Reading Road Map

Do you want a new reading initiative that gets the whole school excited about books and reading?

The Reading Road Map is a reading initiative aimed at nurturing reading for pleasure and helping to improve literacy from KS1 to KS3.

There are currently 4 maps for Years 1&2, 3&4, 5&6 and 7&8.

Each map has a varying number of books and genres. For example the year 5&6 map has 60 titles and 11 genres (Adventure; Classics; Crime; Fantasy; Graphic Novels; Horror; Humour; Poetry; Sci-Fi and Sport),

The books are organised by genre along roads on the map (either of the school’s local area or the UK or in the Year 1&2 map, a generic cartoon park).

(The Year 5/6 UK Reading Road Map and Year 3/4 Islington Reading Road Map)

(The 2020/21 Adventure Reading Road map for Years 1&2)

All the titles on the maps will have been published in the last 12 months (except the classics genre). The back of the map has a list of all genres and titles with a traffic light system to signify how challenging each book is.

Go to our UK Reading Road Map website to find out more about the individual maps.

What do you get?

Each purchase of a Road Map set consists of one copy of each book, a road map for each child, stickers and certificates. Every time a child finishes a book, they tick it off on their map and receive a sticker. When they have read a quantity of books: 5, 10, 20 etc. they get a certificate from bronze to platinum. You can also buy additional sets of books.

How do you use the Road Maps?

Schools use the Road Maps in many ways. You can keep the books in the library or classroom book corner. Or bring the books out at break and lunch times for children to browse - this encourages discussion about which books the children like or dislike and why. Many schools use the Road Map titles in home reading journals.

The certificates are usually given out in assemblies to recognise and encourage children’s reading, especially those who may not be used to getting academic awards.

Children choose which title or genre they want to read first. We know some readers get stuck on one book or author and find it difficult to move on to something else. The road map genre lines encourage children to try different titles. Competitive energy then prompts children to try new genres: poetry, graphic novels, adventure, classics…

Encourage children to give every book a go. If they dislike it they shouldn’t be forced to finish it, there are many other titles to try. It is great to have lots of discourse about reading, even if some of it is negative. This helps with constructive critical thinking and empathy.

What impact will the Road Maps have in school and on literacy?

We believe that promoting a reading for pleasure culture in school is the best way to embed a love of reading in children. The more children read, the better their literacy skills become. We want the Road Maps to be a gateway to reading; many reading schemes narrow children’s reading horizons: we want to broaden them! Using the Road Maps children read more and read different. They discover and fall in love with new authors and titles. they take a risk on unfamiliar genres and discover that their opinions are valid.

Feedback from schools and an independent evaluation by the Open University show that the Road Maps encourage reading for pleasure and change reading habits. The Road Map encourages less able readers and challenges those who are more confident. Using the maps throughout the school helps a reading culture grow. Secondary schools that use the Year 7&8 Road Map report that it has helped alleviate the drop off in reading interest that often occurs at the beginning of KS3.

Teacher feedback:

"I have seen a major impact in the children’s writing in particular and in the development in their vocabulary since they started reading books on the Islington Reading Road Map." (Josh Year 5 teacher at St Mary Magdalene Academy)

"Some children who never engaged with reading before really liked the competition element to it. They loved the special books and ticking them off. They have definitely read more this year than they did last year. Children have also made an effort to go to the public libraries to find books when they haven't been available in school. The teachers have loved having another way to inspire reading at home." (Gillespie Primary School – letter to School Governors)

Children’s comments:

“You don't compete with others, but with yourself to read better and more challenging books.” Meneksegul

"I just realised that short books are really cool as well." Sophia Y6

"It's really fun and encourages me to read more at home. It will help children to read more. I feel proud that I get to stand on stage and be given a certificate for what I have achieved." Malachi Y5

"I think it's really fun. I like that we get to do it in school. The certificate and stickers help. I've had people come up to me and say well done you've read a book. It's encouraged me to read more." Lisa Year 5

"The Reading Road Map has been helping me to decide which book to read. You should use it if you want to read more." Daniel Year 6

Visit the UK Reading Road Map website for the new 2020/21 maps, full lists of titles & how to order.

In 2019 the Islington Reading Road Maps were independenly evaluated by the The Open University. You can read the summary report here.