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Reading at St Finian's

We place reading at the heart of our school curriculum because we believe it unlocks a world that is fundamental to the progress and well-being of every child.  

We aim to be: 

·       a school where children develop a love of books and reading through all curriculum subjects.

·       a school where children view themselves as readers.  

·       a school where children use literature to formulate their own ideas and opinions and learn to express themselves confidently.   

·       a school where children develop socially, emotionally, culturally and spiritually through their reading.  

What does Reading look like at St Finian’s?

We use a variety of approaches and strategies including:

·      Hearing children read individually

·      Teaching reading through phonics

·      Whole class reading lessons to teach and practise specific reading skills 

·      Exploring class texts and story books through Foundation curriculum lessons 

·      Listening to class stories/poems for enjoyment

·      Talking about and celebrating words and books every week in our Mission assembly

·      Setting reading challenges linked to the curriculum in Key Stage 2

·      Paired reading sessions

·      Buddy reading sessions

·      Book week celebrations


This reading journey begins in EYFS and continues right through the school.  Time is given in every class, on every day, for every child to have independent access to books and reading material.  In addition, all children- up to and including Year 6 are read to daily from a class story or poetry anthology. Children are actively encouraged to make choices about their reading, to talk about what they have read and make recommendations to their peers.

Formal Teaching

At St Finian’s we have developed a reading spine for our school (see attachments below).  This provides a set of core texts for every year group that will be used to teach reading and ensures clear progression in difficulty of texts and themes as well as exposure to a variety of genres and authors. Teachers may choose to supplement these core texts with other high quality texts that will appeal to, inspire and challenge the children. In addition, we have developed a clear progression of reading skills that links to the National curriculum and comprehension skills. (See Appendix 2). This ensures that all teachers have a clear understanding of the expectations for their year group, as well as enabling them to support and challenge children in their class.   

In EYFS, there is a strong emphasis on enjoyment of books and exploring language alongside the formal teaching of phonics through the Letters and Sounds scheme. As the year progresses, the children engage in daily ‘reading lessons’ where they read a book together and discuss it, sometimes recording their discussions in a floor book. This is then developed further in Year 1, with children becoming increasingly familiar with ‘book talk’.

As children move through the school, they are taught reading more formally and rigorously in discrete daily reading lessons. These lessons afford teachers the opportunity to model reading and to develop fluency and comprehension skills in our children.  These lessons will always involve reading which may be teacher-led, pupil-led, choral or individual.  We look closely at texts – in particular we examine word meaning in context; grammatical arrangement of sentences; writers viewpoints and reasons for choice of language; the effect of punctuation within a text; the overall impact and/or meaning of a text.   

Teachers use the ‘Vipers’ acronym to help develop these specific comprehension skills - V I P E R S. Vocabulary, Infer, Predict, Explain, Retrieve, Sequence or Summarise. 

Every reading lesson from Year 2 upwards begins with vocabulary, as we recognise how crucial understanding new or unfamiliar language is to aiding comprehension.  This might be introducing new vocabulary linked to the text we will read, or it might be revision of words that have already been introduced.  The lesson will then move on to reading of a text and either discussion of a text or a focus on specific reading skills.  Over the course of a week, there may be a mixture of verbal and written tasks. Children will revisit the same text, or specific parts of the text during the course of a week. This helps develop fluency and confidence.  The text used will be one from the school reading spine, poetry spine or a non-fiction text which could be linked to another area of learning or may link with a theme in the class novel or poems 


Teachers assess informally within lessons, based on observations, conversations and responses from children.   A reading mark book will be kept which uses a traffic light system against the different comprehension skills.  This information will then be used to inform planning including where to support and challenge children.

Formal assessment will take place in September with all children using the Salford Reading Test.  Termly PIRA tests will also take place to allow for formal assessment of comprehension skills and to help identify gaps in learning.


Reading Scheme

Once children have spent some time in school with us and we are confident that they are ready for an individual reading book, they will be given a book from the reading scheme to read both at home and also in school with an adult.  The reading scheme extends all the way up to Year 6 to help ensure that children are reading at an age-appropriate level and reading texts that are at the right level of challenge.  Progression through the scheme is not a race and children may be asked to re-read books, or parts of books, to aid fluency and the development of comprehension.  It is expected that children will also have a library book of their own choice to read alongside their reading scheme book.

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