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Gifford Primary School

Be Strong, Be Kind, Be Proud

Reading & Phonics


At Gifford, reading is a top priority and it is a key driver for our curriculum. It is our intention to ensure that by the end of their primary education, all pupils are able to read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education.


We believe that reading ‘opens the door’ to learning, enabling children to access a wider curriculum. We want your child to develop an authentic love of reading for pleasure. This is why we put our efforts into nurturing our children to become passionate and curious about books as well as simply learning to read. 


We aim to provide children with a literacy-rich environment, high quality texts across both fiction and non-fiction and inspiring learning opportunities, which will help them to:


  • Gain a life-long enjoyment of reading

  • 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 knowledge of themselves and the world in which they live

  • To establish an appreciation and love of reading

  • To gain knowledge across the curriculum



At Gifford, we use a synthetic phonics programme called ‘Read Write Inc’ produced by Ruth Miskin. Our staff teach learners the relationship between sounds and the written spelling patterns, or graphemes, which represent them. All children in Reception, KS1 and, where necessary, KS2 have daily phonics sessions in small ability groups where they participate in speaking, listening, spelling and reading activities that are matched to their current needs.

We recognise that systematic, high quality phonics teaching is essential, but additional skills and opportunities are needed for children to achieve the goal of being a well-rounded reader, namely comprehension. When children have completed the Read, Write, Inc phonics programme, reading is developed during guided reading, using high quality texts and focused skill teaching. Strong links are made between reading and writing. Children read and enjoy high quality fiction and non-fiction texts, which (where possible) are linked to their topics across the curriculum.


In Key Stage 1 and 2 whole class guided reading lessons are taught focusing on teaching the reading domains:


KS1 Reading Domains 


Draw on knowledge of vocabulary to understand texts


Identify / explain key aspects of fiction and non-fiction texts, such as characters, events, titles and information


Identify and explain the sequence of events in texts


Make inferences from the text


Predict what might happen on the basis of what has been read so far


KS2 Reading Domains


Give / explain the meaning of words in context


Retrieve and record information/identify key details from fiction and non-fiction


Summarise main ideas from more than one paragraph


Make inferences from the text/explain and justify inferences with evidence from the text


Predict what might happen from details stated and implied


Identify/explain how information/narrative content is related and contributes to meaning as a whole


Identify/explain how meaning is enhanced through choice of words and phrases


Make comparisons within the text


The content domains are taught through the Reading VIPERS scheme.

V- Vocabulary

I- Inference

P- Prediction

E- Explanation

R- Retrieval

S- Summarise


In whole class guided reading sessions, children develop their key reading skills of Vocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Explanation, Retrieval and Summarising (VIPERS). Each skill is visited at least once during a reading cycle, and they are revisited based on the year group’s needs. Children are exposed to fiction, non-fiction, and poetry during each term and they are provided with a range of high quality texts.


Children working on the Read Write Inc. programme take home a ‘book bag book’ matched directly to their current phonics level. For other year groups, a diverse range of group reading books and a staged reading scheme are available. We do not use any one published scheme to teach reading, instead we believe that it is important to provide pupils with a selection of reading books and experiences from different genres and subject matter, therefore we operate using ‘book bands’ in line with Oxford reading tree complemented by thematic books. Children work through our school reading scheme – these are levelled books which match the child’s current reading ability.


All children will also choose an additional book to share with their family at home from the school library to encourage reading for pleasure. Parents are encouraged to read with their child at least three times a week and record it in their reading record.


Each classroom contains a newly revamped inviting reading area. Reading is promoted through display and reading books around school to enable pupils to have as many opportunities to be immersed in reading. Teachers read engaging texts to children every day with intonation and expression. The children enjoy special reading occasions such as World Book Day, school reading competitions and timetabled sessions to encourage reading for pleasure. All classes are exposed to a daily class reader, for pleasure, to excite and engage the children, and to expose them to new and varied vocabulary.



At Gifford, ‘pupil voice’ shows that our children enjoy reading and they are confident when talking about the skills they need to be a good reader. Across all year groups, they recognise the key reading skills such as VIPERS and they are able to use the steps to success modelled in their guided reading lessons to answer a range of different questions.


Outcomes of reading demonstrate:

• Pupils will enjoy reading across a range of genres

• Pupils of all abilities will be able to succeed in all reading lessons

• Pupils will use a range of strategies for decoding words, not solely relying on phonics

• Pupils will have a good knowledge of a range of authors

• Pupils will be ready to read in any subject in their forthcoming secondary education

• The percentage of pupils working at EXS within each year group will be at least in line with national averages

• The percentage of pupils working at GDS within each year group will be at least in line with national average 

Parent video: What is Read Write Inc Phonics

For more information on books and reading, please use the following links:

Reading resources and homework website

- Monthly book recommendations

- Books Trust great book guide