Reading for pleasure at Hillside

At Hillside, we believe that children deserve a rich curriculum, which encourages extensive reading of different genres and authors.

We believe that active encouragement of reading for pleasure is a core part of every child’s educational entitlement, whatever their background or attainment because we know that extensive reading and exposure to a wide range of quality texts make a huge contribution to our pupils’ educational achievement.


At Hillside, we aim to promote the concepts of reading for ‘fun’, ‘enjoyment’ and ‘pleasure’.  We ensure that we include a range of books within the curriculum as well as the opportunity for sustained reading from a range of other self-chosen fiction and non-fiction texts from our school library and classroom reading areas.  We use our classroom reading areas to promote our favourite texts as well as to encourage children to continue reading texts to support our curriculum.

We believe that all adults who are part of the Hillside community should be ‘reading role models’ and we ensure that adults share their favourite texts with the children regularly.  We ensure that there is an opportunity for professional development for teachers to explore the huge range of printed and electronic reading materials to enable them to support children in their reading choices and develop a rich curriculum.

We ensure that reading is always high on the agenda and the school Reading Ambassadors help to promote this within school. They are a dedicated team of children from UKS2 who want to pass on their own love of reading to their peers and younger children in the school.

At Hillside, we promote the engagement of Reading for Pleasure through many strategies and initiatives that help to create our inspirational reading culture. Examples are included below:

Reading Ambassadors: Our children thrive on their leadership roles in school, none less than our Reading Ambassadors. These children promote reading for pleasure through the use of:

  • Assemblies
  • In school projects that encourage children to read regularly and widely
  • Supporting the celebration of children who achieve the Reading Rocket and other in school competitions
  • Facilitating the use of the reading lunch time boxes
  • Supporting the Mrs Wainwright to audit and order books for the reading scheme, library and classroom reading areas.

Reading Rocket- Children in school are challenged to read five times per week. This system has been running in school for over seven years and is well embedded into school life. This culture within school  ensures children develop  good reading habits of reading little and often.

The children are rewarded with extra break, a letter home and the chance to be in a prize draw to win Amazon vouchers.

Reading for Pleasure Lunchtime boxes- boxes of books and comfortable outdoor beanbags that encourage the children to enjoy reading outside of the classroom environment. The boxes also provide further opportunities for writing and encourage the children to use the texts they read as a stimulus for their own writing.

Gifted Reading for Pleasure book:  books, carefully chosen by each class teacher, are chosen and gifted to the children each term. The children receive three books per year and over their time at Hillside, will receive 24 gifted books!

Library- children have the opportunity to visit the school library on a weekly basis and to choose a book of their choice.

Mystery Reader- parents visit school, unbeknown to their child, and read a story to their child’s class. The children enjoy having many different adults reading to them.

Hillside Reading Bus: Our Reading Bus provides the perfect space for children to sit and enjoy a good book!

The children use the space for their Book Club meetings, small group reading interventions, whole class story time and once we are post Covid this space will be utilised at lunch times for reading buddies and other reading opportunities.

Author of the Term: Author of the term displays are evident in each classroom from nursery to year 6. These are changed either half termly or termly depending on the length of the texts. This initiative promotes a love of reading as children are exposed to up to thirty five different authors in their school life time. The children learn about their life, inspirations and get lost in their stories. Parents often buy further texts by the authors promoted in class and this is crucial for those readers who tend to read the same genre or author. Teachers are opening the children’s eyes to other authors and styles.

Reading for Pleasure (Twenty-five reads): At Hillside, to encourage children to read widely. Each class has a ‘Reading for Pleasure’ booklet of twenty-five texts that they are encouraged to read whilst in their current class. The children review the books they have read and recommend them to others within their class.

By the time a child leaves Hillside, they could have potentially read 200 books!

Hillside Book Week: Children at Hillside take part in a whole week of reading activities during Book Week including: book swap, parent reading sessions, extreme reading, performance (from an outside company depicting a much loved story book), whole school book quiz, writing competition using books as models for writing to name a few.

The activities promote positive reading habits and provide a platform for children to foster their love of reading.

Termly Book Clubs: There is a school book club that involves children having a copy of a book chosen by themselves. They are asked to read a set amount of chapters between meetings. The purpose of our book club is to expose children to exceptional literature, to promote the necessary skills for group discussion and to share ideas, explore differences of opinion and find common interests.

Reading Buddies: children in Year 5 pair up with a younger child in either Y2, Y1 or Reception and support them with their reading. This allows the older child to be a positive role model for the younger child; to help model good reading; increase each other’s’ self-esteem and to develop a love of reading.  This partnership has been running for over six years in school and all children involved benefit.

Hillside Virtual Library- Our Virtual Library provides an array of amazing, thought provoking texts that teach the children about empathy, diversity, emotions and inspirational individuals to name a few. The library can be accessed at home or via the school website. Children click on the book of their choice which then takes them to an audio book or video of the story.

Stoke on Trent 25 Reading Challenges:

Over the past term, we have been part of an exciting citywide project to complete twenty-five Reading for Pleasure challenges in order to promote this important skill in reading. Below demonstrates some of the challenges completed by the children.

Nursery: Children in Nursery created messages in a bottle for the Reception class.

Each child was photographed with their favourite book, they then found a bottle from the junk modelling box and rolled their picture up inside. The bottles were then put into Reception’s sand and water tray for them to find. The Reception children loved opening the scrolls and finding out the Nursery children’s favourite books

Reception: Children in Reception loved reciting and acting out their favourite nursery rhyme. The nursery rhymes showcase their amazing talents for remembering their favourite rhymes and also bringing them to life with their excellent fluency.

Year 1: Our Year 1 children picked their favourite traditional tales and mimed the main events of the story. They used props and repeated lines to bring their mimes to life.

The Year 2 children had to guess which Traditional Tales were being depicted. The mimes were so good that the children were able to guess them all correctly.

Year 2: Year 2 have loved Friday Favourites! Their class teacher organised the children into small groups and allocated them a date and time, the children were asked to present their favourite books to the rest of the class, including their favourite part, character/fact and who they would recommend the book too. They also read a short section out to their peers.

Year 3: The children in Year 3 created videos of their favourite poems for our local private nursery: Trinity Court. The children considered how to bring their poems to life and ensure that the children at Trinity Court enjoyed watching their performance.

Year 4: The children in Year 4 have created video adverts promoting their favourite books. The children have used persuasive language and important information about the books to encourage others to read them.


Year 5: The Reading Ambassadors set up a reading café in Year 5. They served a variety of books to children in their class and inspired others to read them by using the tag line: ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover!’ They used a selection of wrapped up books with the first page printed on the front to inspire their peers to read a different genre or author.

Year 6: The boys in Year 6 created posters to promote their favourite reads and to be reading role models for children in lower year groups. The posters included the main plot, characters, why they would recommend it and colourful images and slogans to persuade.  The girls in Year 6 created a Golden Line book for Year 5. They wanted to create a useful support for their transition to Year 6.

The golden line book has been organised into specific areas such as weather, tension building, character etc.

The following PowerPoint demonstrates many other whole school Reading for Pleasure challenges that were completed to promote a love of reading at Hillside. Our children thoroughly enjoyed completing them all and voted for their favourites that would be implemented in all classes across the school!