Twyford St Mary's
Church of England Primary School



How we teach Reading

Subject Lead: Carly Wilkinson

At Twyford St Mary’s we are passionate about fostering a love of reading. Reading can help the imagination soar and can unlock so many other areas of learning, so enjoyment is key! From starting with phonics to promote reading fluency, to introducing our VIPERS skills to support reading comprehension as they move through the school, we work hard to support our children from their first days in Year R. This way they can become confident, fluent readers who enjoy discussing a range of text types and feel empowered to share their reading preferences.

Our curriculum and teaching focus on two interconnected strands: Learn to Read and Love to Read.

Learn to Read

At the core of our Learn to Read curriculum strand is our use of VIPERS. VIPERS is an acronym that reminds us of the 6 reading domains that are part of the UK’s reading curriculum.  These are the key areas that we feel children need to know and understand to improve their comprehension of texts. Essentially these are the building blocks that support them as they Learn to Read.

VIPERS stands for:

  • Vocabulary
  • Inference
  • Prediction
  • Explanation
  • Retrieval
  • Sequence or Summarise (Sounds in KS1 – see Phonics page)

The 6 domains focus on the comprehension aspect of reading and not the mechanics: decoding, fluency, prosody, etc.

VIPERS are a clear way to help our children to identify, recognise and understand the different skills they might use when reading texts. As children move up the school and begin to answer both verbal and written questions based on texts read, VIPERS help them with how to approach answering these questions. This becomes particularly useful when they begin to do mix-up comprehensions where a range of skills are needed. VIPERS provides a great home school link and – in the VIPERS guide we share with parents in our annual session you can find some question stems that can be used at home when reading with your child/children.

Not only are the Reading Vipers an important tool for helping children Learn to Read – at school and home – it is also essential to allow plenty of time for reading for enjoyment too! We encourage families to read with their children as much as possible. This might include performing stories aloud, exploring sources of reading – such as the library, book shops, pamphlets, and even the backs of cereal boxes – and sharing personal opinions of books.

Love to Read

Our Love to Read strand of teaching encourages children to discover the world of knowledge, inspiration, imagination, and joy that is available through reading. This strand flows throughout the school and is woven into all subject areas.

This is our way of developing young people’s passion for books and identifying genres that appeal to them. Our Love to Read approach introduces books that might not be within our direct reading scheme alongside our inspirational text drivers for reading and writing lessons. This is where children are exposed to a range of texts with a breath of opportunity to allow them to select further books they might want to read, books that entice them, challenge them, and broaden their world view.

Our Library ‘The Forest’ is such an important space at Twyford St Mary’s and is the cornerstone of our Love to Read approach.

The Forest houses a range of fantastic books and provides a tranquil learning environment for breakout and intervention groups. In 2023 – funded by a generous parent donation – our library had a significant makeover with a woodland theme, space for children to relax and enjoy reading, and easy-to-navigate colour coding for age-appropriate sections. The library’s woodland motif has continued into classroom book corners. Banded books and fictional books can mainly be found in The Forest, whereas non-fiction books based on class topics can be found in class book corners. These are refreshed regularly so they can easily be accessed by pupils to help inspire them with their learning.

The KS2 mobile library – run by the children – was launched to celebrate World Book Day 2023. This child-led project means that fiction and non-fiction books can easily be enjoyed at break times in the fresh air! 

Love to Read manifests in many ways throughout the school year, including:

  • Our carefully selected range of class-based text, that teachers will read with their class – or through story time – from start to finish. These are used to broaden horizons and are often aligned to topics.
  • Annual events including the Book Fair and our ever-popular World Book Day celebrations.
  • Regular Reading Nook newsletter, written by the children., and celebrating all things books.

The Twyford St Mary’s Reading expert:

  • Reads for fun
  • Has a wonderful attitude towards reading
  • Is able to immerse themselves in texts to inspire other areas of learning
  • Is able to share their reading preferences
  • Is able to respond to poetry and perform it
  • Can draw on their reading to inspire writing
  • Is inspired to explore a range of text types

Our approach to Reading for SEND learners:

Quality First Teaching is our primary way of supporting pupils with SEND across our Twyford St Mary’s, but we also provide extra provision to support all our children to achieve their very best in reading. This might include targeted phonics, Guided Reading intervention groups, and practical tools and resources like reading rulers and specialized programmes such as Nessy. At Twyford St Mary’s we believe an individualised approach is of the utmost importance and it is essential to highlight children’s strengths alongside supporting them with things they find difficult. Giving children with SEND the tools they need to help them to feel successful with their reading fluency inevitably supports their comprehension and love of reading!

Supporting tools

  • Banded Books – We have a range of banded books at TSM; the colours link to specific reading targets and the texts that have been banded in this colour are geared towards supporting children to achieve their reading targets with a text that is suitable for their reading level.
  •  Bug Club  (KS1)  – Bug Club is a core reading programme developed to help schools develop confident and motivated readers. Here you can access hundreds of books at home and teachers can assign books for classes to enjoy.
  • Nessy – Selected pupils at TSM use the Nessy Reading and Spellings programme to follow an individualised online learning path to support the provision already being received in taught reading, phonics, and spelling sessions.
  • SLS Library Service – The School Library Service’s vision is to support schools to have vibrant school libraries that play a central role in helping children and young people gain the knowledge, skills, and attributes needed for learning, life, and work. They support school libraries through the provision of resources and advice to foster wellbeing and achievement across the school community.