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Children have a set of words to learn at home each half term, and they are tested in the last week of the half term. The words can be found in the children's planners.

These activities can help children practice their spellings: Spelling activity booklet


At Shirley Junior School we want our pupils to foster a love of reading, to be able to read confidently and enjoy reading.  All children must choose an appropriate reading book for their ability from the reading bookshelves to read at home as well as choosing a book of their choice from the library.

Each week we ask children to read at least 4 times at home, and to record their reflections on their reading in their planner, and we ask parents to sign the planner to say this has happened.

See the bottom of this page for some ideas of how the reflections could look, copied from the planners with permission from the children.

Reading Reflections

Reflecting when reading is a technique which helps children to engage with texts, rather than just reading words on a page. As children become confident with their decoding (reading individual words without the need for sounding out), they begin to develop their comprehension skills (understanding the meaning of a text). By thinking deeply about a specific aspect of a book and reflect upon meaning, children increase their comprehension skills. Decoding and comprehension are needed as children develop into confident readers.

Reading reflections can take place before, after or during reading and can be written or drawn images.

Here are some ideas to inspire reading reflections:

  • Meaning – Children identify words which they do not know the meaning of during reading. Using a dictionary, they discover the meaning of these unknown words and record these in their reflections.
  • Prediction – Before or after reading children think about what might happen next in a story. They record their thoughts in their reflections.
  • Retrieval – After reading, children draw one of the characters or settings using information from the text.
  • Inference – After or during reading, children select quotes to demonstrate a particular personality trait for a character or mood for a setting.
  • Choices – After or during reading, children record words or phrases chosen by the author which they found effective as a reader.
  • Structure – After reading, children comment on the layout of a text. They could discuss why an author has decided to include specific illustrations or images.

If your child really struggles to record their ideas, please speak to your child’s teacher who will suggest alternatives, such as the child drawing a picture to show an event in the text, or a verbal discussion which you can record briefly for them. We would encourage children to write their own reflections however, particularly in upper school, as children’s responses to something they have read can help inform an assessment of their writing, and also because it prepares them gently for their Key Stage 2 Reading test in year 6.  Those children who achieve “age related standards with greater depth” in their year 6 reading outcome are most often children who have consistently read and reflected on their reading at home throughout their time with us.

100 Book Challenges

These are classic books that we highly recommend.  For more information, see the bottom this page along with an extra 100 books for year 6.   We challenge children to read as many of these books as they can!

Reading Incentives

Teachers check children’s planners in class once a week and look at the preceding 7 days of reading.  We celebrate children who have taken the time to write their reflections by giving them house points, and we encourage children to engage more with their reading as much as possible.

Reading Tree

The reading tree is a display in the classroom. It may look like a traditional tree or the design may be connected to the class reading corner or a year group theme or topic.

Children who have 4 reflections in their planner get moved up the reading tree each week, and their efforts are celebrated with effort stars. This is NOT a reward for reading (we strongly believe that reading is its own reward), but for consistently and regularly reflecting on what has been read, because this is good practice and helps children to engage more with the book and ultimately to enjoy it more.