Ash Tree's Year of Reading!

In collaboration with Leeds Year of Reading 2019-2020, Ash Tree aims to promote and encourage a love of reading across the school and engage children and their families with the aim of generating a long-term love of reading.

Our redesigned curriculum for 2019 - 2020 has books at it's heart. We want everyone at Ash Tree to read – not just for learning, but also for enjoyment. Reading is a fundamental skill that underpins all areas of learning and a love of reading is a key factor in long term academic success.

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At Kippax Ash Tree we strive to be an outstanding reading school where children read for pleasure and are exposed to a vast, varied and exciting diet of literature – ranging from classic to contemporary therefore helping to build the strong cultural capital which we desire for our students. Our vision and approaches aim to meet every child’s individual reading need through the delivery of high- quality, whole class and small group teaching sessions, regular opportunities for individual reading and time to sit back and enjoy listening to a story. These reading experiences are part of our daily reading culture. We want to inspire children to be confident in using ambitious vocabulary, taken from exciting texts, through their spoken language and who can use discussion to communicate and further their learning. We intend for our children to be able to articulate their favourite genres and authors, comment on author technique, make connections with other texts they have read, hold debates about critical issues that arise within a text and, most importantly, for them leave us with a lifelong love of reading.


Book Talk:

The reason we incorporate the magnificent, Jane Considine’s ‘Book Talk’ into our reading curriculum is:
• To increase the number of whole, real texts/books children read
• To promote a LOVE of reading
• To enable children to discuss shared texts in an independent group situation
• To develop and deepen comprehension skills
• To improve children’s oral and written responses to questions about books
• To create a proper understanding of test/question language and associated skills
Pupils are organised into reading attainment groups and share a set of books/texts pitched at their level with appropriate challenge. All pupils in the classroom will be accessing either: narrative, non-fiction or poetry at the same time. Pupils receive 45 minute ‘Book Talk’ sessions and work in guided sessions with an adult on a rota system so that teachers can complete more focused assessments of children in a small group situation – the other groups work independently, carrying out their individual reading roles. The sessions are layered with open-ended whole class questions to tackle the three layers of the reading rainbow.

Reading skills:

These sessions are whole class based and are linked to either a class narrative or texts which are relevant to the topic being taught each half term. Children are taught to develop and use their ‘Good reader skills’ in every lesson by connecting, visualising, predicting, questioning, summarising and clarifying. These sessions are designed to establish the groundings for excellent comprehension of texts whilst also developing a love of reading. We challenge our children by exposing them to a wide range of challenging texts and varied authors. Vocabulary and word work is at the heart of all that we do in reading skills.

Read Write Inc.

In addition to daily literacy lessons, children excel in early reading through the use of the Read Write Inc. (RWI)programme from Reception – Year 2 and continue to develop a range of reading skills, as well as a love of reading through Book Talk. At Ash Tee, we strive to teach children to read effectively with pace through the delivery of the Read Write Inc. Phonics programme which includes teaching synthetic phonics, sight vocabulary, decoding and segmenting sounds for spelling.

Through the RWI phonics program, children are taught to:

• Read a series of books with a focus on decoding and high frequency word recognition
• Re-read the same text for a number of consecutive days to improve fluency of reading
• Engage with a variety of books including narrative and non-fiction
• Segment sounds for spelling

Children are taught in small groups that reflect their phonic ability and reading fluency. In these groups, children are introduced to 44 common sounds in the English language and are taught how to blend these sounds together in order to read words. Once children have a quick recall of Set 1 sounds and are able to blend with these, they then move on to reading stories and texts containing these sounds. Once secure, children learn Set 2 and Set 3 sounds and then read texts with increasingly more complex sounds and graphemes. Throughout this process there is a focus on comprehension, reading with expression and reading for enjoyment. Children are regularly assessed to ensure that learners are reading books closely matched to their increasing phonics knowledge. You can find out more about the Read, Write Inc. scheme by following this link:

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Reading Buddies:

In order to raise the profile of reading in our school, we have a fabulous team of KS2 reading buddies who have been coupled up with a child in a younger year group. They spend time listening to their allocated buddy, asking questions to aid comprehension and also help with decoding skills and working out the meaning of unfamiliar words. The buddies have been selected from our PP and more vulnerable groups to encourage a love of reading and to give them as many opportunities to be heard reading as possible.


We have the privilege of having two libraries within school: one for EYFS/KS1 and one for KS2. Our EYFS/KS1 library has a varied collection of books sorted into baskets containing similar themes. We have baskets of books appealing to many different interests of our younger children and each child makes a weekly visit with their teachers to share some of our ‘Recommended Reads’ or new books. Our KS2 library is organised into fiction, non-fiction and poetry. The non-fiction section has been classified into topics whilst the fiction section has been sorted into genres so that children are able to choose from a wide range of literature, ensuring a varied reading diet. Our libraries are open at the end of each school day for our Ash Tree families to visit alongside their child and loan a book.


Our reading curriculum is high quality, well thought out and is planned to demonstrate progression based on the best research. We measure the impact of our curriculum through the following methods: formative assessment of small groups during Book Talk and skills sessions; in-depth assessment records kept for each individual in school; assessment data being used to close gaps in understanding and skills for all learners.

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World Book Week 2019 

This year we went about things a little bit differently. all year long we have been talking about books, stories and our love of reading. we decided that this year the focus would be all about our favourite stories.  First of all Mrs Curtis organised the Book Fair to be in school all week - not only that but we had the fair open right until 7pm at the Parent / Carers evening so there was no excuse. We held assembly and decided our World Book Week motto was going to be 'Don't buy costumes, buy books!' 

We had to then think about how to share our favourite books and stories with each other, there is nothing we all love more than crafting and quizzes so we decided to play ' choose 2 clues'  where everyone made or found 2 physical clues to represent their favourite story or book - then had class competition to guess the book. 

The best clues from each class then went forward to a whole school 'Choose 2 clues competition'. The ideas were truly inspired. Some children created the smell of their story - some made things from the setting, some creates sound clues - Ash Tree amazing! 

In between all the clue crafting and game playing we also got plenty of reading in - children were reading in the corridors, under tables, on their tummy's, behind the curtains ... everywhere you looked - someone was stuck in a book! 

We even managed to have a real life author visit us during our school Book Week, Saviour Pioirti not only shared is wild stories in an special assembly but then he went into Year 4 and talked the children through his process to writing a story. 

Finally is came to the end of World Book Week but we all know you can't leave a good book alone! So the work has continues right into Easter with our 'Shell me a story' challenge where children made a story setting shoe box and egg characters to represent their stories... 

In some places World Book Day is one day - at Ash Tree its just becoming a way of life - books and stories all day, everyday!