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 Reading at Seaside


Reading is at the heart of everything that we do at New Horizons Seaside Primary.

Every staff member at New Horizons Seaside Primary understands the importance of reading and is committed to promoting a love of reading from the very first day children start at the school.  Reading not only allows children to access all areas of the curriculum it also enables them to transport themselves to different continents, worlds and lives.  We have created a community of readers at the school who not only love reading as part of the Chatterbooks Club but share this love of reading with their peers.



We teach reading in a variety of ways at New Horizons Seaside Primary; this includes whole class reading, phonics teaching, reading carousel activities, non-fiction comprehension work and 1 to 1 reading. Each class also has a class book which is read twice a week. This lets children access a book which may be above their reading level and also encourages children to discuss the book with their peers.


To foster a love of reading, from the moment children start at Seaside, we encourage and support reading at home. We provide the parents with workshops and the Key Stage 1 children enjoy taking home the ‘Story Rucksacks’ from our ‘Seaside Story Bear’ to read and share themed fiction and non-fiction books with their families.




Every child is given a reading record and is asked to practise their reading regularly at home, by reading at least three times every week, and writing comments in their reading record about the books they are engaging with. Children are encouraged to write comments such as, “I really like the character of Harry because…” or “The story is getting really exciting now. I think the children will all find out…”, as these quality comments give teachers a valuable insight into how they feel about the characters and storylines of their book choices. The children are also given reading targets and are rewarded when they meet these.


Reading to the Children

The introduction of a class reading book has meant that reading remains at the heart of the classroom.  Each class book corner also has books that have been selected by the teacher to link to the class topic as well as some top book picks of new releases that the teacher thinks the class may enjoy.


At Seaside, we understand the importance of reading at home and have developed a comprehensive reading journal whereby children record the book they are currently reading whilst also giving them space to reflect on what is happening.  Parents are encouraged to also record in the book and to talk to their child about the books they are reading.


Books not only enrich the minds of children; they also help them relax and enjoy some precious calm moments.


Reading Vipers

At New Horizons Seaside Primary, Reading VIPERS are used to support children with their reading comprehension skills. VIPERS are a range of reading prompts based on the 2016 reading Content Domain Areas (CDAs) found in the National Curriculum Framework. Each class has the Reading VIPERS displayed in the reading area of their classroom and the class teacher will make explicit links to the skill the children will be learning about. This gives all children across the school a common language to discuss their reading knowledge and understanding. 

Early Readers


Reading, alongside writing makes up literacy, one of the four specific areas in the EYFS. Sharing books, stories and rhymes is a daily part of our Reception classes at New Horizons Seaside Primary. 


As a school, we follow the phonics based programme called ‘Read, Write, Inc’ produced by Ruth Miskin. In Reception, the children participate in daily RWI sessions. The children are introduced to the sounds of the alphabet and learn to blend the sounds together to read words. We draw upon observations and continuous assessments to ensure children are stretched and challenged and to identify children who may need additional support. We encourage parents to read with their child and to recognise the importance of reading to their child on a daily basis to promote an enjoyment and love of reading.

In addition to our RWI sessions, our EYFS environment has reading at its centre. Each classroom has an exciting and forever changing book area which the children have access to throughout the day. We also use key texts to support our engaging topics and to develop the children’s vocabulary and understanding of how stories are structured. The children visit our school library on a weekly basis and are encouraged to choose books to take home to share with their families. We also visit our local library for story time sessions throughout the year. In the EYFS, children participate in guided reading sessions every day. As well as reading in a small group with the class teacher, the children rotate around a range of reading activities which are designed to enhance the childrens reading experiences and are linked to our reading VIPERS. 


At New Horizons Seaside Primary, we place a huge importance on the development of children’s vocabulary. In Reception, we use Helicopter Storieson a weekly basis to develop the childrens language and encourage a love of storytelling. Helicopter Stories is where children make up stories, adults scribe them and then the class acts them out. The children look forward to becoming the storyteller and enjoy watching their story come to life on the stage’ as their friends act it out.


Year 1

To provide a smooth transition from Early Years to Year 1, children are given the opportunity to learn through a tactile and physical learning environment. During these lessons, the children spend more time looking at the first stages of reading and learning the fundamentals of early reading. We cover a range of exciting texts in connection with our topics. We use talk for writing, helicopter stories, narratives, non-fiction texts, diary entries and speech.


Year 1 is timetabled with daily Read Write Inc. (RWI) lessons for 30 minutes. In these sessions, the children look at a range of sounds across the week. This includes nonsense words, real words and common exception words. In accordance with the RWI programme, the children read ‘ditty books’ with the relevant sounds covered in their set. Each week, the children take home their ‘ditty book’ to read to their families at home. This enables them to show their parents/carers what they have learnt that week and this helps them to demonstrate their reading skills. Alongside this, each child takes home a ‘RWI Book Bag Book’ which they are able to read at home or in school during weekly reading time with their teacher or teaching assistant. These books follow the RWI programme and offer a variety of stories and non-fiction texts for the children to enjoy. These books play an important part in consolidating the children’s sound knowledge and building on their fluency and stamina. Each week, the children are expected to read at least three times at home and to encourage this further, the children also take home a ‘book for pleasure’ from our beautiful Key Stage 1 library.


In Year 1, in order to support the children to access a range of sounds for the KS1 Phonics Screening, we explore a ‘sound of the week.’ Each week a different digraph or trigraph is explored as a class. This involves thinking of a range of words with the sound in, recording these correctly and sound buttoning the words using dots for single sounds and dashes for digraphs or trigraphs. In addition, words with the sound in are read throughout the day and explored across the curriculum when reading during lessons. At home, the children are able to explore the ‘sound of the week’ through reading ‘sound stories’ and are set challenges when reading these including creating their own alien words with the sounds in and their own ‘sound stories’.


In our three weekly reading sessions, we explore an exciting text using our ‘VIPERS’ to guide us. Before the initial read of a fiction book, we always start by looking closely at a linked non-fiction book. This helps to improve vocabulary and to enhance their understanding of the given fiction text. For each book, we have a range of activities including predicting what will happen next, drama, retelling the story and delving deeper into a range of vocabulary. The children enjoy reading a range of texts during this time and this enables them to improve their understanding of book features and how to interpret different text types.


Developing Readers (Year 2, Year 3)

At the start of Year 2, children who are currently on the RWI programme will remain in RWI groups and be assessed every 5-6 weeks. Once they have learnt all of their sounds and can read at 70-80 words per minute, they will assessed for their fluency and stamina before being placed on our comprehension programme called Accelerated Reader (AR) and organised into guided reading groups.


Children start their AR journey by completing a Star Reading Test (re-taken each half term) which assesses the child’s reading and comprehension ability and awards them a ZPD range. From here, children can read a selection of fiction or non-fiction books from within their ZPD range. We have two extremely well-stocked AR libraries for the children to use. After a child has read their chosen book, they then take a short quiz to check their comprehension by answering a range of questions. Throughout the week, children have their books and quizzes monitored to ensure all the children are actively reading and selecting new books. The children are rewarded in our end of half-term assembly with certificates and book prizes. 


AR helps our teachers to accurately and efficiently monitor reading growth and pupil progress. There are more than 27,000 quizzes available on AR, allowing children to quiz on the most popular fiction and non-fiction titles. AR quizzes are used to determine whether a pupil has understood what children have read and are instrumental in allowing teachers to monitor reading progress. Quizzes can be taken online using the following link to log in.


AR Quizzing Online


We place a lot of emphasis on AR in school and it is an integral part of every Guided Reading lesson. AR motivates children to read for pleasure and encourages them to reflect on their own progress and meet their personalised reading target. Alongside this, reading awards generate excitement across the school for children in Key Stage 1 & 2, when our half-termly Reading & AR awards assemblies take place. Children work hard to win recognition and an award for most ‘Most Improved Reader/ZPD’, ‘Best Attitude towards Reading’, ‘Best Kept Reading Record’, ‘Best Effort with Reading Non-Fiction’ and ‘Reading Target Points Met Award’. Children on AR also keep an eye on their word counts and strive to earn the sought-after ‘Millionaire’s Badge’.


AR also has a feature called Renaissance Home Connect, which allows Parents an insight into their child’s reading and quizzing activity. To log in to Renaissance Home Connect for Seaside Primary, go to the website below and login with the Username and Password at this link:


Renaissance Home Connect


At home, children can also use AR BookFinder, an online search tool, which will help a child to find an appropriate AR books to read. This can be found at:


In our guided reading lessons children explore high quality texts and complete a variety of activities including reading in small groups, comprehension tasks, creative work and vocabulary activities. Within the sessions, the children concentration on particular skills using our reading VIPERS. These skills focus on vocabulary, inference, predict, explain, retrieve and sequencing. The guided reading week concludes with ‘Non-fiction Friday’ where children will explore a non-fiction text and its features. This book links to the focus text from the week enabling children to broaden their understanding and develop their vocabulary.



Fluent Readers (Year 4, Year 5, Year 6)

Alongside Accelerated Reader, children in years 4, 5 and 6 are immersed in reading in a variety of ways: all designed to encourage independence in reading for both pleasure and purpose. All classes choose a book to be read to them by their class teacher twice each week which enables all children, regardless of their independent reading ability, to enjoy a story from start to finish. This model of  'whole book enjoyment' is further enhanced with our taught guided reading sessions each morning, in which the children in each reading set read together a book aimed at their level of reading ability. Each week, the teacher moves through different reading skills using this book and also incorporates a related non-fiction text. On a weekly basis, the children will practise their discussion skills as well as their comprehension skills for the set text, alongside their own free choice AR book which could be fiction or non-fiction.


Our reading data over the past few years has seen us rank above the national average from our phonics testing in Year 1 all the way up to SATS in Year 6.  Not only this but any child in the school would be able to talk about the books they love and the importance of reading for their future life. Parents also understand the impact of reading on their children and how as a school we support and nurture our families through reading.


NHAT Seaside follows current research and recognises that multiple studies have found a correlation between reading for pleasure and higher academic achievement in every subject, not just English. From our dedication to reading, Seaside children will leave with, a passion for reading and knowledge, improved literary skills, well developed empathy, improved social skills, extensive vocabulary, greater concentration and higher levels of creativity and imagination.