Year 1 Reading Page

A message from Miss Russell:

I haven’t always been a lover of reading, but I’ve always loved stories. I remember fondly listening to The Hobbit on cassette, as we visited family in Birmingham, Dad reading my bedtime stories – especially Fantastic Mr Fox – and listening to my grandad tell his unusual, and frequently scary, stories; he definitely liked to make us jump! I remember the warmth from sharing those moments and it is this love for stories, the associated questions and the patience of the adults in my life that, has probably made me as inquisitive and eager to learn today, still!

When a relative bought me Rhyming Russell by Pat Thomas, I was hooked. Then I saw a good picture on the front of Gillian Cross’ ‘Crazy Shoe Shuffle’, that intrigued me, so I read that too. Harry Potter was the latest craze at about this time, so I read that series too and found that I had become an avid reader. I started reading for fun, and reading on my own, and a whole other world opened up. A world where I didn’t have to do the chores if I was reading in my room and a world where anything was possible: where Harry Potter beat Voldemort and Rhyming Russell stopped rhyming!

At university I challenged myself to read the top 50 books listed by The Independent newspaper, and this is when I read Pride and Prejudice and Catch-22 for the first time, and absolutely loved them. When on holiday in France, our car got broken into and they took my bag with Catch-22 in; I was more disappointed about that than the smashed window. Luckily, I found the book down the beach and the insurance sorted the window!

Ever since then I read as frequently as I can and a wide range of books, from self-help books, to story books, reference books and the Bible. I’ve got to say, I especially love finding books to use in the classroom. I can lose many an hour in book shops. looking at the children’s books!

For me personally reading didn’t start to become a passion until I was 8 or 9 years old, but my love for stories started the moment my parents read me my first story and continued when we listened to audio stories in the car. That’s why for me, reading doesn’t start with the letter on the page, but with the sharing of stories. In Year 1, we listen, we share, we ask questions, we promote a love of stories, as we learn to read. 

Miss Thorley loves picture books as well as novels, but her favourite book is The Dream Snatcher, by Abi Elphinstone.


“I love to read and enjoy a really wide range of genres and authors. I love any book that can take you out of yourself and lift your spirits and any author who can lift the colours off the page and drop them into your lap.”

Reading is embedded throughout the Year 1 curriculum in all areas of learning and is highly valued by staff and children.  We focus on developing children’s pleasure and motivation for wider reading opportunities, which help to introduce appropriate levels of challenge and to broaden vocabulary, and develop fluency and comprehension.  Take a closer look…

We start our day with a morning challenge and reading a book of our choice. The collection of books changes every 2-3 weeks and we love to share and talk about them. We definitely always find a class favourite too! And on a Friday, it is magazine treat day where we can look at magazines, such as Paddington, The Beano, and National Geographic Kids.

Just before morning break we have our snack and listen to our weekly story. This is normally one of our core texts for Year 1 with a few of Miss Russell’s favourites added in.

We have guided reading four times a week, where we read to Miss Russell and Mrs McLean during these sessions. We also have lots of visitors who come and hear us read too!

On top of all this, we have two books which we take home! One of the books is to develop our reading ability, but the other one is free choice book that we can share with an adult at home.


Reading in Year 1 is one of the highest priorities as such we ensure we have phonics everyday, guided reading four times week and reading diaries are checked daily. Most importantly, we try to foster and environment where we love and enjoy books.

“Reading is a passport to many adventures!” Mary Poe Osborne



Class Library

The children have access to our class library throughout the day, which they use in their free time, for example when they have completed their work set or during reading times at the start of each morning and afternoon.  Children can sit in the book area and choose from a range of fiction and non-fiction books, choosing to read independently or with others.  Each week, two of our class members are given the responsibility of being librarians and taking care of our library.


Book as a Hook

At Holy Redeemer school we follow a creative curriculum and part of this is using a book as a hook to further learning, where the teacher chooses a book to begin each week or topic and plan the lessons for the curriculum through this.  This approach to learning really brings books to life for the children.

Some of our favourite books this year so far have been:

  • The Rainbow Fish
  • Mr Wolf’s Pancakes
  • Charlie’s Superhero Underpants
  • Mr Gumpy’s Outing
  • Traditional Tales


Visitor Story times

We also have regular story time sessions where we invite parents and other family members to join us.  This allows children to share books with others. Additional reading activities available too, including book reviews, word finding games and drama opportunities.

We invite other classes to join us for story times too.  Sometimes the other class bring books they have written, or would like to share,  and on other occasions Year 1 choose the books.


We know that reading every day supports every area of our learning, from supporting our spellings to helping us come up with ideas for our own writing in literacy.  We also know that everybody is constantly reading things all of the time, without even thinking about it – posters around school, food labels so we know what we are eating, the TV guide so we know what we are going to watch, instructions on computer games, adverts, road signs, names of board games…  
Words are literally EVERYWHERE!!

Yr1 Core Texts

Yr 1 Reading List

Best 100 Books