Finding the perfect reading scheme has long been the educational Holy Grail. All too often, reading programmes are very well packaged, brilliantly marketed and profess to cater for the ‘whole school’ but don’t always deliver on these promises. When you combine this with the considerable financial investment required by a school, the decision is all the more difficult.
However, the Project X whole-school reading programme - designed to appeal to boys from Reception to Y6, without alienating girls – could offer a genuine solution. The books themselves are arranged into cluster packs, which have been grouped on a common theme and include a range of fiction and non-fiction genres. The sheer quality of writing is the stand-out element of this resource. Each cluster pack contains a discrete story which is more broadly linked to other cluster packs through familiar characters and larger story arcs. The presentation of each story is outstanding, with illustrations and page layouts that will appeal to young readers due to their modern styling.
Project X really does consider the needs of the whole school, with the inclusion of related phonics resources that support the teacher in extending phonics development beyond the content of each book through associated activity cards. In addition, each cluster pack is also accompanied by supporting notes in the form of a Guided Reading Handbook. This is the same size as the other books in the cluster and distils the plot, key questions and assessment points in a quick reference format, empowering any supporting adults to be able to lead an effective guided reading session. Similar guidance is also provided at the end of each book, which offers excellent prompts for parents who are supporting the development of their child’s reading at home.
Alongside this, the reading programme provides a very detailed teacher’s handbook, matched to each age group. There is a wealth of supporting information contained within this book that demonstrates the versatility of the Project X package. For schools that have invested in other reading programmes, there is a very helpful chart which illustrates how the Project X materials relate to existing Oxford Reading Tree books, the Book Bands classification system and the published Letters and Sounds resources.
Project X is also designed to be incorporated into a broader thematic curriculum, with some suggestions about how to achieve this included in the supporting documentation. These opportunities are further extended through the use of electronic resources, which build upon the core reading activities within the books and give access to a range of prepared writing frames, clipart and activity ideas.
High quality texts, engaging presentation and an effective progression of skills across the school; Project X really does offer it all. If you are looking to invest in a new reading programme then you can do so confidently with this childcentred, teacher-focused resource. Project X will certainly engage the interest of boys, whilst also encouraging everyone to get involved with the appealing characters and exciting stories.