Reception and Year 1 – Phonics

We believe that all our children can become fluent readers. It is essential that our approach to teaching phonics and reading is accessible to all learners, regardless of background. This is why we teach reading in Reception and Year 1 through Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised, which is a systematic and synthetic phonics programme.

Years 2-6 – Guided Reading

We have daily guided reading sessions from Year 2 onwards to ensure that children confidently read age-related texts and are able to answer a range of questions. We use VIPERS as our method to explicitly teach the key reading domain skills. We teach whole class guided reading comprehension sessions to allow all children to make progress in reading. We provide regular and supportive opportunities for children to encounter engaging texts that will resonate with their interests and capture their imagination.

  • Each week there is a new high-quality focus text. The text type varies each week to ensure that children access a wide range of texts. These are appropriate to the age and key stage of the children.
  • Before we read a new text, we ensure that we teach the geographical/historical context of the text and explain how it relates to the wider world. We believe that background knowledge is the main driver of language comprehension, whether written or spoken. Familiarity with the subject matter increases fluency, broadens vocabulary, and enables deeper reading and listening comprehension.
  • Once pupils are familiar with the background of the text, each guided reading lesson will focus on teaching one or more of the VIPERS skills.
  • VIPERS is an acronym to aid the recall of the 6 reading domains as part of the reading curriculum. They are the key areas which we feel children need to know and understand in order to improve their comprehension of texts.
  • VIPERS stands for: Vocabulary, Infer, Predict, Explain, Retrieve, Sequence (KS1) / Summarise (KS2).

Reading for Pleasure

We value reading for pleasure highly and work hard as a school to grow our Reading for Pleasure pedagogy.

  • Each class has set story times where pupils enjoy listening to a high-quality text read by an adult. We choose these books carefully as we want children to experience a wide range of books, including books that reflect the children at Holy Trinity and our local community as well as books that open windows into other worlds and cultures. Each class has a ‘Reading Spine’ which lists our non-negotiable texts that will be read by the end of the year. These texts are a mixture of classic texts, diverse texts, fiction, non-fiction and poetry.
  • Every classroom has an inviting book corner that encourages a love for reading. We curate these books and talk about them to entice children to read a wide range of books. They enjoy engaging in sustained independent reading.
  • In Reception, children have access to the reading corner every day in their free flow time and the books are continually refreshed. 
  • Children from Reception onwards take a reading book home each week which is matched to their ability. KS1 also have a home reading record. The parent/carer records comments to share with the adults in school and the adults will write in this on a regular basis to ensure communication between home and school.
  • As the children progress through the school, they are encouraged to write their own comments and keep a list of the books/authors that they have read.
  • Children across the school have regular opportunities to engage with a wide range of Reading for Pleasure events across the year (book days, competitions, national events etc).
  • The children are given opportunities to develop their reading skills across all curriculum subjects. Therefore, they understand that reading is a skill that can be applied to all that we do.

10 top tips for parents to support children to read – GOV.UK (

Reading Spine

As a school, we have developed our own reading spines for each year group. Our reading spine includes a bank of eight core texts that are shared by teachers at story times throughout the year. Each year group has a set of non-negotiable books that all pupils will experience. These are high-quality, ‘must have’ reads that we want all our pupils to have read by the end of the year. The aim is for every child to experience the pleasure and challenge of great literature.

We have included a range of different texts in our reading spine. For each year group, texts include four fiction texts (at least one of which will be a picture book and also a diverse text), two non-fiction texts and two poetry texts.