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Learning To Read In Foundation Stage & Key Stage 1

At Holland Park school we believe that Reading should be an enjoyable experience as well as a pathway to greater knowledge. Therefore learning to read is a fundamental part of school life and is important for every child.

To support this important learning we use a Systematic Synthetic Phonics programme called Read, Write, Inc. Phonic lessons take place every day within all year groups as a basis for children to learn all the letter/sounds correspondence.

Foundation Stage

The programme starts in the Foundation Stage classes by recapping on listening to everyday sounds in the environment to help children to tune into different sounds. This then progresses into learning the individual letter sounds. As the children progress at different paces the lessons they attend reflect this. Throughout the year children are also learning to sight read a number of high frequency words.

The children will take home a school reading book from our Colour Banding system: Lilac, Pink, Red, Yellow, Blue and Green.

The children will be heard read on an individual basis by the class teacher once a week but will read regularly in other class situations.

During individual reading time the children’s specific reading needs will be monitored.

Key Stage One/Two

The Phonic programme continues in Year One and Two with children attending lessons that match their needs.
The high frequency words are revised and extended.

Children in Year One will remain on the Colour Banding reading scheme until they are assessed as being ready to access the Accelerated Reader scheme. The books will then have a number band rather than a colour band. The Accelerated Reading Scheme works to improve the children’s comprehension skills by questioning them after a book has been read. This is computer based, in the form of a quiz.

The children will be heard read on an individual basis by the class teacher once every two weeks but will read in other class situations including the Read, Write, Inc sessions. During individual reading time the children’s specific reading needs will be monitored.

This continues throughout Key Stage Two with Accelerated Reader and regular reading opportunities in other class situations, such as shared, guided and group reading.

Beyond The Classroom

After completing the Foundation Stage it may be necessary for some children to receive extra 1-1 teaching to boost their reading development. Holland Park School has an ECaR teacher who is an experienced, qualified teacher who has been trained in developing individual programmes to meet a child’s specific reading and writing needs. Our ECaR teacher holds a parental training session in the Autumn Term for new and existing parents to give advice on listening to your child read at home.

Holland Park also provides a trained Reading Team of 20 Parents/Guardians who hear targeted children read on a daily basis. This is based on the fact that children’s reading improves with regular practice and adult input.

Parents/Guardians are encouraged to share their child’s school reading book with them as regularly as possible. We ask that a short comment is written in the yellow Children’s Reading Record book to inform the class teacher and the teacher will do the same.

Accelerated Reader

Holland Park Primary School has been using AR (Accelerated Reader) since September 2011. Pupils take a STAR reading test at the beginning of each term and are given an AR level of books to read and quiz independently.

Accelerated Reader is a computer based system that tracks pupils’ reading comprehension and progress, initially through a Star Reading Test and then through regular book quizzes completed in school.

Accelerated Reader combines the elements of personalised and assessment reading to promote reading for pleasure and to motivate pupils to use reading for learning.  Studies have shown that the AR Reading Scheme motivates pupils of all ages and abilities to read more and consequently raise literacy standards.

Pupils are achieving their individual targets and completing their quizzes with impressive levels, demonstrating their understanding of the texts.

Once a pupil has read a book they will complete an online reading quiz at school to assess their understanding of the book.  Each pupil’s reading progress can then be continually accessed via the AR Scheme.  Teachers and Classroom Assistants will continue to listen to children read regularly and this will not change.

Year 1 pupils are gradually introduced to the AR reading system once the teacher feels they are ready to read and quiz books independently. Children in Year 1 will bring AR books home once they have learnt how to choose the correct level of books, complete their book log and know how to inform teachers that they need to access the book’s quiz.  Teachers and TA’s will help pupils where necessary with these quizzes at first, so that the transition with the scheme runs as smoothly as possible.

As always parents remain encouraged to hear their child/children read at home and to share the content of the book by discussing what has been read.

New STAR Test September 2014

During the first couple of weeks of the Autumn term all pupils in Years 2-6 will be tested against the new STAR test. Pupils were told that the test has changed. The first 16 questions will ask you to pick the best word to fill a gap in a sentence. The other 17 questions will give you a few sentences to read and will ask you about what they mean.


Will students’ scores change dramatically with the new test?

Because every one of the existing and new test items is calibrated to the same scale, students’ test results are not expected to change upon taking the new test. Reading ages, percentile ranks and national curriculum levels will remain linked to the scaled score exactly as they have been.
However, some of the schools piloting the new test in the 2013/14 academic year have reported that some students’ scores dropped a little the first time they took the new STAR Reading test. These scores normalized to expected levels of progress thereafter. This is probably because the students were unused to the more extensive skills-based questions in the new test. Therefore, schools are strongly urged to prepare students for the longer test so they know what to expect.

Further information about all aspects of the Accelerated Reader system can be found at

Mrs Campbell is also very happy to answer any questions parents have on this reading system and how we use it in school.

Updated Sept 2014