Topic outline

  • Read, read and read some more

    The importance of ‘just reading’.

    How much and how often children read really matters. During this challenging time of school closures, ‘just reading’ is one of the best ways to keep children learning and growing. 

    Once children have mastered decoding through their phonics work, reading as much and as widely as possible will ensure that they continue to develop, not just academically, but emotionally too. And the best way to improve reading is the most enjoyable – reading! As the reading scientist Mark Seidenberg puts it, “The serious way to improve reading – how well we comprehend a text and, yes, speed and efficiency – is this: Read. As much as possible. Mostly new stuff.”

    Encourage children to read themselves and parents to read to children using our range of weblinks to free books online.  In addition, encourage parents to follow one of the weblinks to free audio books or authors reading live given in our ‘Home Learning’ tab.  Encourage children to read stories, non-fiction and poetry – we have given links to all.  Encourage parents to listen to their child reading aloud, even if they are in Key Stage 2. Enjoy talking about the books they read and discuss unfamiliar words. Reading aloud will help children to build their fluency, so that when they read silently the ‘voice in their head’ is fluent too.  A guide for parents to support reading fluency is given below.

  • Reading comprehension planning units

    Each reading booklet contains a key text and suggested activities that can be used to develop comprehension and understanding:

    • The sequence should take no more than 1 hour to complete, it could be completed in two 30 mins sessions or four 15 minute sessions
    • Each sequence contains simple explanations and examples to help parents
    • All units are based on texts that can be found online, or extracts shared within the unit

     Parents, carers and siblings can help by:

    • Reading the extracts aloud with their child
    • Checking their child understands any new or unfamiliar vocabulary

    Teachers and parents should adapt any of the resources and materials as necessary to support a child's needs.  

    We welcome any feedback or examples of outcomes from children!

  • Pick and mix reading response ideas

    In addition to the text-led units, the HIAS English team have devised some reading tasks that we believe will be accessible to parents and children to keep children responding to reading during school closures. 

    This 'pick and mix' bank of ideas could be used with any text and used by schools / parents in many ways:

    • schools could break the ideas down and only give one at a time
    • the bank of ideas could be given to parents for 'challenge' for those requesting more independent work for their child
    • children could be given the sheet and encouraged to 'choose' one a week that they would like and present it in any way they like
    • alternate one week 'choice' and one week a reading unit
    • in any other way useful to schools!
    • these could be applied to texts read for pleasure or eBooks set by teachers 
    • these could be applied to texts children have read themselves or texts read to them by adults

    Feel free to adopt and adapt as you wish or evolve our ideas in whatever way works for your children.  There are task ideas for key stage 1 and key stage 2 – this will give differentiation options within the class.

  • Weblinks

    Oxford Owl free eBooks for home reading

    Free eBook collection, developed for children aged 3–11 years old. Help parents of young child learn to read, and love to read, with a range of over 100 free eBooks. They also have pages schools can direct parents to about supporting their child's reading - visit Reading pages.

    Make sure parents know which book band children should be choosing from. 


    Get Epic are offering FREE worldwide Remote Student Access through to the end of the school year (June 30th, 2020), by teacher invitation — no credit card required. Families need an invitation from their teacher to get started. Pupils will have anywhere, anytime access to the full Epic library on all devices (including web browsers, the iOS app and the Android app), and teachers can stay connected by assigning books and collections and tracking reading activity and progress.  

    What is great about GetEpic is that it includes tons of nonfiction, STEM, biographies, graphic novels and more.  There are also videos etc. 

    Follow this link to find out how to give your pupils access.

    Audible books

    Amazon Audible have made all stories free to stream.  Encourage children to download a story of their choice to keep them hearing books aloud.  Or why not consider encouraging the whole class to listen to the same book?  Then you can set some rich reading tasks from a text they have all had access to.

    BookTrust Home Time

    The BookTrust is the UK's largest children's reading charity. It aims to transform lives by getting children reading and this period of home learning is no exception.  As on other sites, author's are generously providing resources, videos and inspiration to keep children reading and interested in books.  Follow the link for ideas.

    Keep checking back to the page below as this will be regularly updated with everything that's going on, so you can help keep your children's love of books and reading alive - an excellent site to direct parents to.  We suggest directing parents specific authors, so there is some expectation and consistency within each class.  Try to link these to authors / texts you have already done in class or were intending to where possible.


    Search over 300,000 texts for all ages and genres.  Download opening chapters to share for units of work.  Alternatively, encourage parents to search by age, fiction, non fiction, book awards and more to keep children reading at home.

    Their kidszone encourages children to respond to their reading with reviews, activities, votes etc.  An excellent website for teachers, parents and children.