What you need to know about the new reading framework

The DFE published a new reading framework in July this year, which is a hefty read! The good news is that the main message remains the same – reading underpins everything. Children who develop a love of reading will succeed in their education and life; it is an important life skill. We have put together a quick outline of what you need to know from the framework to ensure your pupils gain enough ‘reading miles’.

FS2 and KS1

In F2 and KS1, phonic teaching is crucial and you should be doing daily direct phonics teaching following Systematic Synthetic Phonics (SSP). For those teachers among us who are old enough to remember, letters and sounds is an example of SSP. Check your phonics programme!

It is important for pupils to be given books that match their reading level so they should have access to books they are able to decode. It is also important that they are immersed in reading as often as possible – listening to stories, being read to, etc.

Book Corners

Book corners are always a key area of the classroom and should be like a mini library. They can often become muddled and overcrowded, making it very difficult for pupils to find a suitable text to read. The message from the framework is that these should be less cluttered; books should be chosen to match pupils’ level with a range of text types and there should be lots of books you have read as a class. At the beginning of the year, particularly in KS1, it would be good to include copies of the class favourites from the previous year.

Class reading

The framework states clearly that reading time should not be a filler activity, for example while you are taking the register, as this devalues it. Pupils should have quiet reading time and the best place for them to sit and read is at their desks.

When teaching reading, pupils should be given short texts or extracts from a story. If you are using extracts from a story, try and give them several extracts. Ideally, it could be from the class reader or they should have access to read the whole text.

Reading to your class

Story time in any class should be a special time and should be scheduled into your timetable. Kids love listening to adults read and they gain so much from it. Often, they will hear a story or text they could not access independently. It’s important to think carefully about which class readers you choose. These should vary in text types and should not always be a story. Poems, non-fiction books and good quality magazines are just as important to share as a whole book. Pupils need to be exposed to a wide range of vocabulary as this will help them to develop as a reader.

Reading partners

Setting up reading partners within your class or with another year group can be successful if organised well. It does require time and training to make it work but it can be invaluable and add to pupils’ ‘reading miles’.

Organising reading as a school

It is important that there is a wide range of reading resources in the school and these have been thought through carefully. Each year group could be given a box of class readers which they read each year. This works well as it’s easy for staff to find out what they have read before.

As a school, there should be dedicated quality time given to reading. The framework does give some useful tables with questions which help you to audit your provision.

I think this quote taken from the framework is key:

“Pupils must be offered a feast of books: easy reads, books about how things work, graphic novels, joke books, irreverent books, books about animals – anything that might hook them into reading – as well as the more challenging books they will listen to in story times and study in English lessons. For some pupils, the hook into reading may be non-fiction, for example, a book on climate change recommended by a science teacher. Importantly, they need to be offered books they might choose to read over and over again.” DFE Reading Framework, July 2023

Whizz Pop Bang science magazine is perfect for pupils in years 2-6. It is full of high-quality texts which introduce science to pupils in a child-friendly way without dumbing down the topic. We use a wide range of vocabulary and cover lots of different non-fiction text types.

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Teaching Space in year 5

Are you looking for planning resources to teach Space in Year 5? Here’s how you can use our downloadable lesson packs to create memorable lessons that produce the sticky knowledge Ofsted will be looking for…

Where to start?

Most children love space, but it is quite an abstract concept as they can’t properly experience it. Before they start investigating and experimenting, it’s important they are armed with the knowledge and vocabulary they need through watching video clips or reading suitable materials, as stated by Ofsted. Once they have this scientific understanding, it’s so important that pupils still have practical hands-on lessons so they can spot what is happening. Our knowledge organiser is a great aid to help them use the correct terminology in practical lessons.

How to sequence your lessons.

We have several lesson packs for teaching about space. When starting the topic, pupils need to know the order of the planets and how far away they are from Earth. In our lesson pack called ‘Make a solar system’, there is a simple paper model for pupils to make.

After they understand how far away the planets are, it is important to move on to the Moon and the Sun. We have a great lesson pack which teaches the phases of the Moon and explains how the Moon orbits Earth. Using our ‘Phases of the moon’ lesson pack, pupils will create their own Moon board that they can poke their head through, pretending to be the Earth.

Pupils should then understand how we get day and night. The Sun stays in the same place, but the Earth and Moon orbit around it and the Earth also rotates. Pupils will make a simple sundial which involves measuring the shadow to see how the Earth has moved position.

Once pupils have a clear understanding, you can then move on to discussing how scientists have found out information about other planets. We have two great lesson packs about looking for signs of life on Mars.

Plus, we have a new lesson pack on what alien life might look like on Ganymede, one of the many moons that orbit Jupiter.

Guided reading

To help consolidate pupils’ learning, adding texts with science content into your reading sessions is a great idea. We have over 20 different reading comprehensions related to space for Year 5. Here are just a few of them:

Whizz Pop Bang magazine and teaching resources are brilliant ways to enhance your school’s science teaching:

  • We provide downloadable science lesson plans, PowerPoint presentations, hands-on investigations and science reading comprehensions written by primary school teachers.
  • Whizz Pop Bang teaching resources link to the National Curriculum, ensuring correct coverage.
  • All of our resources are year group specific, ensuring progression between the years.
  • We make cross-curricular links to other subjects, such as English, Maths, History, Geography, Art, Design and Technology and PSHE.

Prices from as little as £197.99 per year for a copy of Whizz Pop Bang magazine through the post each month and whole-school access to our ever-growing library of downloadable teaching resources, with unlimited teacher logins.

We’ve also just launched a new individual membership option so teachers and home educators can access all of our amazing downloadable resources for just £20 for the whole year

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Be in for a chance of winning one of these awesome So Slime Lava Lamps!

Design your own amazing lava lamp, with So Slime! Creating a glow-in-the-dark masterpiece couldn’t be easier – simply add the compounds and decorations to the lava lamp, then watch as the slime transforms into a lava effect!

This slime isn’t just for display – it’s for play too! Remove the slime from the lamp for mess-free gooey play. Twist, stretch and squish! This kit makes two lava lamps!

For your chance to win one of FOUR DIY slime lava lamp kits, simply answer the question below:

What does UFO stand for?

A) Unseen Floating Object

B) Unidentified Flying Object

C) Underwater Floating Obstacle

Good luck!

This competition closes at midnight on 30th September 2023 and is open for UK residents only. For full terms and conditions visit whizzpopbang.com/terms

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Carl Sagan’s Golden Record

Carl Sagan was an astronomer, planetary scientist, cosmologist, astrophysicist, professor and science communicator who was fascinated by extra-terrestrial life. You can read about him in Whizz Pop Bang 98: Aliens!

Carl was involved in American space exploration since it began in the 1950s. He put together messages that were sent into outer space in the 1970s on the Voyager Golden Record.

Read more about space in these out-of-this-world issues of Whizz Pop Bang!

By NASA – Great Images in NASA Description, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6455682

Copies of the Golden Record were carried by Voyager I and Voyager II. They contained:

  • Messages in 55 ancient and modern languages
  • Sounds from Earth
  • Images of humans and Earth
By NASA/JPL – The Sounds of Earth Record Cover, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=137443

The discs contained diagrams that explain where Earth is and how to play the record. Scientists spent a long time working out how to communicate these messages to aliens!

Here are some examples of things that were included on Carl Sagan’s Golden Record. You can find a full list of everything that was included here.

Greetings in ancient and modern languages

English (this was recorded by Nick Sagan, Carl’s son, when he was six!)
Akkadian (an ancient language used in Mesopotamia about 6,000 years ago)
“May all be very well.”
“Greetings to our friends in the stars. We wish that we will meet you someday.”
“Hi. How are you? Wish you peace, health and happiness.”
“How are you?”
“We greet you, great ones. We wish you longevity”
“Welcome, creatures from beyond the outer world.”
“Hello to everyone. We are happy here and you be happy there.”
“Hello and greetings to all.”
“Good health to you now and forever.”


Bach, Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F. First Movement, Munich Bach Orchestra, Karl Richter, conductor
New Guinea, men’s house song, recorded by Robert MacLennan
Mexico, “El Cascabel,” performed by Lorenzo Barcelata and the Mariachi México
“Johnny B. Goode,” written and performed by Chuck Berry
Georgian S.S.R., chorus, “Tchakrulo” collected by Radio Moscow
Peru, wedding song, recorded by John Cohen


We can’t include the photographs and diagrams included on the Golden Record because of copyright but you can see some of them here. These show some of the same subjects that featured on it.

If you want to find out more about fantastic scientists like Carl Sagan, subscribe to Whizz Pop Bang, the awesomely amazing science magazine for kids! Learn about inspirational scientists of the past and present every issue – our readers are the in credible scientists of the future!

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Whizz Pop Bang’s trip to Just So Festival was out of this world!

Team Whizz Pop Bang spent a wild weekend meeting hundreds of scientists-in-training at Just So Festival 2023. Thank you so much to Just So Festival for having us back again – we absolutely love being a part of this incredible event.

This year, we brought Jonathan Scott from the European Space Agency (ESA) along to share his amazing knowledge of staying fit and healthy in space. Jon works in the Space Medicine Team at ESA and he used his expert skills to run an Astronaut Training Camp.

Jon brought a replica space suit along for Whizz Pop Bang fans to try on!

We were overwhelmed with the turn out for Jon’s talk and it was fantastic to see so many budding astronauts! A HUGE thank you to Jon, and to all of you who came and joined in the fun. We hope you picked up a thing or two about how astronauts stay fit and healthy on board the International Space Station.

We also ran The Whizz Pop Bang Discovery Den, where young scientists could explore their five senses in some super-fun hands-on experiments.

Children were invited to visit us in ‘The Future’ area in the woodland at Just So Festival and try five different activities linked to the senses.

  • FEEL IT: run your fingers through gloopy cornflour slime (find out how to try this at home here!)
  • SEE IT: trick your brain with optical illusions
  • HEAR IT: test how well sound travels through solids compared to through air using clanger hangers
  • SMELL IT: put your sense of smell to the test
  • TASTE IT: find out how holding your nose affects flavours

They learned some amazing facts, including:

We hope to see lots of you at Just So Festival in future!

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Team Whizz Pop Bang are going to Just So Festival!

It’s not long until the fantastic Just So Festival kicks off – it’s running at Rode Hall, Cheshire on 18th – 20th August 2023. It’s an incredible outdoor adventure for families from bumps to great grandparents, and Whizz Pop Bang are so excited to be a part of the fun that’s in store!

The Whizz Pop Bang team are huge fans of this magical festival, and once again, we’re bringing a sprinkle of science to the programme!

Head to Astronaut Training Camp with ESA’s Jonathan Scott in collaboration with Whizz Pop Bang, the awesome science magazine for kids

Ever dreamed of becoming an astronaut when you grow up? Roll up for an action-packed talk by Jonathan Scott from the European Space Agency to discover the skills and techniques needed to stay healthy on board the International Space Station. Test out some astronaut training exercises, feel how gravity affects us here on Earth and check out a replica spacesuit!

Perfect for children aged 6 to 12.

Discovery Den by Whizz Pop Bang, the awesome science magazine for kids

Come along to an exploration of your senses at this hands-on discovery session run by the makers of the most awesomely science magazine for kids, Whizz Pop Bang! You won’t believe your eyes, ears, noses, fingers or tongues in this interactive session full of weird and wonderful sensations!
Perfect for children aged 6 to 12.

Find out more about the festival at justsofestival.org.uk, where the line up has been announced! Discover a celestial celebration of the planets in The Observatory, step out of 2023 and into the future at The Future stage, hear stories galore in the Spellbound Forest, and so much enchanted adventure throughout the site. There’s something for every member of the family!

Whizz Pop Bang is an awesomely amazing monthly science magazine that brings science to life for children aged six to twelve (and their parents too)! There’s lab-loads of hands-on experiments, mind-boggling facts, puzzles, news and fun packed into each month’s magazine. Whizz Pop Bang sparks imaginations and inspires the scientists of the future from the moment it comes bursting through their letterbox. Subscribe today at whizzpopbang.com!

If you’re not lucky enough to be going to Just So Festival this year, but want to have heaps of fun with science, browse back issues in our shop now!

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COMPETITION CLOSED – WIN an ION8 water bottle!

When you’re in the savannah you have to keep hydrated! This month’s magazine is all about the African savannah and we’ve got the perfect competition prize, enter to win one of six ION8 water bottles!

We’ve teamed up with ION8 to keep your little one hydrated all summer long. 

These brilliant water bottles are 100% leakproof when closed and made from either stainless steel or BPA-free RECYCLON, (made from organic materials from plants instead of fossil fuels). These refillable and reusable drinks bottle are food safe, odour resistant, easy to hand wash, and keep drinks fresh and full of flavour. Find out more about ION8 products here.

For your chance to win one of six water bottles, simply answer the question below and tell us which design you’d like to win: Cats, Ecologi, Space, Camping, Bugs Life, Frog.

Which is the largest desert in Africa?

A) Namib desert
B) Kalahari desert
C) Sahara desert

Good luck!

This competition closes at midnight on 31st August 2023 and is open for UK residents only. For full terms and conditions visit whizzpopbang.com/terms

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COMPETITION CLOSED – Win Hello Me! by Dr Naira Wilson! 

This gorgeous new picture book is a great way to help young children learn to look after their own wellbeing. Hello Me follows a young boy as he learns to love and accept himself.

The story’s relatable characters and gentle storyline introduce the concept of mental health in an engaging way. While it’s a perfect bedtime read for younger siblings and friends, there are important lessons that we can all learn from this clever book.

Hello Me‘s author, Dr Naira Wilson is a child psychologist and a Whizz Pop Bang science advisor. We’re so excited to have three copies of her book to give away to Whizz Pop Bang fans!

To enter the competition, simply answer the following question in the comments: 

Which of these is a hormone that makes you feel happy? 

a) Dopamine 
b) Dodecahedron

This competition closes at midnight on 20th August 2023 and is open for UK residents only. For full terms and conditions, please visit: https://www.whizzpopbang.com/terms-and-conditions/

Copy: Hannah Woods

Want to know more about Whizz Pop Bang – the awesomely amazing science magazine for kids? 

  • Whizz Pop Bang is an award-winning science magazine that brings science to life for children aged six to twelve (and their parents too)! 
  • Each monthly issue is packed with experiments, puzzles, science news, crafts, jokes, inspiring scientists, competitions and more! 
  • Our aim is simple – to help children develop a love of science. We love to imagine what they might discover or invent one day! 

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How to play mancala

Have you ever wondered how to play mancala? It’s an ancient game with lots of variations, but this brilliant video explains how to play one version of it.

If you’d like to try playing mancala, why not start by making your own upcycled set from planet-friendly materials?

Find out how to turn an egg box into an awesome African mancala game in Whizz Pop Bag: Safari!

Get ready to journey through the African savannah inside this wild edition of Whizz Pop Bang! Look out for thundering wildebeest, circling vultures and mischievous meerkats whilst you find out about the incredible adaptations that allow animals to survive in scorching African habitats.

You’ll be able to print leopard-print paper and craft a safari diorama, complete with its own watering hole and real live grass! Discover ten awesomely amazing safari animals, find out how walkie talkies work and get up close with one of the largest and most ferocious predators around – the glorious lion! Meet an elephant keeper at a very special Kenyan animal sanctuary, find out about Thomas Odhiambo who used science to find Earth-friendly ways to control pests on crops and see if you can spot the camouflaged creatures hiding in our photo gallery!

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Whizz Pop Bang reader and their magazine collection

Calling all Whizz Pop Bang superfans!

This autumn (November 2023) we’ll be celebrating 100 issues of Whizz Pop Bang magazine! We’d love to showcase some of our biggest fans in the Issue 100 Wonder Club pages.

Send us a photo of you with your favourite edition of the magazine or tell us your favourite facts, experiment or joke from Whizz Pop Bang by September 20th 2023 to be in with a chance of appearing on our special superfans page!

Send your photos, facts, experiments and jokes to Y@whizzpopbang.com or Y, Whizz Pop Bang, Unit 7, Global Business Park, 14 Wilkinson Road, Cirencester, GL7 1YZ.

For a chance to appear in Whizz Pop Bang 100’s extra-special Wonder Club pages, we must receive your email or letter by 20th September 2023 – but we love hearing from our readers all year round, so please get in touch any time!

Don’t forget to include your name, age and address. We can’t return any post, sorry.

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