Scroll to content
Gifford Primary School home page

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 have created a literacy-rich environment that offers a diverse array of high-quality texts spanning both fiction and non-fiction genres 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 program, 'Read Write Inc,' created by Ruth Miskin. Our staff employ this systematic approach to help learners understand the relationship between sounds and written spelling patterns, or graphemes, paving the way for effective reading and spelling proficiency.


In Reception, Key Stage 1, and, when necessary, Key Stage 2, all students benefit from daily phonics sessions conducted in small, differentiated groups. These sessions encompass speaking, listening, spelling, and reading activities tailored to each child's individual needs, ensuring targeted support for optimal progress.


However, we understand that reading is more than just decoding words - it's about comprehension and making meaning from text. Therefore, upon completion of the Read Write Inc phonics program, our focus shifts to developing reading comprehension skills during guided reading sessions. Through the exploration of high-quality texts and targeted skill teaching, students not only practise reading fluency, but engage in meaningful comprehension activities that deepen their understanding of the texts they encounter.


Moreover, we emphasise the integration of reading and writing, recognising the reciprocal relationship between the two. Students are encouraged to draw connections between what they read and their own writing, fostering a holistic approach to literacy development.


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 our whole-class guided reading sessions, children develop vital reading skills through the VIPERS framework: Vocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Explanation, Retrieval, and Summarising. Starting with explicit instruction in VIPERS, students gradually build a deeper understanding by practising a range of skills in every lesson. Our teachers carefully select skills based on the chosen text, making meaningful connections to enhance comprehension. Ongoing assessment and gap analysis ensure that individual learning needs are addressed effectively. Throughout the term, students are exposed to a variety of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, with access to a diverse range of high-quality texts.


To further enhance fluency, discussion, and vocabulary, teachers dedicate at least one session per week to these areas. Various strategies, such as echo reading, paired reading, and performance reading, are employed to improve fluency. These sessions also include discussions and questioning to address spoken word choices, integrating elements of VIPERS questioning.


Pupils following the Read Write Inc. program receive 'book bag books' matched to their phonics level, while other year groups have access to a range of group reading books and a staged reading scheme. Our belief in providing a broad selection of reading materials is reflected in our use of 'book bands', aligned with the Oxford Reading Tree and complemented by thematic books. Children progress through our school reading scheme, which offers levelled books matched to their current reading ability.


In addition to school-assigned reading materials, pupils choose an extra book from the school library to share with their families at home, promoting reading for pleasure. Parents are encouraged to read with their children at least three times a week and record their progress in reading records. 


Our classrooms feature newly revamped inviting reading areas, promoting a culture of reading through displays and accessible reading materials. Teachers read engaging texts to children daily, captivating them with intonation and expression. Special reading occasions, such as World Book Day and school reading competitions, are eagerly anticipated, along with timetabled sessions designed to encourage reading for pleasure. All classes participate in regular independent reading sessions called 'book babble', fostering discussion, recommendations, and general book knowledge among students.



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