Teaching Primary Reading – The complete story

Just Imagine and Agate Momentum Trust are delighted to be working in partnership to offer a comprehensive reading course designed to have maximum impact in your school. The course comprises workshop-based sessions and classroom visits to observe and reflect on practice.

How do schools with well above average free school meals and EAL students achieve significantly above national results? Hallsville and Scott Wilke, situated in Canning Town and Custom House have done just that. According to their leaders, the answer lies in the following: prioritising reading on the timetable and school development plan; ensuring staff are knowledgeable about how to teach reading; insisting teaching materials are enriching, deep, sequenced and well thought through.

Keri Edge, Trust Leader and NLE, says:

Agate Momentum Trust has, for the past 4 years, been working in partnership with ‘Just Imagine an organisation that seeks to promote excellence in the teaching of reading.
Our greater-depth results have never been so high, and I know this is down to ‘Take One Book’ and the ‘Reading Gladiators’ programmes that are planned and provided by thisamazing company.


UKLA awarded Hallsville Primary School Literacy School of the Year in recognition of its outstanding literacy programmes and students’ achievements.

Who is this course for

English leads, class teachers (years 1 – 6)
We invite a senior leader to attend the first and final sessions with the English lead for maximum impact.

What will delegates learn?

  • Understanding the relationship between teaching reading and raising readers.
  • Developing a culture of reading and environments that support real reading.
  • The importance of teacher knowledge of children’s literature, including fiction, nonfiction, picturebooks, graphic novels and poetry.
  • Approaches to developing comprehension and meaning-making that work (not implementing routines and rituals with high levels of redundancy).
  • Increased knowledge and understanding of inference-making and the challenges that texts present.
  • Learning about language, including grammar, vocabulary and literary language in the context of reading.
  • Creative teaching approaches that engage learners, including storytelling, drama, music and art, understanding how they work and when to use them.
  • Understanding the challenges of disciplinary literacy (history, science and geography) and the teaching approaches that support learners.
  • The potential of texts and planning a sequence of work.
  • Developing whole school policy and making sustainable change.

What Is included in the training?

  • eight face-to-face training workshops with class observations and review
  • The introductory and final session to include a senior leader.
  • Practical gap tasks to inform reflective practice.
  • 12 months Imagine school subscription, which includes access to Take One Book resources and Just Imagine Primary School Book Club (If you are already a subscribing school, you will have 12 months free subscription from the date that your renewal falls due). This is worth £300 plus VAT.
  • Six books used in ‘Take One Book’ (per school). This is worth £60.

Course Description

Teaching reading is, without doubt, one of the most important objectives of primary education. It has been a hotly contested topic. Research indicates that children who choose to read experience many other benefits, such as better health and well-being, increased chances of academic success and as a result better chances of social mobility.

Teacher knowledge and understanding are crucial for developing effective practice.

This comprehensive course examines the latest reading research and practical application in the classroom. In this course,22, we demonstrate the connections between reading, writing and oral language, with high-quality dialogic teaching being a key factor. We focus on the blending of reading for pleasure with reading skills rather than treating them as discrete aspects of reading. We look at developing a reading culture in which children choose to read not only in school but also at home. This is the bedrock on which the other elements of this course are built.

The course starts by exploring fundamental questions: What is reading? What is reading for? How do children learn to read? What makes a reader?

The importance of high-quality children’s literature and text selection is a theme that runs through the course. We will look at the many different ways books are made available to children both for volitional reading and with the potential for teaching.

We examine in depth how children make meaning from what they read and how comprehension is supported and developed through the judicious teaching of reading skills. Skills in themselves are not the objective of teaching. Routines and rituals carry a high degree of redundancy, so teacher identification of which skills need to be taught, when to teach them and how, are considered in depth.

Alongside teaching skills, we present reader response approaches that examine the development of cognitive and affective responses, and we present teaching strategies and tools that support this.

We also detail the specific challenges of disciplinary literacy – reading in science, history and geography and new approaches to teaching reading across the curriculum.

Delegates will be introduced to a flexible framework which synthesises the different elements of reading instruction. This framework was initially devised as part of a London Schools Excellence funded project (4XR) and further developed and refined by Just Imagine as ‘Take One Boo’. The framework is designed to progress from an orientation phase through first encounters (establishing a literal understanding) to a deeper understanding and reflection. This framework is useful irrespective of whether a school adopts Take One Book or not. Delegates will be taken through a planning process so they can apply the principles to texts of their choice.

Please note: that while this course acknowledges the importance of good phonics teaching and may indicate opportunities for practising phonic knowledge, an approach or scheme for teaching phonics is not incorporated into the sessions. Schools are expected to have a scheme for teaching phonics in place.


First teacher £1100 plus VAT
Additional teachers £800 plus VAT
Invoices must be paid before the start of the training.

Training Dates

6th July
5th October
19th October
16th November
18th January
7th March
25th April


Scott Wilkie Primary School
Hoskins Close
E16 3HD

Course Tutors

Nikki Gamble – Director
Nikki Has worked in education for 40 years as a primary teacher and university lecturer before setting up Just Imagine as an independent consultancy to promote reading through high-quality literature and a dialogic pedagogy. She has worked on several long-term projects, including Teaching Through Dialogue in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham and a DfE funded project for developing depth in reading in the London Borough of Richmond. Nikki’s most recent publications are Guiding Readers: Layers of Meaning, co-authored with Wayne Tennent, David Reedy and Angel Hobsbaum (UCL, Institute of Education, 2016). The Book was awarded the UKLA Academic Book Award 2017 and Exploring Children’s Literature (Sage, 2019). She is currently writing a book about reading in subjects.

Jo Castro – Consultant and Coach
Jo has worked in education for over 20 years. She worked in East London as a teacher and assistant head for much of that time. She has always been passionate about reading and has been involved in developing Take One Book teaching sequences and in devising and writing Just Imagine training materials. She is a qualified coach and works with educational leaders, teachers, and teaching assistants. She is particularly interested in helping educators develop a coaching approach with learners in the classroom.


For further information, please contact