‘Trusting in God; Growing in Wisdom’

Becoming Readers

23 “I wish someone would write down everything I say.  I wish my words were written on a scroll.
24 I wish they were carved with an iron tool into lead or scratched on a rock so that they would last forever. (Job 19: 23-24)



At Whitegate CE Primary School, we believe passionately that all children are entitled to a rich and exciting range of books to help them grow in wisdom, inspire their imagination, develop the trust that comes from understanding perspective of others and develop a life-long love of reading. Our book-rich environment and curriculum is central to our philosophy of encouraging a positive culture of reading throughout all classes and promoting children’s enjoyment of reading.


 ‘I read so I can live more than one life in more than one place.’ Anne Tyler


We want our children to explore the world in which they live and prepare them to shine in life. Our aim is for our children to be able to: 

  • read accurately, fluently and with understanding;
  • apply a knowledge of structured synthetic phonics in order to decode unfamiliar words with increasing accuracy and speed;
  • be able to read with expression, clarity and confidence;
  • develop a good linguistic knowledge of vocabulary and grammar;
  • read and respond to a wide range of different types of texts;
  • develop a deeper level of emotional intelligence and empathy and
  • read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education.




Each classroom has a reading area containing books that have been chosen to appeal to children’s interests.  The books are changed on a regular basis based on requests from the children and changing curriculum topics.



From the start of Reception, we follow the DfE-accredited systematic synthetic phonics programme Ready, Steady, Phonics which has been developed by Literacy Counts. The daily plans are accompanied by interactive whiteboard lessons which is consolidated in a follow-up writing activity in phonics books. This in turn then continues across the curriculum in both reading and writing. Fully decodable books accompany the programme and are available to download at school and at home. ‘Keep up’ support is put in place for any child who needs additional practice and these sessions match the teaching of the daily lessons but in smaller steps with more repetition to ensure every child secures their learning.

For further information about Ready Steady Phonics, please visit their website.



Whole Class Guided Reading

Reading is taught explicitly as part of Whitegate’s writing sequence of lessons.  All writing is inspired by a ‘Vehicle Text’: a language-rich book that provides the context and stimulus for writing.  Children will read through the book as a whole-class, with the teacher using questioning to support pupils’ comprehension.  Where appropriate, writing units may also begin with reciprocal reading lessons focusing on summarising, predicting and questioning.  Each writing unit will also contain at least one ‘Model Text’: an exemplar writing outcome created by the teacher which exemplifies the skills and features taught in the unit.  From Year 1, children will answer VIPERS questions about the model text to support their comprehension. 


The Whitegate Reading Spine

The Reading Spine is a collection of books that have been allocated to each year group based on the reading level of the text and any links to each class’s curriculum topics.  In EYFS and Key Stage One, each class has a vehicle text and Spotlight Author for each half-term. These remain the same each year. In Key Stage Two, each class has a vehicle text for each half-term but due to our mixed-aged classes, our curriculum changes each year. Please use the link below to find the Reading Spine for Key Stage One. If you would like to know which vehicle texts your child is experiencing in Key Stage Two, please check their class page. 



Small Group Guided Reading

All children across the school have at least one small-group Guided Reading session each week, during which they will be supported in developing their decoding skills and prosody. They will also discuss and answers questions that develop key VIPERS reading comprehension skills:

  • Vocabulary
  • Inference
  • Prediction
  • Explain
  • Retrieve
  • Summarise


In EYFS and Key Stage 1, children are introduced to a new book every week which is linked to the new graphemes they have learned that week in our Ready, Steady, Phonics scheme. Each book is closely matched to the phonics sounds they have already learned.  This is read both as a whole class and in small group Guided Reading sessions with an adult. These books, which are all accessible online through a QR code which is sent home each week, are also used as home reading books.


Key Stage 2

In Key Stage 2, all children have a weekly small-group Guided Reading session. Before each session, children complete a pre-read of the upcoming chapter.  They may make a note of any unfamiliar vocabulary or questions that arise during their reading for later discussion.  During the session, the teacher monitors pupils’ reading prosody and asks questions designed to develop key VIPERS skills:

After the session, children independently answer VIPERS questions linked to the shared text before completing the pre-read for the next chapter. Teachers may choose to give feedback either during the next Guided Reading session or individually in children’s Guided Reading workbooks. 

On days when children are not either reading with an adult or completing a pre-read of follow-up task, they can read books sourced by the teacher that link to wider curriculum areas such as RE, Geography, History or Science.


Reading for Pleasure

Children also have regular opportunities to read for pleasure.  These will be books chosen from their class library or from the school’s library area. Pupils are supported in choosing books by recommendations from adults, peers, lists of recommended books on display in each class’s reading area or from Whitegate’s Read All About It! Book Recommendation Newsletter. Staff regularly monitor the books children choose to ensure that they are reading books of the appropriate level of challenge. 

In Key Stage Two, after every independent reading session, pupils will record the title of the book and pages read in their Home/School Contact Books. They are also expected to record either a one-word summary of what they have read or to choose a word or phrase they would like to ‘magpie’ for use in their own writing. 


Home Reading

All children in EYFS and Year One are expected to read at least four times per week at home using their weekly QR code phonics book. Children in Year Two take home a banded book for home reading which is changed on a weekly basis. This reading is recorded in their Home/School Contact Book.

Pupils in Key Stage 2 take home their reading for pleasure books from the class or school libraries.  These books should be read at home at least four times per week and recorded in Home/School Contact Books. For children who are not yet ‘Free Readers’, a banded book that is closely matched to their reading level is taken home each week. 


“Reading is the one ability that, once set in motion, has the capacity to feed itself, to grow exponentially, providing a base from which the possibilities are infinite.”  Michael Morpurgo



All children make progress with regard to their reading ability at a rate appropriate to the individual.  Children who are still on our reading scheme are benchmarked every half term.  Children in KS2 complete summative tests twice a year to monitor their progress and identify gaps in their reading skills and knowledge.  Any children who are not making expected progress will be supported in a variety of ways, including: additional phonics and reading support as well as additional practice with high frequency and common exception words. The depth and breadth of reading experiences we provide for our children will see them develop into confident, engaged and enthusiastic readers who possess an understanding and appreciation of the world and its myriad peoples, places and possibilities. 


If you have any questions about our reading curriculum, please contact Mr Thomas or Mrs Corcoran (subject leads) via the school office.

Thank you

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