Herts for Learning

Blogs for Learning


Reading for Pleasure

The power of a good book – leading the way to successful grammar teaching.

In this blog, Kathy Roe looks at the invaluable role that high quality texts can play in supporting children’s knowledge and understanding of grammar. 

Continue reading “The power of a good book – leading the way to successful grammar teaching.”

Reading on the Rise -Raising Standards conference 27th March

We are extremely pleased to be able to provide schools with an opportunity to hear from Sarah Hubbard  – Ofsted’s National Lead for English – who will be leading a session on ‘Reading, assessment and curriculum development’. Places are limited so early booking is advised.

Continue reading “Reading on the Rise -Raising Standards conference 27th March”

HfL Primary English newsletter Spring 2017

Here we are again.   A new term.  A new year.  We hope that you have had a lovely Christmas break and that the new term has begun as smoothly as possible for you all.   With this in mind, we thought we’d share our latest-hfl-primary-english-newsletter-spring-2017as swiftly as possible, especially as it is such a short half term.

Continue reading “HfL Primary English newsletter Spring 2017”

A book (is) for life (not just for Christmas): Back to Marianne Dreams

Following on from our recent blog on books that trigger emotional responses, Alison Dawkins offers some reflections on one such book that has left a lingering trace.

A few weeks ago, my chum Martin  wrote about the importance of reading scary and sad books , as adults and as children, and as usual, got me thinking. Specifically, thinking again about Marianne Dreams by Catherine Storr .

He’s quite right, when he mentioned the book back in the summer, I visibly shuddered with a ‘oh, that book’s so scary’, (although I have to say there was already a set of six copies in the guided reading choices for Y6 in my old school, ready and waiting to scare them each year) and agreed to re-read. Oddly, I found that I’d misremembered the ending, and then in fact, realised I’d misremembered it before. A deliberate trick of my subconscious because I still find it quite unsettling for all its apparently happy tying up of ends? I wonder.

Continue reading “A book (is) for life (not just for Christmas): Back to Marianne Dreams”

Do judge a book by its cover!

Ruth Goodman is an English Teaching and Learning Adviser for Herts for Learning and is  also a contemporary artist.

Some of my earliest memories are of sharing a picture book and poring over the illustrations. I found these books were a feast for my eyes, with exquisite illustrations that were just as important as the text. These two elements in picture books work wonderfully together to tell a story that is a blend of text and art. This means that there is always great excitement within the HfL English team when a new picture book arrives to share with schools.

Continue reading “Do judge a book by its cover!”

Do the Voices – Reading Aloud in the Primary Classroom Pt. 2

Martin Galway is an English Teaching and Learning Adviser at Herts for Learning


Right then, where were we? In the last blog I hopefully established that reading aloud to children is a very good thing.  But what if you still haven’t managed to persuade the right people that it deserves its place in the primary classroom?  Read on to further reinforce your case…

The Primary Curriculum (2014) not only gives you licence to provide great reading aloud opportunities, it makes them a statutory requirement.

Continue reading “Do the Voices – Reading Aloud in the Primary Classroom Pt. 2”

Do the Voices – Reading Aloud in the Primary Classroom

Martin Galway is an English Teaching and Learning Adviser for Herts for Learning.


I shan’t beat about the bush. This right here is a wonderful blog on reading aloud to children. So wonderful, it has inspired us to republish this  article published last year in NATE’s Primary Matters magazine.  I initially wrote it because I had found it particularly difficult to protect the time that I wanted to devote to reading aloud to my pupils and then later realised I was not alone.  Here, if you need it , are the arguments to be made for some form of story-time and a few tricks for getting it back on the agenda.

Continue reading “Do the Voices – Reading Aloud in the Primary Classroom”

Reading for Pleasure: where to begin…

Kerry Godsman is Lead Adviser for Primary English at HfL


New Picture

A love of books is something we all aspire to develop in the children we teach. Studies have found that reading for pleasure is more important to a child’s educational achievement than their family’s wealth or social class. Research carried out for The Reading Agency has found strong evidence that reading for pleasure can increase empathy, improve relationships with others, reduce the symptoms of depression and the risk of dementia, and improve wellbeing throughout life. If reading is a pleasure for them, children won’t see it as ‘work’, but as a way of accessing a wealth of information and opening door to other worlds. We are all well aware of the link between reading and writing: good readers are most likely to be good writers. So the underlying message in the English curriculum – that promoting reading for pleasure is vital – is one that every teacher would echo. Continue reading “Reading for Pleasure: where to begin…”

Blog at

Up ↑