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Reading Intent

At Woolston Church of England Primary School, we are dedicated to enabling our pupils to become life- long readers. We believe reading is key for academic success. As the children enter our school, we intend for them to have a consistent and holistic approach to Reading and Phonics. We want every child to have the skills to decode words in order to be able to read fluently, with understanding of what they have read. We encourage children to read across a range of non-fiction and fiction genres, so our children develop a sense of the world around them, and immerse themselves in books, whereby they can let their imaginations flourish. We aim to provide children with a literacy-rich environment, high quality texts and inspiring learning opportunities. This in turn, will enable them to read with expression, clarity and confidence, develop a good linguistic knowledge of vocabulary and grammar and develop a deeper level of emotional intelligence and empathy. It is our intention to ensure that, by the end of their primary education, all pupils are able to read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education.

Phonics in EYFS and KS1

At Woolston CE, our systematic synthetic phonics (SSP) teaching and learning is designed to ensure that all of our children:

  • Have a strong phonological awareness.

  • Are taught the key skills in segmenting and blending to enable them to access the wider primary curriculum and become independent and resourceful learners.

  • Become confident, fluent and enthusiastic readers and writers.

  • Are ready to pass the Phonics Screening check at the end of Year 1.

We follow ‘Bug Club Phonics’, a validated phonics scheme, to ensure the delivery of a sequential curriculum. Children in Reception and Year 1 take part in daily phonics sessions. This is combined with frequent opportunities for applying phonics skills in reading and writing across the curriculum.

Watch the video to learn more about Bug Club Phonics and access the Bug Club Sound Board to hear how each sound should be articulated. The Phonics Glossary can help with any special terms like ‘diagraph’ that your child might use when talking about phonics.

At the end of Year 1 children complete the Phonics Screening Check. This enables the teacher to see if they have any gaps in their phonics knowledge. The Phonics Screening Check is made up of nonsense and real words and is to test how well the children can read words by segmenting and blending the sounds. The test is administered in June. Please see below for an example of the Phonics Screening Check.

The chidlren progress through the phonics phases as follows:

EYFS - Phases 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Y1 - Reviewing phase 3 and 4, learning phase 5.

Y2 onwards - Begin whole class reading sessions and Pathways to Spelling.

Some children access Rapid Phonics interventions.

Phonics sound mats split into phases can be found below.


EYFS and KS1 Reading Books

Each week all children take home three books:

Guided Reading Decodable Book - This book is matched to your child's individual phonics level. This book is shred twice in guied reading sessions and sent home to practise for fluency. All words contained within this book should be decodable.

Self-Chosen Decodable Book - This book is selected by your child and is also in line with the phonics sounds your child is currently learning.

Reading for Pleasure Book (Top Read) or Library Book - This book is chosen by your child from their class library or Top Reads box. It is a book for chidlren and parents/carers to share together. The aim of this book is to promote a love of reading.

Reading in Y2

When children are secure with their phonics they will progress through the subsequent book bands. They take home a fiction and non fiction reading book to ensure they read a breadth of books. Every child progresses at their own rate and reading is continually assessed in whole class reading sessions and 1:1 reading.

The children independently choose their own book and change them as needed, alongside their Top Read book.

Any child not yet secure in their phonics knowledge will continue with the same reading book routine that is used in Y1 until they are ready for banded books.

Reading in KS2

From Y2 onwards children participate in daily whole class reading sessions where they have the chance to read high quality age related whole texts as well as a variety of fiction and non fiction extracts and poems.

Children's fluency and comprehension is developed through these sessions using a variety of strategies, teacher modelling, repeated reading, discussion, paired and independent tasks.

Children who still need to access phonics or need support with their reading fluency access interventions in addition to whole class reading sessions.

When specific comprehension skills are taught and modelled, the VIPERS mnemonic is used. VIPERS supports children in recalling the strategies needed to answer questions linked to the 6 reading domains.

VIPERS stands for:


The 6 domains focus on the comprehension aspect of reading and not the mechanics: decoding, fluency, prosody etc. As such, VIPERS is not a reading scheme but rather a method of ensuring that teachers ask, and students are familiar with, a range of questions. 

KS2 Reading Books


Y3 continue to progress through banded books appropriate to their reading level until they have completed the book band scheme. They take home a banded book alongside a Top Read Book.
Some children will continue to take home phonics based books matched to their ability if they still access phonics interventions. Most children complete the banded scheme books by the end of Y3 but some may continue after Y4 if needed.

Once children have completed the book bands their Top Read book will become their main reading book. Children in KS2 take home a book from the Top Read list, which consist of a selection of fiction, non-fiction and poetry books. The children can also choose a book for pleasure from either the class or school library, or they can read a book from home if they wish. Reading books are monitored for suitability and level of challenge.

Reading Diaries

Reading Diaries are used throughout EYFS - Y6. Older children are expected to record their reading in their diaries independently. We ask that all parents listen regularly to their child reading and record a comment about their progress and understanding in their child’s reading diary. Reading diaries are monitored by teaching staff on a weekly basis. All children are encouraged to read daily and at least four times per week, 3 of which should be with a parent or carer.  All diaries are monitored on a weekly basis.

Reading - Age Related Expectations

Please see below for the Reading Age Related Expectations for each Year group 

Top Reads

Every year group at Woolston CE has a Top Reads list and every child a Top Reads bookmark. The lists feature a diverse selection of books including classic literature, popular authors, non fiction linked to class topics and poetry. They act as a guide and are by no means an exhaustive list.
They are very popular with our children and have a positive impact on children reading for pleasure. Children are responsible for highlighting the Top Reads they have read in their reading diary.
Children are rewarded for their reading on their TOP Read book mark, whereby they can achieve stars which correlate to Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum awards. These special reading certificates/ badges are awarded during Celebration Worship.

Reaching Readers

At Woolston CE, we are lucky to have several volunteers from our school community that offer their time to help and support children who may be reluctant to read or who may find reading a challenge. They offer regular support to the children during the week. The children build wonderful relationships with their reader, developing confidence and thus building a positive attitude towards reading.

Secret Readers

In Foundation Stage, the children thoroughly enjoy being read to by a ‘Secret Reader’.

Our ‘Secret Readers’ are volunteers such as parents, grandparents, PCSO’s, people from our school community, even Santa!

Reading Opportunities

School Library

“The simplest way to make sure we raise literate children…is to show them that reading is a pleasurable activity, and that means finding books that they enjoy, giving them access to those books, and letting them read them.” Neil Gaiman 2017

Our school Library is a welcoming shared resource and has a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction books for children to read and enjoy both at school and at home.

Our school library aims to promote equality, diversity and inclusion. Its role is to help create confident, enthusiastic readers and engage children in life-long learning.

We aim to provide good quality texts that inspire our young readers by offering current, popular authors alongside the classics.

We have a dedicated group of Year 6 children who apply for the position at the start of each academic year, they are responsible for its organisation, designing competitions and promoting authors. Classes visit the library to share books in a quiet, homely space.

Woolston Library

We have strong links with our local library and work together to promote a love of reading for our pupils. All year groups have attended a library workshop and many have become members. We strongly encourage utilising such a wonderful resource that we are lucky to have on our doorstep.

Libraries are an open door for every child to uncounted opportunities - to have fun, to learn, to discover and to share. They are fundamental to reading, learning, to exploring their identity, and to participating in a society that increasingly values knowledge and depends upon being able to find and use information…The library opens the way for a child to expand their horizons beyond those available within their home and school” Arts Council England.

Read and Relax (R&R time)

Our School timetable incorporates R&R time, sessions are set aside for children to relax and enjoy being read to by their teacher. 

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