We look to the stars…

Telephone: 0117 903 0077


Headteacher: Tim Browse


Introduction to how we teach reading at Air Balloon Hill Primary

In Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 (for the first two terms), phonics is taught on a daily basis for at least 20 minutes every day. The sequence of lessons follows the progression of Unlocking Letters and Sounds.

In Reception children begin to learn the main sounds heard in the English Language and how they can be represented, as well as learning ‘Common Exception’ words for Phases 2, 3 and 4. They use these sounds to read and write simple words, captions and sentences.

Actions and images phase 2 and 3

In Year 1 children start from phase 4 consolidation then move on to learning alternative spellings and pronunciations for graphemes and additional Common Exception Words in Phases 5.

In Year 2, phase 5 is revisited to ensure children are secure in reading and spelling alternative sounds for graphemes. Any child who does not meet age related expectations will continue to receive support to close identified gaps.

For further details please see the Unlocking Letters and Sounds progression:

Unlocking Letters and Sounds Progression Overview

To ensure no child is left behind at any point in the progression, children are regularly assessed and supported to keep up through bespoke 1-1 interventions. These include GPC recognition and blending and segmenting interventions.

Reading Scheme:

At Air Balloon we promote a ‘phonics first’ approach in both our guided reading sessions at school and in the books children take home. The texts are very closely matched to a child’s current phonics knowledge so that every child can experience success in their reading. When reading decodable books children’s progress can be tracked through the phase levelled books they are reading.

These decodable books are ideal for a child to read independently to their adult at home. To further promote a love of reading, children also take a ‘Shared Reader Book’ home. This book is to be read by both adult and child.

Once children progress beyond decodable texts, they move onto our book scheme so that they can continue to develop their decoding, fluency and comprehension skills.

Reading schemes and progression YR-6

As well as books being regularly sent home, children can also access appropriately levelled books on our online reading system BugClub.

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 –

Supporting Reading at Home

We appreciate your continued support by reading at home with your child at least 3 x a week

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.

Remember that reading is a complex skill. Decoding, fluency, retrieval, vocabulary and inference all contribute to deepening your child’s understanding of what they are reading. For more information about these skills please see below. Here are some ideas to further promote some of these skills whilst reading at home:

To practise your child’s fluency you could reread a book or section of a text. You could also model a section of the text with good expression and get your child to copy you.

To develop your child’s vocabulary you could bring their attention to repetitive and/or interesting letter and sound/ spelling patterns and discuss the meanings of words- discussing associated words and synonyms.

To explore inference when reading you could ask your child about what a character might be thinking or feeling or what is going to happen next in a story. Make sure to ask them to explain their answers using clues from the text.


Teaching Reading:

Reception – As well as the daily teaching of phonics, children have a weekly 1:1 and guided reading sessions with their teachers.

Year 1 – As well as the daily teaching of phonics, at the beginning of the academic year children have weekly guided reading session with their teachers. Towards the end of the academic year, Year 1 start Whole Class Reading lessons.

Year 2-6 – Whole Class Reading is taught daily for at least 30 minutes. 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 constantly assess the needs of their class and where necessary teachers integrate phonics into these sessions to further support children’s next steps and make the texts accessible for all. If your child needs extra support they will also receive extra 1:1 reading sessions with their teacher.

Teachers also promote reading for pleasure by visiting the library every week, sharing class books using ‘The Reading Spine’ and allowing quiet, individual reading to take place.

Story Telling

At Air Balloon we have put story telling at the heart of our English curriculum. Therefore, each year group has a core of key books called ‘The Reading Spine’, which all the children will experience.

The ‘Reading Spine’ has been developed as not only do we want every child to be exposed to rich, challenging texts, we also want to provide children with the opportunity to explore a variety of complex issues through literature at the same time as representing all of our community in the books we read.

Miss Giles – Reading Leader


Julian is a mermaid by Jessica Love

Owl Babies by Martin Waddell

Barabara Throws a Wobbler by Nadia Shireen

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

The Smeds and the Smoos by Julia Donaldson

Mrs Armitage by Quentin Blake

The Colour Monster by Anna Llenas

Proud of my Family by Suzanne Lang

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 3

The Iron Man by Ted Hughes

Ruby’s Star by Maria Farer

Cat Tales: Ice Cat by Linda Newberry

The Sheep Pig by Dick King-Smith

A Dangerous Game by Malorie Blackman

The Abominables by Eva Ibbotson

Rumaysa a Fairytale- Radiya Hafiza

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 6

Wonder- R J Palacio

Holes by Louis Sachar

Lightning Catcher- Clare Weze

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

Year 1

It’s a book by Lane Smith

Peace at Last by Jill Murphy

Can’t you Sleep Little Bear? by Martin Waddell

The Lion Inside by Rachel Bright

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Mixed by Aree Chung

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

Ruby’s Worry by Tom Perceival

Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems

Beegu by Alexis Deacon

Billy the Beast by Nadia Shareen

Dogger by Shirley Hughes

Cops and Robbers by Janet and Allan Ahlberg

Elmer by Davis McKee

All the Ways to be Smart by Davina Bell

Avocado Asks by Momo Abe

Year 4

Bill’s New Frock by Anne Fine

Charlotte’s Web by EB White

Evie and the Animals by Matt Haig

Why the Whales Came by Michael Morpurgo

The boy at the back of the class- Onjali

The Unforgotten coat- Frank Cottrell Boyce

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 2

Traction Man is Here by Mini Grey

Tadpole’s Promise by Jeannie Willis

Look Up by Nathan Byron

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

The Bear and the Piano by David Litchfield

Dr Xargle’s Book of Earthlets by Tony Ross

The Worries by Jion Sheeban

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

Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl

The Hodgeheg by Dick King-Smith

Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown

Year 5

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Allen

Varjak Paw by SF Said

A kind of Spark- Elle McNicoll

Jaz Santos Vs the World- Pricilla Mant

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

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



Special Events
  •  Stories Around the Christmas Tree

    Tuesday 13th December


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Telephone: 0117 903 0077 Email: