Year 1 Reading Page

A message from Mr Hawtree:

“Reading was one of my favourite things to do when I was a little boy and is still one of my favourite things to do now, including reading by myself and sharing books with the children in my class and at home with my daughter.  I love how a book can take you on world of adventures and emotions.  One of my favourite books is ‘The Gruffalo’ by Julia Donaldson. I love all the characters, the wonder, imagination and the humour that the author creates throughout the story.” 

My Other Favourite Authors

Another of my favourite books is Fantastic Mr Fox, because of the memories it creates for me… it is the first book, which I can remember being read to me as a child, by important family members. I recall the images it created in my imagination and what’s not to love about the sound of a fox outsmarting three farmers. Roald Dahl from then on became one of my favourite authors.


Roald Dahl


Roald Dahl was born in Wales in 1916.  In the second world war he fought as a fighter pilot, and was badly injured when his plane crashed. After the war he worked in America, and soon started writing stories.

His very first children’s book was called The Gremlins. Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of the President of the USA liked it so much he was invited to the White House and became friends with the President, Franklin D Roosevelt!

He wrote a number of books and short stories for adults, But it was as a children’s author that he found greatest fame and satisfaction, saying “I have a passion for teaching kids to become readers…Books shouldn’t be daunting, they should be funny, exciting and wonderful.” Millions of fans around the world agreed and have chuckled and gasped at his amazing stories. His mesmerising stories, written in sizzling, sparkly language, will lead you into adventures you’ll never ever forget.

Although he died in 1990, his books have continued to be read and loved, and have been made into a number of hit films, including Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. You can even visit the Roald Dahl Museum in the village where Dahl lived for most of his life.






Julia Donaldson

Julia is the award winning, bestselling author of much-loved modern classics like The Gruffalo, Stick Man and What the Ladybird Heard. She was also the Children’s Laureate 2011-2013.

“I grew up in a tall Victorian London house with my parents, grandmother, aunt, uncle, younger sister Mary and cat Geoffrey (who was really a prince in disguise. Mary and I would argue about which of us would marry him).

Mary and I were always creating imaginary characters and mimicking real ones, and I used to write shows and choreograph ballets for us.

My real breakthrough was The Gruffalo, again illustrated by Axel. We work separately – he’s in London and I’m in Glasgow – but he sends me letters with lovely funny pictures on the envelopes.

When I’m not writing I am often performing, at book festivals and in theatres. I really enjoy getting the children in the audience to help me act out the stories and sing the songs”

Mr Hawtree’s Favourite Books:

The Gruffalo, What the lady bird heard, Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson (some of my best memories as a parent).

Skelling by David Almond.

Stig of the Dump by Clive King.

Carrie’s War by Nina Bawden.

Kensuke’s Kingdom and My Friend Walter by Michael Morpurgo.

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.

Children’s Classics: Treasure Island, Black Beauty, The Jungle Book and The Secret Garden.

Reading is important to Mrs Breakwell. 

Reading is important to me because it takes you out of yourself and transports you to other worlds. One of my favourite books is ‘The Mousehole Cat”; I love animals, especially cats and as an artist I am really entranced by the illustrations. One of my other favourite authors is Roald Dahl, and I love Quentin Blake’s illustrations. Having said all of that, I think my favourite books are J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books. I can spend hours immersed in her magical world-hiding with Harry under his invisibility cloak, prowling the halls of Hogwarts at night, soaring through the sky on a broomstick and battling Voldemort and his Death Eaters…

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.  Take a closer look…

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


Story time

At the end of every school day we have story time where a book is read to the class.  This is often read the adults in our class or sometimes by visitors, who we invite in to share their favourite books with us. Children are also given the opportunity to read to the rest of the class.  Often our story time book is chosen by way of a daily book vote or a child may request  a book that they are interested in. 

We also read class texts, which are longer books above the level of reading for the children.  This gives the opportunity for the children to enjoy more complex plots and learn new vocabulary. During discussions of different aspects of the story they are able to further develop comprehension.

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.



Home reading

Children take books to read at home which follow a book banded system.  This enables children to regularly practise and consolidate using their phonics knowledge and inference skills.  They progress through the banded system at a personalised rate of progress.  Children also take home phonics specific books and are able to visit the school library weekly too so they can take a picture book to share with their family.

To encourage reading at home we have a display in the reading area which links to the class topic.  For example we had a ‘Reading is my Super Power’ board when we were learning about Superheroes and had a ‘Reading Road Round Pershore’ when learning about our local area.  Each time a child reads at home they move around the reading board, aiming to reach the end section where they can choose a reading prize.



Ideas and Resources for Parents

With a world of books to choose from these are a selection of useful resources for suggestions to read and explore with your child. 

Books for Topics suggests this list of 50 recommended reads for Year 1 which I would wholeheartedly agree with.  I use some of these books in the classroom for our ‘book as a hook’ creative planning and the majority of these are available in our class library for the children to enjoy themselves.  You can download a checklist of these 50 books with the link below if you would like to via the link below:

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!!

Books for Topics

Yr 1 Reading List

Best 100 Books