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Reading at Pokesdown

Drop into a Pokesdown daily class reading session and you will see the children totally engaged with the carefully selected books, engaged in meaningful discussion about the vocabulary within it, and most importantly simply developing a genuine love and enjoyment of books.

Our exciting integrated projects allow the children to interrogate a wide range of texts from scrutinising travel blogs about epic adventures to the fascinating South American country of Peru in year three, to dissecting an extract from ’Holes’ in year five, or a ‘hook’ involving a treasure hunt around the playground reading clues in a sequential order in year six. Reading widely across a variety of genres, both fiction and non-fiction, really helps the children to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, as well as to acquire important knowledge about the different subjects that are cleverly woven into our integrated projects.


Discussions about books play a key role in our integrated curriculum, and through our learning values, the children are encouraged to respond critically, and identify with the different texts whilst developing their cultural, emotional, social and spiritual understanding of a range of literature. Through our projects we aim to bring reading to life and give it genuine purpose, whilst encouraging the children to be both independent and reflective readers who can read fluently and for meaning. Our outcome events also give the children the chance to demonstrate their reading skills in meaningful, purposeful ways.  Year three children share their puppet shows depicting well know fables, whilst reading lively and entertaining playscripts that they have written collaboratively in small groups before an audience of parents/carers. They then demonstrate how after reading the narrative versions of fables, they can be re-written as playscripts using their knowledge of features of this genre.

Carefully planned days throughout the school year also help us to celebrate our love of reading and listening to stories. Our popular bedtime story events give the children the opportunity to return to school in their pyjamas in the evening, accompanied by their teddies and grown-ups, to hear the staff read a range of stories.  World book day in March always gives us plenty of opportunity to celebrate our love of literature too, and the annual year three sleepover provides another chance to listen to a range of bedtime stories before (hopefully!) sleeping in the school hall for the night.

We have strong links with Southbourne library, which is very conveniently located at the end of our road!  Often we have collaborated with them for key national literary events as well as hooks and outcomes, pivotal to our integrated curriculum. Year two for instance created an attractive mural for display in the library at the end of their project based on the imaginative and playful story ‘The day the crayons quit’ in their project entitled ‘Crazy crayon crisis’. (If you haven’t yet read this fantastic book by the popular author/illustrator duo Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers I thoroughly recommend that you do!)


Phonics Is taught through active learning using a six-phase systematic synthetic phonics teaching programme. We endeavour to engage and motivate our early readers through a range of sensory learning experiences. Following the teaching of the ‘au’ digraph, the children were encouraged to create a 3-d haunted house scene with hanging bats displaying all the different ‘au’ words. Through this approach the children significantly extended their vocabulary by independently researching some complex multisyllabic words. We teach phonics daily through whole class and small targeted group sessions.

We have a whole school reading scheme (using books from a range of schemes levelled using the book banding system) that ensures progression in both word reading skills and comprehension,  focussing on individual sounds, groups of sounds and common exception words within different ‘phases’.  The children love independently choosing their own texts from our attractive library area, which encourages a  love of reading for all.


We value the pivotal role that our parents and carers provide in supporting children with their early reading. The positive links that we have created with our school community have certainly enriched their reading journeys. This initial journey will lead to a lifelong love of books which will broaden their horizons, knowledge and experiences as they step towards tomorrow’s world.