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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Mrs Hennessy – Standards Leader- Reading
When supporting your child, the aim is to make reading an enjoyable experience. Consistency is essential if progress is to be made. Try to:
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:
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”
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