Approach to Reading

At Salterlee, we value reading as a key life skill and are dedicated to enabling our pupils to become lifelong readers. We aim to instil a love of reading in our children. Reading at Salterlee is seen as an integral part of learning rather than a separate subject to be learned independently.

 Our school approach:

  • Daily teaching of Phonics
  • Teaching specific reading skills in discrete reading lessons
  • Incorporating reading into all lessons across the curriculum
  • Daily story time of high quality texts to foster a love of books

We use reading VIPERS to teach comprehension. This is a whole class reading approach that equips pupils with the necessary skills to be successful readers. VIPERS stands for: vocabulary, infer, predict, explain, retrieve and sequence/summarise. These are all linked to the assessed strands in the end of key stage assessments.  We use a range of high quality texts, and teach VIPERS in discrete reading lessons.  VIPERS bookmarks are also sent home with KS2 pupils to help parents focus their discussion of reading

A Love of Reading

In addition to these teaching approaches, a love of reading is nurtured through giving children specific times to have free choice of the books they read, the time to read, share, discuss and enjoy reading. Class books are used throughout school to promote a love and enjoyment of reading, and high-quality ‘picture’ books are shared with pupils weekly in whole-school assemblies.  Children in Year 5 & 6 work as ‘Buddy Readers’ across the school, either reading to, or listening to younger pupils throughout school.

Key Text Libraries and Repeated Text Libraries

At Salterlee, one of the key ways we promote a love of reading is through our Key Texts/Repeated Texts library.  Throughout Reception and KS1 the same stories will be read to pupils again and again, allowing them to know and love them.  Throughout KS2,  texts have been chosen to represent a wide variety of styles, genres, cultures and viewpoints and pupils engage with them in English lessons and also as 'stand alone' stories which are read to pupils.

Click here to browse our Key Text Library.


Teaching of reading in Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1

This is based on synthetic phonics which enables young children to identify, blend and segment the individual phonemes (the sounds that letters or groups of letters make) in words.

Children in Reception and Year 1 (and also older children who will benefit from reinforcement) follow the Read Write Inc. Phonics scheme, receiving daily phonic lessons where they practise and learn new phonic skills in a variety of ways.

Children are taught in discrete groups according to their ability and the progress which the children make is regularly assessed to ensure that any child who is struggling to grasp a particular skill can be given adequate support to catch up. Pupils’ groupings may also change throughout the year based on regular assessment.

Children in Reception take home a reading book which allows them to practise their newly-acquired skills. Books are grouped into colour ability bands and children work through these colour bands at a pace according to their ability and confidence as judged by the teacher.

Once children are in Year 1, they continue to build upon their phonic knowledge, but also start to focus on reading for meaning, increasing their fluency and also enjoyment! The children choose from books in a range of reading schemes designed to promote these reading skills. 

Children in Year 2 continue to choose from these reading schemes. As they grow in confidence and fluency they will be given the opportunity to apply their understanding of a text through completing written comprehension questions, allowing them to prepare for the skills they will need in Key Stage 2.

Teaching of reading in Key Stage 2

Alongside regular opportunities for reading across all curriculum subjects, pupils in Key Stage 2 have a focussed reading lesson every week where they can develop specific reading skills.  In these lessons, the focus is on knowledge retrieval and understanding of the texts covered.  Some pupils may also receive additional support in the form of guided reading sessions, whereby pupils read in small groups with an adult and discuss the texts read.

How to Help with Reading- Reception to Year 2                           

Children need to practise a new skill regularly to ensure that they can repeat it consistently. To help your child to consolidate this new and important skill, please support them by reading regularly at home.

This could be reading their school reading book, sharing other books with family members, and listening to bedtime stories. Don't feel that your child always has to read to you, it is just as valuable for them to listen to a fluent reader.

Ask questions about what your child has read to see if they understand what they are reading, if not talk to them about the text and explain any new/unfamiliar words- this is great for extending their vocabulary and will impact positively on their writing skills. Most importantly, just have fun with reading!

How to Help with Reading – Years 3 to 6                                             

In Key Stage Two, children will read with fluency and expression but with a greater emphasis on their ability to be able to understand what they have read. 

 In years 3 and 4 children should be:

  •  discussing their understanding of a wide range of texts
  •  inferring characters’ feelings, thoughts and motives from their actions
  •  predicting what might happen next
  •  identifying the main ideas from a paragraph, a chapter or possibly a whole short story
  •  commenting on the language, structure and presentation of a text
  •  picking out pieces of evidence to justify their answers

 In years 5 and 6 children should be expected to discuss all of the above as well as:

  •  discussing and evaluating how authors’ use of language impacts on the reader
  •  distinguishing between fact and opinion
  •  developing opinions on what they have read and using evidence to support these opinions
  •  challenging others’ ideas and views courteously 

In order for children to make the best progress possible, it is essential that they read regularly at home with an adult and have the opportunity to discuss what they have read to demonstrate and develop their comprehension.  Research suggests that just 10 minutes of reading and discussion a day can make a dramatic difference to their educational attainment. 

Remember, even at this stage, it is still beneficial to read a bedtime book to your child!

Please find below a document with a list of questions related to the points above to help initiate discussion about a text and develop these essential skills.

Helpful websites:

Motivating boys to read

Help for struggling readers

 More advice and ideas about how to engage children

 Free online service that offers recommendations of children’s books

Children’s books magazine with reviews of books, information on authors and other related Newspaper for children