Building a Reading School with Hylton Redhouse Primary School

Case Study – Hylton Redhouse Primary School

‘I can see an impact across the school of our work with Seven Stories. The training makes us reflect and refine our practice in literacy. We are [taking creative risks] and experimenting with how to make our literacy meet our children’s needs. The ideas, practice and books we brought back from Seven Stories have become part of our collective language. I hear staff saying, ‘We need to hook them in to the books...’ The Seven Stories approaches to activities to introduce books has become part of what we do here, in the last two weeks I’ve seen three different classes in the hall using space and activity around reading.’ Louise Watson, Acting Head, Hylton Redhouse Primary School, Sunderland

This year Hylton Redhouse Primary School in Sunderland has been working with Seven Stories to enrich learning in school. The staff team wanted to change the way books and reading happened in school. They were drawn to Seven Stories ethos and wanted to bring creativity and inspiring books into school.

The whole staff team took part in professional development days at Seven Stories, became involved in book buying for the whole school cross curricular topics including Hooks into Books and hosted a Families Reading Together course for parents, carers and their children.

Professional Development: Books To Go; Reading for Pleasure at the heart of the classroom.

‘Each class has developed their own Reading for Pleasure area on a theme of their choice. Books from Seven Stories are here for children to read, there is lots of discussion now about books we like reading. Peer to peer, children are recommending books and bringing them in to be part of the class displays.’ – Diane Curley, Acting Deputy & Curriculum Leader.

‘I like the reading area, it’s relaxing and when I get in there and start reading I don’t want to come out’ Charlie, Year 6.

‘Before when you read in the class room it was noisy and distracting but now in the reading corner you can relax and block out everyone around you and enjoy your book.’ Nathan, Year 6.


Professional Development: Imagining the World; Community Cohesion

The whole staff team used this second piece of training and unique collection of books to plan for a whole school topic called ‘Take a Text’. Each class has a selection of books from the same core collection from Seven Stories. These books are then explored and enjoyed across the curriculum. Each week a class shares the book and the work they have done with the whole school in a Sharing Assembly.

‘We noticed the books we had related to war. We did drama and role-play about gangs and rules.’ Nathan, Year 6.

‘I was surprised that there were picture books for us in Year 6, I really liked them.’ Charlie, Year 6.

‘The children have narrative structures in their heads, they choose Seven Stories books as their favourite books and they are more confident about choosing books for themselves. This has had a strong impact in relation to Talk for Writing.’ Rachel Walton – Literacy Coordinator

‘Since the school took on the creative curriculum and the same topics across the school we’ve seen so much more progress. The Take a Text topic has created so much excitement and enthusiasm too. In Sharing Assembly, a year 5 class presented their work about a story that a year 2 class were working on too, the ripples of excitement and whispering in the assembly showed how much they were enjoying the book. We can observe that across year groups and within families, children are talking about the books they’ve read and the different work they have been doing. The quality, depth and diversity of writing in our year one class today was very impressive.’ Diane Curley, Acting Deputy & Curriculum Leader.

‘My class are reading’ Scallywags’, they’re looking at perception and behaviour, later we’ll go back to the artwork that was inspired by the story and move onto collage. They’re loving it, they can’t wait for the sharing assembly’ Miss Savage, class teacher.

‘I think I know why it’s called ‘The Colour of Home’ now. Red, yellow and orange are happy colours, blue, green and turquoise are sad colours. Warm colours remind him of home but cold colours at school make him sad’ pupil, year 5.

Families Reading Together Course

This course is to build parents and carers confidence and skills to have fun and enjoy reading at home. Parents take part as a group and their children join in too at various points. There are visits to Seven Stories and books and certificates to take home to keep.

‘There was a real buzz after only the first session. One mum came to tell me it had been a brilliant session and a right laugh.’ Louise Watson, Acting Head.

Book Buying

'We just don’t have the time to find a whole collection of books and we never would have used picture books at KS2, the picture books recommended by Seven Stories were so powerful.' Rachel Walton, Literacy Coordinator

The school receive Hooks Into Books packs from Seven Stories each term for each key stage and use these selections in a strategic, high profile way within the school. An appealing and exciting display of the books is kept permanently in the assembly hall. Seven Stories also supplies further books for use within the school, providing high quality advice and titles as part of a bespoke service.

Partnerships and Projects

Talk to us about your school's needs in terms of literacy, books and creative reading.

Contact the Learning team on 0300 330 1095 ext 213 or email