5 working on the Gold level.

Children will need to read 10 books at Gold level and another 10 books at Gold Advanced level before they progress on to Platinum.

Year 6

It is expected that the majority of children in Year 6 will be working on the Platinum and Diamond level.

  • Children will need to read 10 books at Platinum level
  • Children will need to read 10 books at Diamond level.

If a child completes the Reading Challenge for their Year, they will of course still be encouraged (and expected) to read.  They will be able to choose from the range of books available to them in the classroom or continue to select books that they have not read from the Reading Challenge library.

Author Visit

The author/illustrator Mini Grey came to Holly Park talk to the children about her work and books. The children really enjoyed their workshop sessions and the assembly. A huge thank you to Miss Sampson for organising it and to the PTA who paid for the author visit.