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Reading Intent

Phonics and Early Reading

At Woolston CE we use the Government's accredited phonics programme - ‘Bug Club Phonics’. This Phonics programme is designed to develop children’s early reading and writing skills by:

  • fostering children’s speaking and listening skills as valuable in their own right and as preparatory to learning phonic knowledge and skills;
  • teaching high quality phonic work at the point they judge children should begin the programme.

For most children, this will be by the age of five with the intention of equipping them with the phonic knowledge and skills they need to become fluent readers and spellers by the age of seven.

A Phonics Information Evening for parents is held each year for Foundation Stage. At this meeting we will talk to you in depth about what we teach, how we teach and why we teach phonics and reading skills as well as providing you with many activities and resources that you can use at home to support your child.

If you would like to support your child at home with their reading, please follow the link below.

Reading in EYFS and KS1

Our Early Years Foundation Stage use the DfE Development Matters for Early Years to support early reading development. 

Please see below for the EYFS Development Matters document related to Literacy.


Reading sessions consist of:

  • Developing decoding skills
  • Exposing children to graphemes that they have already been taught
  • Each book will be 90% decodable so that the chldren will develop more independence in reading
  • Focus on developing fluency with familiar texts
  • Developing comprehension skills using pictures and words to resond to questions

Teachers will continually assess your child's reading ability and match them to a reading book which is appropriate to their current learning.

EYFS and KS1 Reading Books

Each week your child will take home 3 books:

Guided Reading Decodable Book - This book is matched to your child’s individual phonics level. This book will have been shared as part of your child’s Guided Reading session. Your child’s teacher makes continuous phonics assessments based on their reading throughout the year, these assessments will inform your child’s phase level. All words contained within this book should be decodable for your child.

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

Reading for Pleasure Book (Top 20) or Library Book - This book is chosen by your child from their class library. It is a book for children and parents to share together. The aim of this book is to promote a love of reading.

Reading in Year 2

When children are secure with their phonics they will progress through the subsequent book bands. There is breadth as they read from a wide selection of books including fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Every child progresses at their own rate and reading is constantly being assessed in to ensure children become fluent readers, grasping a wide and rich vocabulary and thorough understanding of the texts they read. The children independently choose their own book (fiction or non-fiction) and are free to change their books every day, upon completion of a parent / adult comment in their reading record. Children receive a sticker on their individual reading bookmark every time they read a book. Any children not secure in their phonics knowledge will continue with the reading system in place in Year 1.

Phonics in EYFS and KS1

The children in Year 1 complete a Phonics Screening Check every year. 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 using their sound blends. The test is administered in June. Please see below for an example of the Phonics Screening Check.

Phonics Phases:

During Foundation Stage, the focus is on Phases 1, 2 & 3.

During Year 1, the focus is on Phases 4 & 5.

During Year 2, Phase 5 is reviewed and Phase 6 begins. No Nonsense Spelling begins in Year 2 also.

The Phases mats can be found below.

KS1 - Useful Websites

Phonics Bloom(6)Phonics Play(4)

Reading in KS2

In KS2, there is a designated reading slot each day. Class novels and other texts are used to teach a range of reading strategies, through a whole class approach, using VIPERS. This is the consistent approach to reading adopted in KS2.

The children enjoy the class novel approach, which is often used to facilitate subsequent writing sessions. The children have opportunities to read aloud, listen to their teachers’ model reading and read independently.

VIPERS is an anagram to aid the recall of the 6 reading domains as part of the UK’s 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:


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. They allow the teacher to track the type of questions asked and the children’s responses to these which allows for targeted questioning afterwards.

Reading - Age Related Expectations

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

Reading Books & Reading Diaries

KS2 Reading Books

In Year 3 some children continue to read from their book band. All children are encouraged to read a Top 20 book or a book of their choice for pleasure. Children are encouraged to read daily and at least three times per week with a parent or carer.

In Year 4, some children read books from their book band, as well as having opportunities to read a Top 20 book, or a book of their choice for pleasure. Fluent readers may also choose books from our school library or from home, which are checked for suitability and level of challenge. Children are encouraged to read daily and at least three times per week with a parent or carer.

In Years 5 and 6, children can choose a Top 20 book from the school library or from home. They are encouraged to read both independently and to a parent or carer. Books are checked for suitability and level of challenge. Children are encouraged to read daily and at least three times per week with a parent or carer.

Reading Diaries

Reading Diaries are used daily throughout EYFS - Year 6. Older children are expected to record their reading in their diaries independently. We ask that all parents listen to their child read regularly 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.

Top 20 Reading Lists

As a staff, with the input of some of our Year 6 children, we have put together a list of Top 20 books for each year group. The lists feature a diverse selection of books including ‘classics’ and’ popular authors’. 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 rewarded when they read a Top 20.

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.

Reading Buddies

At Woolston CE, we encourage our older children to ‘buddy up’ with children in younger year groups. The older children rise to the challenge and enjoy the time they spend reading with their buddies during lunch time.

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, a session set aside for children to relax and enjoy being read to by their teacher. 

Virtual Library

The Oak National Academy has paired up with the Literacy Trust to offer free books and exclusive videos - please click HERE

Virtual Library
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