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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 half term, teachers are required 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, a planned poetry focus and also provide children with exposure to other 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.


When will you see reading taught in school?

Reading is at the heart of everything we do at Shiremoor Primary School. We aim to incorporate high quality texts in a range of subjects through:

  • Weekly reading skills (VIPERS) lessons
  • Reading for pleasure time
  • Reading a range of non-fiction texts across all subjects
  • End of day class novel which is read to children daily
  • Using high quality texts in our English lessons

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.


Rising Stars Shine Intervention

The Shine Reading Skills learning sequence is a unit of intervention content for children mainly across upper KS2. The learning sequences are arranged in a specific order and contain instructions tailored to teachers and teaching assistants. Each sequence provides scaffolding and modelling for children across all reading domains and focuses primarily on specific reading skills, following a diagnostic assessment.


Accelerated Reader

Accelerated Reader is a computer program aimed at KS2 children. Its primary aim is to encourage children reading for pleasure by giving access to a huge range of books matched to their reading age. It also helps teachers to quickly monitor children’s independent reading practice. Children pick a book at their own level and read it at their own pace. In Years 3 and 4, children read for 30 minutes each day. When they finish a book, they may take a short comprehension quiz using the iPads and receive feedback on their progress. Teachers hear children read regularly from these books in class as well as being encouraged to read for pleasure daily at home.




Reading Plus

Our Year 5 and 6 children 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.


Developing Reading Skills

Across KS1 and KS2, children are explicitly taught the skills of reading (outlined in the National Curriculum and the KS1 and KS2 test domains) through the use of VIPERS which were created by Rob Smith (The Literacy Shed). These break down the areas of reading into key areas:

  • Vocabulary
  • Infer
  • Predict
  • Explain
  • Retrieve
  • Sequence (KS1) or Summarise (KS2)


Using a range of assessment tools to identify gaps in skills, teachers carefully select the texts they will use for each reading skills lesson each week, and deliver these using a whole class approach.

Teaching as a whole class instead of ‘guided reading’ means that all pupils can read with the teacher more often, moving faster through longer texts and benefiting from the teacher’s expert explanations, modelling, questioning and feedback. Children, who are still working below their age related expectations, will continue to receive reading intervention (outlined above) alongside their whole-class reading lessons, as well as scaffolded modelling and support during the lesson.




Reader Leaders