Books are at the heart of our English curriculum at St. Joseph’s. By the time our children reach the end of Year Six, we hope for them to be avid, life-long readers who are able to read fluently and widely. We provide a wealth of reading experiences which promote a reading for pleasure culture: empowering our pupils to make informed opinions about their favourite texts through access to a wide range of text types, genres and authors. We prioritise the teaching of reading skills alongside studying a range of rich and varied texts to ensure our children leave primary school able to read, understand and infer texts with confidence, preparing them for the next stage of their school journey. We not only aim to ensure that they learn to read well but develop a love for reading; truly feeling the joy that books give us.
Guided Reading through VIPERS
Whole-class guided reading begins in Year Two and we use the VIPERS approach to develop our children as skilled readers. The VIPERS skills include:
V – vocabulary, I – inference, P – prediction, E – explain, R – retrieval
S – sequence (KS1 and year 3) / summarise (KS2)
Guided reading takes place two-three times per week and the children also take part in an additional session which focuses on developing comprehension skills within a different genre.
The use of high-quality, whole texts (rather than extracts) which, where possible, link with the current wider-curriculum learning immerse our children in language, vocabulary and help to develop knowledge and understanding with the rest of the curriculum. Each VIPERS lesson is planned by our teachers to suit the developmental needs of their pupils and the content of the chapter/section of the book: some focus on teaching a range of VIPERS skills whilst others focus on one particular skill. We believe each section, chapter and book are unique with varied learning opportunities. As teachers read the text, they focus on modelling how to be an ‘expert reader’ and our children hear the components of being a fluent reader: expression and volume, phrasing, smoothness and pace. Listening to the teacher enables children to focus solely on comprehending the text, rather than decoding or word reading. Children then independently answer a range of questions which are planned to follow a progression of skills and knowledge through each year group and key stage, whilst teachers provide support and engage in discussion to scaffold the learning taking place.
At St. Joseph’s, our reading scheme contains books from the the Oxford University Press. Books in Reception and Year One are organised into phonic phases and link directly to phonics teaching, and books from Year Two to Year Six are organised into colour banded groups. As well as regular reading in school, we encourage children to read their books at home at least three times per week. We believe that by re-reading texts several times, children have the greatest opportunity to become fluent and confident readers, whilst practising the skills required to read a wide range of texts independently.
Wider reading across school
All of our children have access to a dedicated classroom reading space as well as our school library. Our children can choose from a variety of texts, including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, comic books and magazines. Every class has a dedicated story time (1.00pm-1.15pm every day) where teachers read stories to promote a love of reading. We use a representative reading spine to ensure the diverse social, emotional, economical, physical and cultural needs of our pupils are represented, acknowledged and celebrated.
The use of the Schools Library Service enables our children to read varied literature of different genres, linked with the wider curriculum.