At St Bede’s Catholic Primary School, we aim to:

  • Develop curious readers, who read with fluency, understanding and confidence, and seek to acquire knowledge independently.
  • Develop their ever-growing vocabulary, through an interest in words and their meanings.
  • Give our children the reading skills they need to access all areas of the curriculum and begin to manage that information.
  • Assist our children in experiencing a range of text/media types, genres and authors, across arange of contexts, to develop their understanding.
  • Help our children appreciate our rich and varied literary heritage.
  • Enable children to understand and respond to what they read, justifying those responses.
  • Support children to develop a lifelong passion for reading, taking genuine pleasure from what they read.
  • Ensure all children learn to read, regardless of their background, needs or ability.

At St Bede’s Catholic Primary School, we are a community of readers. Therefore, we expect all adults to model and communicate their love of reading in the following ways:

  • Sharing stories through Story Time/Class texts – we have made a 10 minute a day reading pledge.
  • Daily phonics sessions (Reception – KS1 and for those children who need it in KS2) to give children the technical ability to read.
  • Teaching different reading skills through VIPERS (Year 1 – Year 6).
  • Providing reading areas that inspire children to read.
  • Reading with individual children who need our support the most.
  • Providing opportunities for silent reading.
  • Promoting reading throughout the curriculum.

The Structure of Reading at St. Bede’s

Reading at St Bede’s takes a multi-strategy approach to understanding the written word.  Competence in reading is key to independent learning and therefore the teaching of reading is given the highest priority by staff.

Read, Write, Inc

Reception and Year 1 follow the Read, Write Inc (RWI) programme. This is extended across Year 2 and KS2, where children do not have the phonic knowledge and skills they require. In RWI sessions St Bede’s children are taught to:

  • Decode letter-sound correspondences quickly and effortlessly, using their phonic knowledge and skills.
  • Read common exception words on sight.
  • Understand what they read.
  • Read aloud with fluency and expression.
  • Spell quickly and easily by segmenting the sounds in words.

In EYFS we emphasise the alphabetic code. The pupils rapidly learn sounds and the letter or groups of letters they need to represent them. Simple mnemonics help them to grasp this quickly. This is especially useful for pupils at risk of making slower progress. This learning is consolidated daily.

Pupils have frequent practice in reading high frequency words with irregular spellings – common exception words. We make sure that pupils read books that are closely matched to their increasing knowledge of phonics and the common exception words. This is so that, early on, they experience success and gain confidence that they are readers. Re-reading and discussing these books with the teacher supports their increasingly fluent decoding.

Children are divided into phonic groups dependant on their reading and phonetic ability. Each RWI group has a teacher/teaching assistant who is responsible for the running of their group. Groups are adapted and changed on a half termly basis following 1:1 assessment delivered by the phonics lead Mrs Holtham. Class teachers and group leaders work closely together to share progress, monitor and track pupils throughout the term.

Alongside this, teachers read a wide range of stories, poetry and non-fiction to pupils. Our aim is for pupils to complete the phonics programme as quickly as possible. The sooner they complete it, the sooner they will be able to choose books to read at their own interest and comprehension level.

Children take their RWI book home weekly to be shared with parents. Reading in school and at home is recorded in the child’s Reading Record book. Parents contribute by adding home reading. Parents who are not consistently reading with their child are contacted by the class teacher as part of the monitoring process. Additional phonics packs are sent home when they are needed.

Children who do not reach National Expectations in Phonics/Reading

For children in Year 3 and 4 who did not reach national expectations, RWI sessions are delivered daily by teachers/teaching assistants during Accelerated Reading/Spelling Sessions. The Lexia Reading programme is used to support children who may have gaps in their phonic acquisition.  This is an individualised programme that children can follow in school and at home. Progress is monitored and children can earn certificates for each level completed.

Accelerated Reader

Once children can read longer texts independently and with fluency (RWI blue or grey level), theymove to Accelerated Reader. Accelerated Reader gives children the opportunity to read for pleasure (by selecting their own books from their given starting point, which is based on ability) whilst also developing their fluency and comprehension skills.

Each child is set targets that they work towards throughout the academic year. in relation to how much they should be reading and can accrue points based on the number of minutes they read and the type of books they choose.

Children can earn awards and certificates for the number of words read to increase engagement and interest.

After each book is finished, children access online comprehension quizzes based on what they have read. Teachers are responsible for monitoring Accelerated Reader Quiz results and if a pupil achieves 100% three times consecutively, they would then be reassessed to ensure they are working within the right levels.

Parents who are not consistently reading with their child are contacted by the class teacher as part of the monitoring process.

Older children in Years 5 and 6 may choose to read independently if they have reached an age-appropriate level of development and should record this reading in their diaries. However, parents are contacted if their child is consistently failing to score 80% on their book quizzes as part of the monitoring process. Although this is relative to the age/level the individual is working at, as there may be other factors affecting their performance. Special focus will be given to pupils who become ‘millionaire’ readers!

Reading Skills

 Reading skills are taught discretely each week through VIPERS skills (Vocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Explanation, Retrieval, and Summary). Children are given a range of engaging texts from a variety of genres which they will then analyse using these skills. Questioning links to the skills and allows pupils an opportunity to extend and consolidate their learning.

As far as possible, VIPERS reading comprehension will link to topics/themes studied in the previous term, thus enabling them to demonstrate what they know and what they can remember.

Questions develop children’s understanding at three levels;

  • Literal questions, asking pupils to recall information that is directly stated in the text.
  • Deductive or inferential questions asking pupils to work out answers by reading between the lines, by combining information found in different parts of the text and by going beyond the information given.
  • Evaluative or response questions asking pupils to go beyond the text by, for example, thinking whether the text achieves its purpose, or making connections with other texts.

Whole Class Guided Reading

 In addition to the weekly VIPERS session focusing on the teaching of reading skills, pupils in KS2 access whole class guided reading sessions two or three times a week. This enables them to access an increasingly wide range of texts from various genres and answer questions relative to them as a class.

Pupils who cannot access these sessions due to additional needs and/or those working below the prescribed level for that class, access interventions or receive one to one support with appropriately pitched texts made available to them during this time.

Shared Reading

 As a school, we recognise the value of reading aloud to children to model appropriate use of story language and reading with expression. We want to enthuse them with a love of books and inspire them as writers. Children have the opportunity to participate in lots of exciting and rewarding activities linked to reading, including:

  • World Book Day celebrations – dressing up, activities linked to favourite stories
  • Half termly/termly class texts usually linked to curriculum topics (see reading spines)
  • Daily teaching of writing through carefully selected class texts

Pupils will have regular opportunities to engage in independent and shared reading. Class teachers will read aloud to pupils daily who will then be encouraged to respond to the text in a variety of different fashions.


Class teachers use LCP tests to aid teacher assessment of pupil’s reading levels. In Reception and Year 1, RWI assessments are carried out each half term to assess the children’s phonic knowledge.  For those children accessing the Accelerated Reader programme, a star reading test is carried out each half term.  This individual assessment provides the child’s reading age and assigns the level of books that are appropriate for that child to choose from.  In addition to these assessments, class teachers also use accelerated reading sessions, one to one reading and weekly comprehension sessions to fully assess children’s progress. This is added to the schools tracking system termly.