At Simpson’s Lane Academy, we pride ourselves in celebrating a love of reading throughout school from the moment the pupils arrive until the moment they leave. We encourage pupils to develop a love of reading so that they become life-long readers. It is our aim to ensure that all pupils become fluent readers as early as possible as we recognise how crucial this is for pupils to be able to access all areas of the curriculum. Our intent is that no child should leave our school without being able to read. 

We want our pupils to develop this love of reading. This is encouraged through the use of reading challenges, our school library and class texts. We ensure all of our pupils read widely and often, with fluency and comprehension appropriate to their age. Furthermore, we arrange engaging experiences such as author visits, Stay and Read sessions and Book Bingo to expose the pupils to the joy that reading can bring. This aims to involve and inspire the community with developing a love of reading. 


Our Reading Environment

At Simpson’s Lane Academy, we have two libraries that have been created especially for our pupils to engage and inspire their reading journeys.  These are open for children to access every lunchtime and in timetabled sessions to further immerse themselves in quality texts.

In addition to this, there are inviting reading areas situated throughout the academy where children may sit and read for pleasure in their own time; these ‘book nooks’ have been designed for pupils to use at both breaks and lunches and have been themed based on the most popular themes as voted for by pupils themselves.    

Each classroom in the academy is transformed into an inviting environment where pupils can cuddle up with a book of their choice.  These areas are themed on the whole class text for each year and change termly to match this.  Pupils enjoy using these spaces as part of structured sessions as well as breaks and lunches.

A strategic approach to story time is being embedded with classes visiting the library for this special time on a regular basis.  At the end of each day, all pupils in the academy enjoy listening to an age-appropriate story.  There are also opportunities for children to share their recommendations suggestions for books in our weekly ‘Book Blather’ sessions. 

Reading is not just limited to indoors.  We have two ‘Book Barrows’ that are taken out at breaktimes.  Both KS1 and KS2 children can choose a book from the barrow and sit and read under the shade of a tree, on a picnic bench or even hanging from a climbing frame! 

Reading Books

All our pupils are provided with books to read at home.  These are matched to each child’s reading ability and are closely monitored by staff.  This ensures our early readers are taking home a phonetically decodable book that is matched to their reading ability. In addition to this, we also have book trees located outside each classroom so children can select a second book to read for pleasure.  

In school, we listen to the pupils read regularly and they are then encouraged to read aloud to an adult at home at least three times a week. This is to help reinforce their word recognition; improve their fluency and confidence; and share their love of reading with siblings and parents. We reward pupils who read at home with green points. They are recognised weekly and half-termly in assembly with special prizes and everywhere around school, you will see encouragement for reading. We acknowledge that not all pupils will have the opportunity to read at home. Therefore, we ensure these pupils are listened to as often as possible within school. 

Whole class reading lessons

The Reading Strategy is a trust-wide approach to develop reading comprehension skills and reading for meaning strategies. It incorporates age-appropriate, challenging texts, which are rich in vocabulary an offer numerous opportunity for teaching and developing comprehension strategies.  These core texts are supplemented by a range of additional material such as non-fiction, plays, comics and poetry.  This exposes our pupils to a wide range of reading material and allows them to begin to find their preferences and develop their passion for reading. 

In addition to morning Whole Class Reading lessons, a second session (usually in the afternoon) takes place to allow pupils to practise fluency and decoding.  This session sees children working in smaller focussed groups with adults to practise their reading aloud.  Those children who are assessed as fluent readers for their age, access Reading Plus – an online learning platform – that develops reading comprehension and vocabulary whilst still measuring their reading rate and improving fluency with regular use.

A lovely message from Ally Sherrick

“It was an honour and a privilege to be invited to open the wonderful new KS2 library at Simpson’s Lane Academy.  What a fantastic place – so warm and welcoming and full of things to excite and inspire the children about reading. After I cut the ribbon, I  wanted to curl up with a good book on one of the comfy bean-bags and stay there for the rest of the day!  The school’s passion for books and reading was in evidence everywhere, from the KS1 and KS2 libraries and their librarians, and the brilliant corridor book-nooks – my favourite was the Sir David Attenborough book-nook – to the book-themed wall displays and outdoor stages encouraging creative play.

And I love the idea of your ‘Starbooks’ loyalty scheme. I’m sure with such an amazing choice of books on offer in the library and across the school, and with the evident passion you all have to encourage students to get reading, it will only be a matter of time before you’ve got a whole host of new ‘Starbooks’ Ambassadors eager to spread the word that reading can be fun as well as educational.

It was also a great personal pleasure to meet your Year 6 pupils and to have the chance to answer their questions about reading, writing and all things Black Powder. What a lovely, enthusiastic bunch!

Thank you again for the warm welcome and all the bookish creativity and fun. Happy Reading everyone!”

Reading for Pleasure Award