We look to the stars…

Telephone: 0117 903 0077


Headteacher: Tim Browse


Bug Club

For information about how to access Bug Club, please click here:  Bug club letter to parents

To access Bug Club, please visit the Bug Club website and log in with the details sent to you by your class teacher.  If you have any problems, please email the school –


Reading at Air Balloon

At Air Balloon we believe that story telling should be at the heart of our English curriculum. Therefore, from September 2019, each year group will have a core of key books called ‘The Reading Spine’ which all the children will experience. These have been recommended by Pie Corbett, pioneer in the teaching of literacy, who explains The Reading Spine in this short film.

The aim is for every child to experience the pleasure and challenge of great literature. As well as the class teacher regularly reading and discussing the books, the library will also stock multiple copies which children can borrow.

Here is the list of the recommended books for each year group. Perhaps some of you will recognise them from your own school days!


Owl Babies by Martin Waddell

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

Handra’s Surprise by Eileen Browne

Mr Grumpy’s Outing by John Burningham

Rosie’s Walk by Pat Hutchins

Six Dinner Sid by Inga Moore

Mrs Armitage by Quentin Blake

Whatever Next by Jill Murphy

On the Way Home by Jill Murphy

Farmer Duck by Martin Waddell

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise

Shhh! by Sally Grindley

Year 1

Peace at Last by Jill Murphy

Can’t you Sleep Little Bear? by Martin Waddell

Where the Wild Things Are? by Maurice Sendak

The Elephant and the Bad Baby by Elfrida Vipont and Raymond Briggs

Avocado Baby by John Burningham

The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr

Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers

Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems

Beegu by Alexis Deacon

Dogger by Shirley Hughes

Cops and Robbers by Janet and Allan Ahlberg

Elmer by Davis McKee

Year 2

Traction Man is Here by Mini Grey

Meerkat Mail by Emily Gravett

Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman

Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Book? by Lauren Child

Dr Xargle’s Book of Earthlets by Tony Ross

Not Now Bernard by David McKee

Tuesday by David Wiesner

The Flower by John Light

Gorilla by Anthony Browne

Emily Brown and The Thing by Cressida Cowell

Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel

The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark by Jill Tomlinson

The Giraffe, The Pelly and Me by Roald Dahl

Fantastic mr Fox by Roald Dahl

The Hodgeheg by Dick King-Smith

Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown

Willa and Old Miss Annie by Berlie Doherty

Year 3

The Iron Man by Ted Hughes

Cat Tales: Ice Cat by Linda Newberry

The Sheep Pig by Dick King-Smith

The Abominables by Eva Ibbotson

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis

The Battle of Bubble and Squeak by Philippa Pearce

Hansel and Gretel by Anthony Browne

Year 4

Bill’s New Frock by Anne Fine

Charlotte’s Web by EB White

Why the Whales Came by Michael Morpurgo

The Firework-Maker’s Daughter by Phillip Pullman

The Snow Walker’s Son by Catherine Fisher

Perry Angel’s Suitcase by Glenda Millard

Voices in the Park by Anthony Browne

Year 5

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Allen

Varjak Paw by SF Said

Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver

Street Child by Berlie Doherty

The Midnight Fox by Betsy Byars

Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce

FArTHER by Grahame Baker-Smith

Year 6

Holes by Louis Sachar

Clockwork by Philip Pullman

The Hobbit by JRR Tolkein

Skellig by David Almond

Fireweed by Jill Paton Walsh

River Boy by Tim Bowler

The Arrival by Shaun Tan

Introduction to how we teach reading at Air Balloon Hill Primary

Reading Curriculum

Reception – Reading skills are taught through daily phonic sessions and weekly 1:1 reading sessions with the children. Children start with learning their unit sounds and move onto learning tricky words (words which are not phonetic) and blending. By the end of the year, they will begin to blend vowels and syllables together to read longer, more complex words. 

Year 1 – Reading skills are taught through daily phonics where children build on the phonic skills they developed during reception and widen their repertoire of tricky words. Reading time happens daily: some children will continue to have 1:1 reading sessions whilst others will be taught reading skills in larger groups.

Year 2-6 – Last year we launched a new way of teaching reading skills for years 2-6. We teach the whole class daily for at least 30 minutes instead of small groups once a week. In order to do this, teachers provide the children with a variety of challenging text extracts from books and teach them how to appreciate and understand these texts by focusing on the following skills:

LO: To retrieve and record information from a text

LO: To make inferences and justifying with evidence from the text to back up opinions.


LO: To make predictions based on details stated or implied.


LO: Discussing and understanding words in context.

LO: To identify main ideas drawn from more than one paragraph and summarise these.


LO: To identify and compare themes and conventions in a wide range of books. (KS2 only)

LO: To identify how language, structure, and presentation contribute to meaning

LO: To discuss words and phrases that capture the reader’s interest and imagination. (KS2 only)



We are using different breeds of dogs as a simple metaphor to describe the different skills needed to really comprehend what children are reading. Ask your children about them! Teachers will be constantly assessing the needs of their class and if your child needs extra support such as 1:1 reading this will be identified and carried out. Teachers will still be promoting reading for pleasure by visiting the library, sharing class books using ‘The Reading Spine’ and allowing quiet, individual reading to take place. We would appreciate your continued support by reading at home with your child at least 3 x a week.

Kind Regards,

Mrs Hennessy – Standards Leader- Reading

Supporting Early Reading at Home

A guide for parents

When supporting your child, the aim is to make reading an enjoyable experience. Consistency is essential if progress is to be made. Try to:

  • Practice regularly
  • Set aside a specific time for reading
  • Read for between 5 and 10 minutes
  • Use a comfortable and quiet area
  • Make it fun and interesting
  • Be encouraging – there is no need to correct every mistake if it still makes sense.

Learning to read is like trying to crack a code. Children should be encouraged to look for different clues to help them understand what they are reading. Learning individual words is important but they are really aiming to work out the whole message.

When you hear your child read, let them hold the book. Encourage them to use the following strategies to solve words:

  • Key/Tricky words
  • Letter sounds and blends
  • Pictures
  • Meaning of the text
  • Length of the word

It is important not to confuse your child so concentrate on developing a few skills at a time.

REMEMBER to give lots of PRAISE, and be specific!!!

“Well done, you had a go on your own.”

“Good try, but did that make sense?”

“I like how you read that bit again to check it.”

“Well done for using your sounds”

More Tips

For more help and tips on supporting your child to read at home, we would recommend reading this article on the BBC website: BBC Bitesize – Top Tips to support reading



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