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Phonics and Reading

Reading at Shiremoor Primary School


Reading is central to our curriculum. In conjunction with our ‘Road to Reading’ document, our Reading provision aims to equip pupils with the skills and knowledge necessary to read fluently and confidently while developing a love of reading that allows pupils to draw on knowledge of the world around them.


Our children progressively learn a range of key skills in reading using a variety of different strategies:

  • Word reading – systematic phonics, learning GPC (Grapheme Phoneme Correspondence), developing skill of blending, sharing  high quality texts, developing fluency
  • Comprehension – drawing on linguistic knowledge and on knowledge of the world, read widely across a range of genres, develop a love of reading, increase pupils’ vocabulary, develop reading for pleasure
  • Making strong curriculum links – All pupils encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum.


Our teachers have carefully planned which books that they are teaching and reading with their children across the year to expose children to a variety of books and authors. Each term, teachers aim to use at least one Power of Reading Text (recommended by the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education), have a range of reading for pleasure texts shared with children during Reading for Pleasure sessions, a planned poetry focus and also provide children with exposure to a wide range of books which link to other areas of the curriculum. For further information on the books that our children read and why we have chosen them, please see the Overview and Synopsis documents below.


The Reading Journey at Shiremoor Primary School


Our children in the Foundation Stage begin their reading journey by exploring and sharing a wide range of books, poems and songs. Initially, they focus on their recognition of initial sounds and their ability to develop rhyme and rhythmic patterns. They are immersed in a wide range of reading experiences to develop a love of books and storytelling.


From the Foundation Stage onwards, we aim to incorporate high quality texts in a range of subjects through:

  • Reading for pleasure time
  • Reading a range of non-fiction texts across all subjects
  • Whole class novel which is read to children daily
  • Using high quality texts in our English lessons
  • Daily phonics/reading time using a range of engaging texts
  • Weekly reading skills (VIPERS) lessons in KS2 linked to whole class novel or Reading Planets texts



Read Write Inc. Phonics

As they continue their reading journey, all children in EYFS and Year One complete the Read Write Inc. phonics programme. Children continue RWI in Year Two and into Key Stage Two matched to their individual needs. Using synthetic phonics, children quickly learn to blend letter sounds together following a fun and effective programme. Phonics provides children with the building blocks needed to become successful readers.


Read Write Inc. Comprehension 


The Comprehension programme provides a transition from Read Write Inc. Phonics to Literacy and Language. It comprises of 14 weekly Modules aimed at children who have finished the Grey book level, regardless of their age. Each Module has specially written texts (one fiction and one non-fiction) that develop children’s ability to summarise, infer and retrieve information quickly, as well improving their writing through cumulative vocabulary, grammar and spelling activities.



Reading Planets

In KS2, children, who are secure in phonics, are assessed using the Reading Planets scheme. This is designed to support children who are developing their comprehension skills while becoming fluent readers. Reading Planet is structured to ensure progression from book band to book band and consist of a wide range of engaging texts. The fiction books comprise a range of genres, from science fiction and humorous chapter books to retellings of literary classics and traditional tales. The non-fiction books feature a wide variety of text types, from how-to guides and biographies of significant individuals to information books on topics such as travel, computing, technology, the environment and art.

Children will be assessed throughout the year by teachers to ensure that the books that they are reading is at the appropriate level for them. Children will read their Reading Planets books during individual and group reading time to reinforce the teaching of VIPERS reading skills.



Rising Stars Shine Intervention

We utilise the Shine Reading Skills learning sequence of intervention for children mainly across upper KS2 who need additional support with reading comprehension. The learning sequences are arranged in a specific order which builds upon previous learning. Each sequence provides scaffolding and modelling for children across all reading domains and focuses primarily on specific reading skills, following a diagnostic assessment.



Reading Plus


Children in KS2 (Year 3 upwards) who are secure in their phonic knowledge also use a programme called Reading Plus to support them in their reading progress and development. Reading Plus is a web-based program that builds upon the foundational skills of phonics and phonemic awareness to develop silent reading fluency, comprehension (deeper understanding), and continued engagement and enjoyment of reading for pleasure. Children have a set number of tasks each week to complete and progress is monitored each term. Children’s success is celebrated as they achieve a range of milestones using this programme.



Developing Reading Skills

Across KS1 and KS2, children are taught reading lessons which enable them to develop mental models of texts to develop their comprehension and understanding of a range of high-quality texts. In KS1, they develop these skills orally through the RWI phonics scheme and during daily class novel reading. Across KS2, children have a weekly lesson which focuses on supporting children’s understanding of a range of different texts by enabling them to develop mental models by focusing on a range of knowledge and processes such as:


• background knowledge

• knowledge of vocabulary (breadth and depth)

• understanding sentences

• using text structure

• activating meaning

• making inferences

• comprehension monitoring


Texts are carefully selected in order to facilitate rich discussion and study. Through these texts, children encounter a range of characters, situations and viewpoints that allow them to relate to their own lives but also to understand the lives of others. These lessons also have a strong vocabulary focus to further develop understanding.


Children, who are still working below their age related expectations, will continue to receive reading intervention alongside their whole-class reading lessons, as well as scaffolded modelling and support prior to and during the lesson.



Home Reading and Reading for Pleasure


In FS and KS1, our children take home a Read Write Inc book that supports their learning from lessons. If children in KS1 complete the RWI programme, they will move onto small chapter books which are appropriately levelled.


Children in KS2 choose a home reading book based on their own interests and preferences. Our home reading books are organised according to genres and non-fiction subjects and are managed by our KS2 Reader Leaders. Twice a week, children will have the opportunity to return and borrow a new book.


Each week, one of our reading sessions focuses on Reading for Pleasure and embedding our love of reading across school. During these sessions, children will:

  • Share and recommend books that they have been reading with ‘Book Talk’ and have the opportunity to change their Reading for Pleasure books.
  • Explore a poem of the week
  • Develop their oracy skills by volunteering to read books they love to their class
  • Explore their focus author in greater detail
  • Be immersed in new texts that will inspire them to try something new to read







Our Road to Reading