Throughout their time at Sidbury CE Primary School we strive to equip our children with skills which will enable them to communicate effectively.  Being confident and competent readers, writers and speakers is empowering and integral to all aspects of life.  Through our teaching of English, in line with the expectations set out in the National Curriculum, we aim to develop children’s understanding of and fluency with the technical aspects of the subject, explore the richness of our English language heritage and inspire a curiosity about language and words which in hand develops a love of reading.  In order to do this we use Little Wandle Phonics Programme and Literacy Shed VIPERS so children can cover the threshold concepts of reading words accurately and understand texts.


We believe that learning to read is the key to unlocking knowledge for children, and because of this we work hard to ensure children have a range of opportunities for reading.  Learning to read is a journey and many skills need to be developed along the way.  We start this journey as soon as the children start in our school. 

Reading is integrated into every area of the curriculum; supporting children's development of vocabulary, stamina, fluency, prosody and comprehension. Children are read key texts assigned to their year group from our whole school reading spine (see below) in order to develop reading for pleasure.  They follow a clear pathway of texts from a range of genres which is closely tracked to ensure coverage.

Early Years Foundation Stage, Year 1 & Year 2

When children start school, we first teach the children to recognise letters, the sounds that they make and using a synthetic, systematic phonic approach which follows the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds phonics programme.  Children are taught how the sounds (phonemes) are blended together to read or segmented (broken down) when the children are learning to write.  If you would like to know any further information about our phonics programme you can find it here.


We use Bug Cat Collins books to teach reading, these books are matched to the Little Wandle Letters and Sounds phonics programme. Our children take part in guided reading sessions, where they apply their phonics learning alongside a variety of other reading skills including fluency, prosody and comprehension. Regular assessments focussing on phonic knowledge and fluency will ensure that children's books are allocated accurately ensuing that the books children are reading align with their reading ability.  The book children have been reading within their reading group will be sent home every Friday, children should be able to practice reading these books with little or no help at all.  Children will also bring home a shared reading book, this may not be matched to their reading ability, but may be a topic they are interested in, and one that you can share and read together at home.

Children will also be taught key reading skills throughout their English lessons and learning in all curriculum areas for example within their History learning.   This allows the children to engage in discussion about what they have read.  They will be asked questions using the Literacy Shed VIPERS to ensure questions relating to all areas of reading, based on the threshold concepts are covered. Using this approach children learn to use problem-solving strategies to work out words they don't know, deal with difficult sentence structure and understand concepts or ideas they have never encountered before in print. If you would like to see more information about Key Stage One VIPERS please see below.

reading vipers question stems ks1.pdf


 Year 3, 4, 5 & 6

In Key Stage 2 children are taught reading through a whole class reading approach with a clear scaffold for every child dependant on their individual ability.  Children still requiring phonics provision will receive specific interventions using the Little Wandle catch up programme; this will ensure continuity with their journey from Key Stage One.  Reading lessons are based around the Literacy Shed VIPERS which allow us to target specific reading skills based on the threshold concepts.  See below for more information. 

reading vipers question stems ks2.pdf

If you would like to look at our Whole School Reading Spine you will find it here.  Reading books by the same authors to your child at home is recommended.  Where possible, please try to avoid covering all of these texts at home in advance of the children enjoying these books in school.

our school reading spine.pdf

 Reading at home

Children will take home reading books based on their reading ability and choose a book from the classroom, that maybe above their reading ability to take home to read for pleasure. 

We expect children to read their school reading book at least 3 times a week at home.  This should be done in a quiet space, without the interruption of TV, radio and other distractions. 

Reading a text 3 times, enables children to become familiar with it. Each read moves through the stages of blending until fluency when children can then add in expression and they can understand what they have read.

  • First Read - the child is mainly going to decode a lot aloud, at this read they will not necessarily be able to understand the story as their brain power is going on identifying the sounds and blending them together to read words.
  • Second Read - the child is encouraged that if they need to decode (blend sounds together to make a word ) then to do it in their head so that they don't keep decoding aloud. This helps their reading fluency.
  • Third Read - the child can now read with more fluency as their brain power is not going on just decoding the words, as they have had practice with that.

Children in Key Stage 1 will be bringing home a book that they should be familiar with.  Please revisit the stages above if your child is less confident sharing their book with you.  Children in Key Stage 2, are likely to be reading longer reading books and would not be expected to re-read the same book.  Please visit the back pages of our reading books, here you will find questions that you can ask your child about the book they have just read.

Our final book band in school is the colour PEARL, when children reach this book band they will read a Pearl book followed by a book of their choice and repeat this pattern until they have completed the set of Pearl books.

There are two types of reading book that your child will bring home:

· A reading practice book - This will be at the correct phonic stage for your child. They should be able to read this fluently and independently.

· A sharing book - Your child may not be able to read this book on their own as it is not fully decodable and may not match their exact phonics level. This book is for you both to read and enjoy together.

The Reading Practice Book: Big Cat Books

This book has been carefully matched to your child’s current reading level. If your child is reading it with little help, please don’t worry that it’s too easy – your child needs to develop fluency and confidence in reading. Listen to them read the book. Remember to give them lots of praise – celebrate their success! If they can’t read a word, read it with them. After they have finished, talk about the book together.

As part of our home learning we recommend that children read regularly at home.  Three times a week is optimal, we know that some of Sidbury's avid readers will read daily, this is excellent - keep up the love of reading, if your child wants to read more regularly, we encourage children to do so.

The Sharing Book: Oxford Reading Tree, Songbirds, Storyworld, Bug Club or Library book

To help to encourage your child to become a lifelong reader, it is important that they learn to read for pleasure. The sharing book is a book that they have chosen for you to enjoy together. Please remember that you shouldn’t expect your child to read this alone. Read it to or with them. Discuss the pictures, enjoy the story, predict what might happen next, use different voices for the characters, explore the facts in a non-fiction book. The main thing is that you have fun!

Reading Intervention

Where children are identified as making slow progress, or struggling to make progress in reading, they will receive small group interventions, or 1:1 reading intervention sessions. The aim of these interventions is to provide a short spell of very targeted teaching, that re-tracks them. For some children, who may be on the Special Educational Needs Register, these interventions may be provided over a longer period of time, or throughout their time with us.

Little Wandle Keep Up, Toe-By-Toe and TRUGs are some of the reading interventions we use regularly.

The following information will help you to understand how our reading curriculum links to the above mentioned threshold concepts.

Reading assessment criteria 


English is taught through high quality texts that teach offering rich opportunities to explore and develop oral and written language and are chosen from a broad range of genres.  We use the Literacy Tree resources, which encourage children to embrace embedding a text before building up to planning and writing their own.  As a school we have clearly mapped our texts that we use in each class to ensure coverage and consistency.


Spelling is a fundamental skill for children to master in order to allow them to show that they are working at age related expectations.  In school, from Year 2 onwards. we use spelling shed to support the systematic teaching of spelling. Children focus on spelling rules eg. looking at homophones (words that sound the same but are spelt differently and have different definitions) and root words with suffixes. Children's home learning will reflect the recent spelling patterns they have learnt in school. 


Previously, children in our EYFS have learnt how to form their letters, using our pre cursive handwriting style; following up to date relevant research and guidance, this has now been amended to begin in Year 2, where cursive writing is introduced.  

 The following information will help you to understand how our how our writing curriculum links to the above mentioned threshold concepts.

Writing assessment criteria