Recommended children's booklists sorted by age or topic

Home > Blog > Reading for Pleasure: Key Actions from the Revised Reading Framework

Reading for Pleasure: Key Actions from the Revised Reading Framework

We look at some key takeaways from the Department of Education’s newly revised Reading Framework and offer some action points for teachers and school leaders on what to implement this term.
revised reading framework action points blog

revised reading framework action points blog

Reading for Pleasure: Key Actions from the Revised Reading Framework

reading frameworkIn July 2023, the Department for Education unveiled a Revised Reading Framework. The revised version expands the original 2021 guidance covering Reception and Year 1 to encompass the rest of primary years Years 2 to 6 and also into Key Stage 3. 

The full document provides advice for schools on both the teaching of reading and the development of reading for pleasure. The framework explores the importance of teaching both word reading and language comprehension and encourages schools to implement swift and effective catch-up programmes when pupils fall behind, pointing out that wider curriculum learning depends increasingly on literacy as pupils progress through the school. 

Pleasingly, promoting Reading for Pleasure is emphasised heavily throughout the document too – including the importance of providing a quality selection of books in classrooms and libraries, the role of teachers as book influencers and the value of developing a reading-for-pleasure culture across the school. 

Among the non-statutory advice in the framework, a number of key actions can be drawn out that aim to support schools in developing reading for pleasure. In this blog post, we focus on four key actions from the document that your school can implement or develop in the term ahead, and some handy links to our resources to help you where we can.

 

1. Invest in Book Corners

books for reception bookpackWhat the framework advises:

The Revised Reading Framework offers direct advice for setting up book corners and libraries. It sounds like an obvious place to start – but in reality, book corners are low on the agenda for schools and are left to individual teachers. Some teachers make great efforts to make cosy book corners, often built from their own time and money and with little input or guidance from school leadership.

The Revised Reading Framework gives a valuable reassessment of the importance of book corners, and school leadership teams are encouraged to take a more deliberate approach to providing resources and guidance. The framework highlights that the focus of teachers’ time and attention when establishing book corners should be on the quality of books rather than elaborate decorations. While props, cushions, themed decorations and canopies are welcome in making an appealing and cosy environment for reading, this should not be given more emphasis than the task of selecting excellent books to drive the reading experience. Whether children are seated on a cushion, inside a tent or in a magical forest, the framework emphasises a focus on the importance of the books themselves.

The framework also provides guidance on the types of books to include, such as fiction, non-fiction, classics, recent releases, and books by the author of the current class reader – calling for a ‘feast’ of tempting books to be on offer:

“Pupils must be offered a feast of books: easy reads, books about how things work, graphic novels, joke books, irreverent books, books about animals – anything that might hook them into reading – as well as the more challenging books they will listen to in story times and study in English lessons. For some pupils, the hook into reading may be non-fiction, for example, a book on climate change recommended by a science teacher. Importantly, they need to be offered books they might choose to read over and over again.”

The Revised Framework suggests keeping decodable books used for learning to read in a separate area to maintain the book corner’s focus on reading for pleasure and asks schools to think twice before using banded books from various publishers that do not necessarily align with the
school’s chosen phonics program.

year group packsIn terms of displaying book selections, the framework recommends showcasing books with cover artwork facing outwards and placing interesting books at eye level. Regularly refreshing the collection with books from the school’s main library or using local libraries or schools’ library services to widen book offerings is also suggested.

Our Year Group Recommended Read lists are also designed to help schools identify a quality, balanced selection of 50 books specially curated for each year group and we highly recommend giving teachers time to browse the year group reads on our website or provide the printed lists or sets of the bookpacks for each class. Full sets of the 50 books chosen for each year group are also available for schools to purchase.

Key action points for class teachers:

  • Take an audit of the books in your reading corner. Do you need to ask your leadership to purchase a refreshed selection?
  • Think about the way your books are displayed. Can pupils easily see what is available? Can they spot books you have read aloud in class or books on relevant topics? Harness the expertise of your school librarian if you are fortunate enough to have one or look at other book corners in your school for inspiration.

Key action points for school leaders:

  • Take time to walk through the school and audit reading corners. Do books need refreshing? Do old books need to be culled and a new selection purchased?
  • Consider whether support or budget needs to be provided by leadership teams to help teachers, who can easily feel like designing and funding a book corner falls onto them alone. Could you provide dedicated staff meeting time to look at book corners and develop good practice?
  • Provide up-to-date lists of recommended books appropriate for each year group or consider purchasing full sets of recommended reads for each class reading corner.

Key resource:

 

2. Take Curriculum Book Selection Seriously

What the framework advises:

The framework emphasises the importance of schools making an intentional, specially selected offering of curriculum texts available to pupils. In reality, many schools find their book collections are more of a disarray – a mish-mash of older books that have been sitting in libraries and classes for years, often decades, and a selection of books pulled together by different teachers at various stages, both planned and spontaneous.

Despite the constraints of time and budget, the framework nudges schools towards a more intentional book selection process. Pupils should be given good opportunities to read across the curriculum with carefully selected texts to support the knowledge and vocabulary to be learnt for each subject. The framework states that:

“Each subject has its own purposes and will need different types of texts. They should be accessible and written at an age-appropriate interest level to encourage pupils to learn more about a subject.”

This means that time and effort need to be given to acquiring an appropriate selection of books to match curriculum topics, and especially texts that are well-matched to the reading age and stage of the pupils.

curriculum topic booklists

Our curriculum topic booklists are designed with exactly this in mind, and we strongly recommend schools cross-reference their curriculum plans with carefully curated booklists like our topic lists to help identify the most suitable selection of texts for each subject and year group. More advice around planning around texts and preparing pupils to read the selected curriculum books as well as an audit sheet is included in the full framework.

 

Key action points for class teachers:

  • Check what books you have available for each of the curriculum topics, and look carefully at their suitability for the age and stage of your readers. Are they inspiring? Do they add value to your curriculum teaching? Ask your curriculum leaders for advice, or consult specially curated curriculum topic booklists for recommendations.
  • Build time into curriculum lessons to utilise your key curriculum texts to expand subject knowledge, drawing attention to text features that support finding relevant information.

Key action points for school leaders:

  • Take time to cross-reference your curriculum with your book selections available in classrooms. Make a list of what you have and ask teachers where the gaps are.
  • Take time to see how effectively curriculum texts are embedded into lessons and offer training where required. Identify and showcase good practice where you see it and look to support and develop this area where required.
  • Make use of our carefully selected topic booklists to guide choices. Full packs for each topic list on our website are also available for schools to purchase with a 20% discount from Peters.

Key resource:

  • Primary Topic Booklists – reviewed and selected books listed by topic and key stage, organised by National Curriculum subject.

3. Prioritise Class Story Times

Choosing a good classroom readaloudWhat the framework advises:

The Revised Reading Framework offers guidance for story times in Reception and Key Stage 1, as well as advice for reading aloud sessions for students in older years. In a busy school day with all the pressures of fitting in the whole curriculum, story times can often feel like one of the first things to be squeezed out of the timetable. However, the framework emphasises the importance of prioritising times when adults read aloud to children – including in KS2 – and suggests that teachers need to strive to deliver story sessions at least four times a week for approximately 20 minutes at a time. For most schools, this will require deliberate timetabling and a commitment to help teachers prioritise and protect these precious times. More guidance in the practice of reading aloud is given in Appendix 4 of the full framework

The framework also recommends establishing a spine of books for reading aloud, including diverse stories and books that will extend pupils’ worldviews and vocabularies. To help schools with this, we have put together a list of books that are particularly well suited to being read aloud, and schools looking to diversify their own reading spines may also like to find in our lists of diverse and inclusive books helpful, which are organised by age and stage.

Key action points for class teachers:

  • Build story time into every day – aim for at least 20 minutes. Decide whether the best time will be first thing in the morning, just after lunch, or at the end of the day. Be deliberate about a time and stick to it every day. For some pupils it will be the highlight of the day and for many, the only time they are read to by an adult.
  • Choose a book that works well when read aloud. There’s nothing quite like a good class novel, and remember that short stories, poetry and non-fiction can be included too. We’ve put together some helpful pointers on choosing a class read-aloud in this blog post.

Key action points for school leaders:

  • Decide how to best protect class story times for teachers. Should the whole school have story time in the same timetabled slot? Will SLT members visit classes during storytimes to see what the children are enjoying listening to?
  • Make a list of the books that teachers are reading to their classes. Does your collection need wider diversity? If so, use our lists of diverse and inclusive books as a purchasing guide.


Key resource:

 

4. Equip teachers and pupils to become book influencers

What the framework advises:

The Revised Reading Framework makes a strong call for promoting a culture of reading for pleasure and emphasises that a key part of this includes the influence of teachers and peers in developing book talk. Pupils should have the opportunity to give and receive personal reading recommendations and to discuss the books they choose to read.

The framework offers the following pointers for harvesting the power of personal recommendations between members of your school community:

  • Check what pupils are enjoying, so they can recommend books to each other.

  • Advertise what others have enjoyed through classroom displays, signs and sticky notes in the books themselves: ‘Pupils who read this book also enjoyed…’

  • Ask pupils to provide a two- or three-word book review and offer them vocabulary suggestions: ‘page-turner’, ‘fascinating’, ‘engrossing’, ‘intriguing’, ‘hilarious’, ‘ridiculous’, ‘heart-wrenching’, ‘excellent characters’, ‘scary and sad’, ‘made me angry’, ‘tedious’ (rather than ‘boring’). 

  • Set up a pupils’ noticeboard for their own notes about books, and photos of themselves reading the books at home.

  • Maintain ‘Top Ten’ lists of fiction and non-fiction. 

  • Recommend books with similar themes, settings and characters: ‘If you liked this book, you might also like …’ 

  • Promote other teachers’ and the headteacher’s suggestions.

In order for teachers to be able to recommend and facilitate booktalk, they need time to develop their own knowledge of children’s literature. We recommend sharing our Books of the Month with your school community, which recommends 5 new children’s book recommendations each month as reviewed by our panel. You could also have a book recommendation board outside the headteacher’s office or in your school’s entrance area where staff and pupils contribute top choices, or a ‘What I am Reading’ poster on teachers’ doors. You can also build time in assemblies or staff meetings for teachers to share recommendations – or provide a staffroom library of children’s books for teachers to borrow and exchange.
branching out school library display
Another key resource for recommendations is our set of Branching Out booklists and posters, offering ‘you may also like’ suggestions for popular books and series. Why not print the posters and display them in corridors as a talking point to spark book recommendations? A well-placed display can be a fantastic driver of daily conversations, keeping the book buzz alive in casual conversations between community members.


Key action points for class teachers:

  • Look for opportunities to facilitate booktalk throughout your school day. How can you encourage pupils to share recommendations?
  • Find out what your pupils enjoy reading and look out for personalised reading recommendations that you can make for them.
  • Keep an eye on new children’s releases to top up your own knowledge of children’s books or commit to reading a new children’s book each month.

Key action points for school leaders:

  • Look for where community displays could be used around the school to facilitate booktalk. Do you have a place for staff and pupils to share recommendations? Have you displayed books or book cover images that might spark conversations?
  • Make the Branching Out posters available for pupils to browse and discuss in order to help them to share recommendations.
  • Consider how to enable teachers to improve their knowledge of children’s books. Do you need dedicated staff meeting time, or could you encourage staff to sign up for a local Teachers’ Reading Group?

Key resources:

  • Books of the Month – 5 newly published children’s books each month, reviewed by our panel
  • Branching Out Booklists – Use these to guide recommendations for pupils who like a particular author or series

 

There’s plenty more to unpack from the document. We’ve picked out just four key reading for pleasure actions to implement as a starting point for this term, but your school will also need to review its own teaching of reading and catch-up programs in light of the document too.  You can read the full Revised Reading Framework here.

Do let us know if you have implemented our suggestions or used our resources to help develop reading for pleasure in your school. Drop us an email or tag us on social media @booksfortopics – we really love to see your photographs!

———————

Where next?

Subscribe to our newsletter

Your Review

Stone Girl Bone Girl

review

Year group(s) the book is most suitable for:

Year group(s) the book is most suitable for:

Does the book contain anything that teachers would wish to know about before recommending in class (strong language, sensitive topics etc.)?

Does the book contain anything that teachers would wish to know about before recommending in class (strong language, sensitive topics etc.)?

Would you recommend the book for use in primary schools?

yes

Curriculum links (if relevant)

Curriculum links (if relevant)

Any other comments

Any other comments