Reading

“Everyone is a reader... some just haven't found their favourite book yet.”

At Castle Hill, we want to make reading engaging, exciting and accessible to all. Our aim is that every child becomes a reader and has a love of books and reading. Our continuing drive is to encourage more children to read for pleasure, so they can develop into life-long readers. We aim to provide children with the opportunity to read for their own enjoyment through hearing and talking about stories read to them, whole class Talk for Reading lessons, independent or paired reading and sharing and receiving book recommendations from staff and peers.

What does Reading for Pleasure look like at Castle Hill?

Our Reading Environments

In each classroom there is an inviting reading area consisting of high quality texts for the children to choose from. Books are front facing and are easily accessible for the children to immerse themselves into books of their own choosing. All children are entitled to take a ‘reading for pleasure’ book home.

Reading Aloud

At Castle Hill, we want it to be a place where children are read to, enjoy listening to high quality books and share their enjoyment of stories through discussion.

Pie Corbett’s Reading spine is a core set of books that create a living library inside our children’s minds. It is a store of classics and essential reads that help our children engage at a deeper level and enter the world of the story.

We use these reading spine books in every year group over the school year and by the time they leave Year 6 they will have been immersed into 40+ fantastic books!

As a school we ensure that these high quality texts are read aloud daily to the children with the aim that every child will experience the pleasure and challenge of great literature. Reading aloud is a non-negotiable that isn’t gobbled up by finishing off or tidying up. Time is set aside for this every day.

Every week, we celebrate children’s achievements in reading. Teachers look out for children who are consistently showing engagement, effort and resilience in their reading. Every child who is nominated as ‘Resilient Reader of the Week’ gets the chance to potentially win a book from our vending machine!

Across the school, books are promoted attractively through our beautiful 3D displays and stairwells.

Celebrating Reading

We celebrate literature by organising author visits across all phases. Our most recent visit was from Tom Palmer.


On days such as World Book Day we set aside the timetable and really celebrate books.

Learning Knights

We want children and staff to support each other when reading. Our learning knights are used to promote positive reading behaviours within the classrooms and across the school. Each knight has a bespoke characteristic that is used to support children and staff recommending or choosing books to read.

What does the teaching of Reading look like at Castle Hill?

Early Reading

Throughout the week children in EYFS, KS1 and lower KS2 participate in a discreet daily structured phonics lesson. The scheme we use at Castle Hill is ‘Fishing for Phonics.’

Each day, after the phonics lesson, the children will apply the phonics skills just learnt or previously learnt to read a decodable book. The children are encouraged to sit with the book in-between both children, taking turns reading each page. They read this book everyday at school and are encouraged to read it at home too for the whole week. This will help the children to develop reading fluency.

Talk for Reading (Year 2-6) teaches children the strategies they need to tackle texts with a depth of understanding through whole class reading sessions. It is based on whole class modelling and shared reading, as well as effective guided and one-to-one teaching to deepen children’s understanding and engagement.

Talk for Reading is taught in three phases:

1- Introduction

During this phase children access and read the text with basic understanding. The children read, re-read, respond and discuss vocabulary for basic comprehension.

2 - Investigation

During this phase children read the text with fluency and expression, showing deeper understanding. The children use drama techniques like hot seating, freeze-framing to support their responses.

3 - Independent Application

During this phase children independently comprehend the main focus and are able to apply this in related contexts.

Please contact Natalie Collins to find out more about our Reading curriculum.