“The more that you read, the more you will know. The more that you know, the more places you will go.” – Dr Seuss


As soon as children enter our EYFS, reading becomes a huge part of our daily routine. Immersing children in books, and illustrations, alongside props, such as puppets, allows children to become familiar with the skill of reading, e.g., reading from left to right, page turning, and in developing a love of books and reading for pleasure. Sharing stories develops listening skills, imagination, and creativity. By listening regularly to stories, children become familiar with story language, rhythm, and rhyme. We often reread texts to children, to a point where they begin to internalise them and join in with familiar parts and go on to retell them, independently in their play.

Children in EYFS and Year 1 follow the Floppy’s Phonics Letters and Sounds programme to learn how to read. These lessons develop children’s reading fluency and language comprehension skills until they are ready to access whole class guided reading, usually in Year 2. To find out more about Phonics in school, please visit the Phonics curriculum page.

Whole Class Guided Reading

Once children are ready to move away from discrete Phonics teaching, they access daily whole class guided reading lessons. This is usually from Year 2. We have chosen a whole class guided reading approach because it offers the benefits of increased exposure to challenging texts, increased time for deep exploration of a text and the opportunity for class discussion.

The texts for these sessions have been carefully selected to ensure they are age-appropriate, engaging, content relevant, rich in higher-level vocabulary, and at a reading level which is beyond age-related expectations.

The aim of whole class guided reading sessions is to develop fluency to a point where comprehension of a text is achieved. Although comprehension and fluency are two separate disciplines, children will struggle to comprehend a text if they are unable to read it fluently. Therefore, whole class guided reading lessons involve lots of teacher modelling of reading with fluency, expression and emphasising punctuation. Through correct phrasing, children are also shown how reading has rhythm, and that understanding the rhythm helps the reader understand the author’s intended meaning. Intonation is also an important aspect of fluent reading as it shows that children are comprehending what they read. Through developing these reading disciplines, we aim for all children to fully comprehend the texts they study.  

Once this is achieved, focus turns to comprehension skills which are taught using VIPERS. Each whole class guided reading lesson focuses on one of the VIPERS skills, plus vocabulary, which is explicitly taught in every lesson.

Vocabulary – find and explain the meaning of words in context.

Inference – make and justify inferences using evidence from the text.

Predict – predict what might happen from the details given and implied.

Explain – explain how content is related and contributes to the meaning as a whole; explain how meaning is enhanced through choice of language; explain the themes and patterns that develop across the text; explain how information contributes to the overall experience.

Retrieval – retrieve and record information and identify key details from fiction and non-fiction.

Sequence / Summarise – summarise the main ideas from more than one paragraph.

More information about the VIPERS skills can be found here: Literacy Shed Plus – READING VIPERS

We aim to teach each of the VIPERS skills at least once over a 2-week period, but there is flexibility in this, as we understand children may sometimes need more time to embed a particular skill.

If you visited our whole class guided reading lessons, you would see:

  • Vocabulary linked to the text being explicitly taught.
  • An introduction to the VIPERS skill
  • Lots of teacher modelling of reading and children having the opportunity to practice (my turn, your turn, rereading)
  • Children orally answering questions linked to a VIPERS skill (guided practice)
  • Children answering questions linked to the VIPERS skill, independently in written form.

Whole Class Guided Reading Long-Term Plan

Whole class guided reading sessions begin in Year 2, as the focus for our Foundation Stage and Year 1 children is on Phonics. However, children in Year 1 follow a story spine, a list of key texts which children will read and discuss as a class. These sessions focus on developing the foundations for whole class guided reading lessons in Year 2, as they introduce the VIPERS reading domains through discussion. 

Year 1 Story Spine

Reading for Pleasure

Reading for pleasure is key to children developing a love of books, as well as:

  • building knowledge
  • improving achievement
  • increasing motivation
  • increasing vocabulary
  • improving writing
  • building background knowledge
  • improving understanding of text structures
  • developing empathy
  • developing personal identity

To develop a love of reading for pleasure, we have spent time auditing our current reading for pleasure offer and reading for pleasure opportunities across school. Pupil voice has played a big part in this.

Following our audits, we have: 

  • researched recommended reads for each year group and stocked our library and classrooms, so that children can access and borrow high-quality texts, that have been carefully matched to age-related expectations.
  • ensured our library displays a range of genres and authors, so that children are exposed to ‘classics’ such as Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton, as well as non-fiction, poetry, and texts written by authors from different backgrounds.
  • organised the school library so that all children can access books appropriate to their reading level and borrow books which interest them.
  • refreshed our school library to make it more inviting and engaging for children to access.
  • developed a ‘book match’ approach, where children who enjoy certain authors, are encouraged to explore books with similar themes/genres by different authors.
  • made sure classes have dedicated story time timetabled each day, where a recommended, age-appropriate read is shared.
  • set up a reading buddy system, where children from different year groups meet and share books which interest them.
  • planned reading events throughout the school year, including parent Phonics and reading workshops, books for breakfast mornings, World Book Day celebrations, library visits, and live author workshops.
  • trained up our school librarians to keep the library well organised and to support children in accessing appropriate books.
  • written our curriculum to ensure opportunities for reading in different subjects are consistently woven through.

To see how we have chosen the texts we use across our curriculum, including for reading for pleasure, please see our reading spines, below:

Nursery reading spine HERE

F2 reading spine HERE

Y1 reading spine HERE

Y2 reading spine HERE

Y3 reading spine HERE

Y4 reading spine HERE

Y5 reading spine HERE

Y6 reading spine HERE


Reading at Home

EYFS and KS1

Each child will bring home two books. One will be matched to their current phase in Floppy’s Phonics and the other will be a text that you can share together, as some of the words in this text will be unfamiliar.

In Nursery, children will bring books home to share with adults, to develop a love of reading and expand knowledge of vocabulary.

Regular opportunities for parents to share reading experiences in school will be planned throughout the year.


Children will bring home reading books linked to the Lexile range for their attainment. Your child should be able to read the texts they choose to bring home, mostly fluently, and answer language comprehension questions about them. Support will be given to children when they are making a text selection to make sure it is appropriate.

10 top tips for parents to support children to read – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

1 Encourage your child to read

Reading helps your child’s wellbeing, develops imagination and has educational benefits too. Just a few minutes a day can have a big impact on children of all ages.

2 Read aloud regularly

Try to read to your child every day. It’s a special time to snuggle up and enjoy a story. Stories matter and children love re-reading them and poring over the pictures. Try adding funny voices to bring characters to life.

3 Encourage reading choice

Give children lots of opportunities to read different things in their own time – it doesn’t just have to be books. There’s fiction, non-fiction, poetry, comics, magazines, recipes and much more. Try leaving interesting reading material in different places around the home and see who picks it up.

4 Read together

Choose a favourite time to read together as a family and enjoy it. This might be everyone reading the same book together, reading different things at the same time, or getting your children to read to each other. This time spent reading together can be relaxing for all.

5 Create a comfortable environment

Make a calm, comfortable place for your family to relax and read independently – or together.

6 Make use of your local library

Libraries in England can open from 4 July, so visit them when you’re able to and explore all sorts of reading ideas. Local libraries also offer brilliant online materials, including audiobooks and eBooks to borrow. See Libraries Connected: https://www.librariesconnected.org.uk/page/librariesfromhome for more digital library services and resources.

7 Talk about books

This is a great way to make connections, develop understanding and make reading even more enjoyable. Start by discussing the front cover and talking about what it reveals and suggests the book could be about. Then talk about what you’ve been reading and share ideas. You could discuss something that happened that surprised you, or something new that you found out. You could talk about how the book makes you feel and whether it reminds you of anything.

8 Bring reading to life

You could try cooking a recipe you’ve read together. Would you recommend it to a friend? Alternatively, play a game where you pretend to be the characters in a book, or discuss an interesting article you’ve read.

9 Make reading active

Play games that involve making connections between pictures, objects, and words, such as reading about an object and finding similar things in your home. You could organise treasure hunts related to what you’re reading. Try creating your child’s very own book by using photos from your day and adding captions.

10 Engage your child in reading in a way that suits them

You know your child best and you’ll know the best times for your child to read. If they have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) then short, creative activities may be the way to get them most interested. If English is an additional language, encourage reading in a child’s first language, as well as in English. What matters most is that they enjoy it.


Home Reading Challenge!

How many of these recommended reads can you complete before the end of the school year? We have some of these books in school and we are currently in the process of ordering more books for our libraries and reading areas. Any books we don’t currently have in school can be accessed at The Lightbox – our Town Centre Library!


Useful Links & Documents

Development Matters – Non-statutory curriculum guidance for the early years foundation stage (publishing.service.gov.uk)

Statutory framework for the early years foundation stage (publishing.service.gov.uk)

National curriculum in England: English programmes of study – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The reading framework – teaching the foundations of literacy (publishing.service.gov.uk)

Research review series: English – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Our Reading Ambassador is Mrs Whiteley. If you would like to know anything about reading in school, please email d.whiteley@smat.org.uk.