The Federation of Fairfield and Colneis

Reading at Colneis

At Colneis Junior School we aim to encourage our children to have a positive attitude towards reading, with a genuine interest in a wide range of books which results in reading for pleasure. Reading can benefit our children in many ways. It enables them to broaden their imagination, to increase their vocabulary and to develop excellent writing skills. As parents you are your child’s most influential teacher, with an important part to play in helping your child learn to read.

So how can you help?

Encourage your child to read for at least 20 minutes every day. Children need to read regularly to enable them to develop their fluency and understanding. They will be rewarded in school for reading at least 4 times a week.

Encourage your child to use school resources, the school library and Felixstowe library (

Our school has invested in 00’s of quality texts that the children can enjoy reading both in school and at home. 

Talk to your child about their choice of book, what they enjoy about it and the storyline, including the characters and the key events. Ask questions to promote discussion and understanding.   Introduce your child to different texts, such as fiction, non-fiction books and poetry. Share books that you are reading and talk about stories you enjoyed as a child.   Keep reading aloud to your child. Children love to be read to and it develops their vocabulary, word recognition, fluency and imagination.

We use Accelerated Reader (AR) at Colneis, which is a computer programme which enables teachers to track the children’s independent reading and progress through the comprehension quizzes they take after completing each book.  All children also have access to MyON, which is digital reading platform with 000’s of AR quizzable books. (See further information below and this parent letter)

Accelerated Reader

Accelerated Reader is a reading programme that allows children to choose books that interest them within their band width. The band width is called ZPD (Zone of Proximal Development) which is calculated based on a termly digital comprehension test. The results give teachers the information they need to monitor students’ reading practise and make informed decisions to guide their future learning.

Your child will pick a book within their ZPD range. They will read the book and when finished take a short digit quiz in school, based on how well they have understood the story, vocabulary and grammar and their understanding of the themes in the book. The quiz result shows how well they have understood what they read.

The reading programme generates reports that allow teachers to see how well students are performing at class, group and individual level. It brings together data from the Accelerated Reader and the Renaissance Star Reading assessment to allow teachers to diagnose problems and inform intervention programmes.

Appropriate challenge

Pupils develop reading skills most effectively when they read appropriately challenging books – difficult enough to keep them engaged but not so difficult that they become frustrated. This is their ‘Zone of Proximal Development’ (ZPD)

Accelerated Reader BookFinder

The dedicated online book-searching tool Accelerated Reader BookFinder is publicly available to students, parents, teachers and librarians so they can identify appropriate books that are also of interest.

Best practices

Research-based recommendations underpin the best practices for Accelerated Reader implementation. The importance of daily, personalised reading practice cannot be overstated. Recent studies indicate that when students spend 25 minutes a day reading suitably challenging books which they successfully comprehend (demonstrated by achieving 90% or more on the reading practice quiz), then they will achieve optimal reading age growth. This is the power of personalised practice.

What is myON?

MyON by Renaissance is a student-centred, personalised literacy platform that offers every student unlimited access to an enhanced digital library that supports Accelerated Reader.

Reading Passport

At Colneis, we have also introduced a Reading Passport.

The aim is for every child to read each book from the list by the end of Year 3/4/5/6. Some may be read with parents, some will read at school and some children will read independently.

The Reading Passport is totally personal: children can stick a photo or draw a picture of themselves and complete their personal information.

The books that are in green font will be read and shared in class with Mrs Walker in Book Club. Children can highlight the books that they read with their class teacher. The rest are for children to explore and read in their own time.

Once children finish a book, they complete the information about their reading journey, and ask for a sticker from each destination.

At the end of the year, and at the end of the passport, children will record which book and moment that was your favourite, and there is a prize for each child that completes the Reading Passport.

Parents, do you have a reluctant reader at home? Try these ideas to encourage your child to read.

Paired Reading

Each night read a brief passage or poem or to their child. This is followed by you and your child reading the passage together several times. Then your child reads the text to you. 

Echo Reading

In echo reading, the adult reads one sentence or paragraph at a time while the child follows along in the text with their finger. Once the adult pauses, the child echoes back the same sentence or paragraph following along with their finger so that you can be sure the child is actually reading and not simply copying you.

Use this method as a way to get hesitant readers to practice with you at home. Stubborn readers have a tendency to let their guard down when you practice with them using the echo reading method. Build reading stamina by reading more for longer each time you read together.

Understanding the expectations, skills and terminology.


This is the way in which children sound out an unfamiliar word. Even fluent readers come across words they do not recognise so they need a strategy to be able to break the word down into sounds they know. They can then blend these sounds so they can hear the whole word. Please encourage your child to use their phonic sounds to make a sensible attempt at the word, rather than guess, as this will increase the accuracy and fluency of their reading.

Common Exception Words

Common exception words are words that do not follow the common phonetic spelling rules children learn. Many of these exception words are used frequently, hence the use of ‘common’ in the name. The Common Exception Words for each year group are included in the children’s Reading Diaries.


To read words accurately and fluently means to read without overt sounding and blending, e.g. at over 90 words per minute. The wider the children’s vocabulary and experience of reading, the greater their chance of developing fluency as well as an understanding of the text.

Understanding and correcting inaccuracies

Children need to listen to the words as they read so they can check that the text makes sense to them and self-correct inaccurate reading. Encouraging the children to ‘turn the TV on in their head’ helps them focus on the words they are saying and the images that are being created. We encourage the children to read the sentence back if we hear any inaccuracies and discuss their understanding if they do not recognise their mistakes.


It is vital that the children develop an understanding of the language used by the author and can discuss the words in context and why the writer made these choices. Discussing words that have a similar meaning, the effect these words have on the reader and why the author made these choices develops the children’s vocabulary and comprehension.


This is the ability to ‘read between the lines’ and requires the children to use clues in the text and their understanding of the context. They can then use evidence in the book to answer questions and justify their answers.


This is closely linked with inference as the children should be able to predict what might happen from the details given and the information that is implied by the character’s actions and the author’s use of language.


Through discussions with the children we can encourage them to explain how the content is structured and organised and how the vocabulary that is used gives meaning as well as information. The children are expected to explain how meaning is enhanced through the authors choice of language and the impact it has on them, the reader. The children are also encouraged to explain themes and patterns that develop across the text as well as key features in the text such as headings, labels or speech bubbles.

Retrieve and Recall

The children are taught to locate important information, retell stories and describe events, characters and settings. They are encouraged to use this skill to answer comprehension questions as the information and key details they retrieve are evidence for their answers.


By listening carefully to what they read or have read to them, the children are encouraged to discuss and summarise what they have read within one or more paragraphs and explain the key points. Gaining an understanding of the whole text enables the children to sequence and recall events in the correct order, discussing what has happened before and after and why.

Comparing, contrasting and discussing Through class and group discussions the children will begin to understand that writers write for a purpose and with a viewpoint that will have an impact on the way a text is written. During these discussions we want the children to use the appropriate terminology (plot, character, setting) and to make links with one another’s ideas and experiences.