The Five Plagues

From Nursery to Year 6, children study the 'Five Plagues' in whole class reading sessions. These five plagues represent five different challenges presented in literature:

  • Archaic texts (stories written in older language)

  • Non-linear time sequence (books which treat time in an unusual way)

  • Complexity of the narrator (stories which are challenging because of the narration)

  • Complexity of story (books with a challenging plot)

  • Resistance texts (texts which are written to be deliberately difficult to understand)

We believe a steady exposure to these different challenges will help to prepare our pupils as life-long readers. Reading tricky texts provides our students with a toolkit for future reading. Within these lessons, children will also explore a range of non-fiction texts; develop their understanding of new and challenging vocabulary; listen to their teacher's 'thoughts' as they read and improve their fluency. 


Non-Fiction Texts

We believe that pairing non-fiction texts with fiction books helps to increase absorption rate of both texts. Children are more likely to remember the non-fiction because they are then applying it within the story they are reading, and they are more likely to understand the story because they then have the non-fiction background. Across the school, children are given the opportunity to explore a wide variety of non-fiction texts in conjunction with their plague text on topics such as: asthma, bullying, dementia, refugees, deaf awareness, and the holocaust. They also explore non-fiction texts and poems which link to the science, history and geography curricula. 


Reading Culture

Reading for pleasure is of paramount importance and we work hard to ensure that all pupils develop a love of reading. We publish Book of the Month recommendations; have reading challenges within every year band; create links with authors, through visits and video calls; share a reading newsletter monthly with parents; have timetabled story sessions throughout the school and build a reading community through constant book talk. 


Reading at Home

It is vitally important that children are heard read every night at home. We recommend that parents work with their children for at least twenty minutes a day on their reading. Research states that children who are heard read at home for this length of time will hear 1,800,000 words per year and will, on average, fall in the 90th percentile. Reading at home may involve your child reading to you or you reading part of a story to them. This could involve sharing a book or reading a magazine or newspaper. Try to promote book talk as much as possible in the home. 


Accelerated Reader

We use the Accelerated Reader system as our home-school reading system for Key Stage 2. Children will complete a 'Star Assessment' termly and are given a ZPD score. Books in our school library are organised by ZPD and pupils may choose their own books from the selection within this range. When they have finished a book, children take a quiz to see if they have thoroughly read and understood it. Passing these quizzes gives them points and they can get certificates based on their reading achievement. 

Reading Newsletter
Book of the Month
Top 20 Lists

Reading Tips for Parents

We ask that parents listen to their children read every night at home. With the younger children, this will help them to improve their word recognition, therefore building up their sight vocabulary and fluency. However, for those children who are fluent readers, parents should concentrate on developing their child’s understanding of the text. It may not be necessary to listen to fluent readers every night, but instead to question them about the text that they have read.

Reading with children and helping them practice specific reading strategies can dramatically improve their ability to comprehend. We have included a number of questions that parents can use with their children to develop their comprehension skills.

It is not expected that parents cover all of these questions every night, but rather that they concentrate on two or three questions each day.



Write two things that the text tells you about . . . .
What information are we told in the first paragraph?
What is this paragraph about?
Write two things this non-fiction text tells you about.
What can we learn about . . . . . . from reading this non-fiction text?
Can you describe in your own words what has happened so far in the story?
The story is about . . . . . ? (give list of choices).
What is the main event in the story?
What is the highpoint in the text?
Which words tell you that . . . . .?
What are the differences between fiction and non-fiction?

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