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Reading & Phonics

Tollerton School Reading Curriculum

Our focus at Tollerton Primary is to develop our children in becoming forward thinking citizens, ready for the ever changing, fast paced world that we live in today. We want them to have a knowledge of their local and global community, understanding their role within society and have a respect for diversity and difference. We encourage children to think creatively, to question, form balanced arguments and become independent problem solvers so that when they leave us, they will be able to face challenges with confidence.

It is our ambition to ensure all children are good or above average readers by the time they leave Year 6. We want them to be prepared for their journey ahead, ensuring that they are confident readers, thus enabling them to access all on offer, particularly when moving in to the KS3 curriculum. It is our intention that our children develop a love of reading and provide them with a rich exposure of diverse texts and genres in a structured and progressive curriculum.

The overarching aim for English in the national curriculum is to promote high standards of language and literacy by equipping pupils with a strong command of the spoken and written language, and to develop their love of literature through widespread reading for enjoyment. The national curriculum for English aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • read easily, fluently and with good understanding
  • develop the habit of reading widely and often, for both pleasure and information
  • acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading, writing and spoken language

To ensure that we meet the requirements of the national curriculum we use Read Write Inc. (RWI) phonics scheme from reception to Year 2 and have implemented VIPERs to provide structure and progression from Reception to Year 6. (See our Reading Policy for more detail)

Phonics skills are embedded within daily RWI lessons. By focussing on the teaching of reading in the Early Years and KS1, using a synthetic phonics scheme, children learn to read unfamiliar printed words by blending (decoding) and speedily recognise familiar printed words by sight. We want all children to enjoy and experience early success in learning to read. We are committed to developing children’s love of reading and to help them to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know.


In KS1 and KS2 children are taught to develop their reading comprehension skills through the VIPERS approach daily. VIPERS is a range of reading prompts, developed by The Literacy Shed, based on the reading content domains found in the National Curriculum. The ‘VIPER’ reading skills are: vocabulary, inference, prediction, explanation and summerising/sequencing.

Through a combination of whole class and group sessions children work through a series of tasks which will develop their understanding of different types of reading skill. Through our VIPERS lesson we aim to provide a great variety of genres and texts from classics to new authors giving them a broad knowledge of literature and a wider range of adventurous vocabulary. We also link non-fiction texts and real-life examples such as news articles and reports. We also develop reading skills through the use of film and image using VIPERS principles when exploring Literacy Shed material.

Children participate in three to five carefully planned thirty-minute VIPERS session each week. The activities are adapted for different abilities so that all children can access the learning objective and be sufficiently challenged. During the reading lesson, pupils unpick texts, identify new vocabulary, clarify meaning and use their skills to suggest alternatives. Pupils work with the teacher to practise the skills from the progression model for their year group, moving from supported practise to independent application.

Pupils who are not yet meeting their age-related expectations have additional support in reading through the Read, Write Inc. interventions and extra one to one reading opportunities. We also use Dancing Bears to further support emerging phonics skills. Additional interventions in reading include pre and post teaching around the VIPERS texts either with the class teacher or a teaching assistant.

Pupil’s individual reading is closely monitored through detailed tracking to ensure that they are matched to the correct reading band. The school has a range of home school reading material including phonically decodable books that are supporting those children who are still developing their early reading skills and have not yet passed their phonic screening. Children are encouraged to read aa minimum of three times a week and this is evidenced in home reading diaries.


Reading for Pleasure
Reading is promoted as an enjoyable and enriching experience to both children, staff and parents. The children can enjoy books every day in our library and classrooms. Each classroom has a designated area to showcase new texts as well as promoting quality and classic reads. Every day, teachers read the class novel to the children. These books are carefully chosen to ensure they are something children wouldn’t usually have exposure to. This quality time reading with the class allows children to be exposed to expression and intonation as well as enjoying the pleasure of being immersed in a story.

The children enjoy special reading occasions such as World Book Day and timetabled sessions to encourage reading for pleasure. Individual reading books are from a range of sources which offer a variety of fiction and non-fiction texts. Every year, we are visited by an author or poet, which always creates excitement within the school.
Through lessons staff are encouraged to use social media to get in touch with authors to engage an interest in them and have the opportunity to learn ask questions about the books they have written.

Our school librarians and council children helped to develop our selection of reading materials as well as promoting the ‘love of reading’ by setting up our ‘I recommend….’ initiative, where children can record themselves or write a review of books for others to read. Staff and parents are also involved in reviewing literature for children and we share this on our website and in our library. We are presently, working on a project to involve our local community in sharing book reviews with us by writing to our pupils with favourite children’s authors or book reviews.

More detailed information about reading at Tollerton can be found in our policy and our reading progression documents.

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