Castleside Primary School

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Reading and Phonics

Reading is a high priority area at Castleside Primary School. Reading is a fundamental skill, used to stimulate children’s imaginations and ability to acquire a love for books.

At Castleside we teach reading using the mnemonic VIPERS.

V – Vocabulary

I – Inference

P – Predict

E – Explain

R – Retrieve

S – Sequence (KS1) Summarise (KS2)

This covers the key comprehension skills in line with the content domains from the National Curriculum. Children are taught to use 1-2 reading skills a lesson. The mnemonic VIPERS is used to ensure children understand the purpose of questions when reading. For more information on reading VIPERS click here.You will also find a link to question stems to support reading at home.

At Castleside we want to ensure children have access to a wide range of texts. This may be through reading lessons, 1:1 reading, whole class novels or audio books. We want to immerse children in a language rich environment.

In EYFS, KS1 and some KS2 classes children’s reading books are carefully matched to their phonic ability through the Essential Letters and Sounds Scheme. In these year groups, 2 books are sent home each week, children are expected to read each book at least 4 times before it is changed. Once children are beyond phonics they access reading books through Accelerated Reader. The is made up from a mixture of Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry and Traditional Tales, which allows children to experience a variety of text types. Children are expected to read at least 4 times a week as part of our whole school reading incentive.

We have worked hard to ensure there is a progression of skills for each pupil as they move from Early Years to Upper Key Stage Two. We have developed a Progression of Skills document which shows the expectations for each year group in reading.

Progression of Skills – Reading

1:1 Reading

In EYFS and KS1 children will read to an adult, in school, at least three times a week. Children who need extra support will be listened to more frequently. In KS2 children are encouraged to read multiple times across the day to adults through a range of lessons, including; writing, geography, history, science and RE lessons.


At Castleside Primary School we follow a validated phonics scheme; Essential Letters and Sounds (ELS). The programme provides a simple, consistent approach to phonics, provided through easy-to-use interactive whiteboard eBook lessons. ELS keeps routines simple to reduce cognitive load and maximise the chances of success ELS follows the original Letters and Sounds progression. All staff in school have completed training on ELS delivered from the Knowledge Schools Trust.

Every child in reception and year 1 takes part in a daily phonics session. Some may access additional phonic interventions throughout the day. The Essential Letters and Sounds programme is separated into Phases – your child’s teacher will be able to tell you which Phase your child is currently working on.

If you are unsure of how to pronounce phonic sounds correctly,  the video links below offer support with this.

Phase 2

Phase 3

Letter to Parents

Home Reading

Reading at home is an essential part of learning to read. Each child has an appropriately levelled reading book and a reading record. These are sent home daily. To ensure children are enthused about reading, they may choose which book they read from their allocated book band. Children are encouraged to read at home and rewarded through incentives developed within each class.



Reading aloud to children: 7 steps to making it magical

Book Chat
Reading with your child can support them in developing a love of reading. The OU have come up with guides and videos to support parents with this.



Reading for Pleasure

At Castleside Primary School, we encourage reading for pleasure. Every classroom has an engaging reading area, including books matching both the ability and interests of the children. Classes also have access to a well-stocked, school library.

Staff nurture a love for books through enthusiasm and enjoyment, promoting wonder and curiosity while exploring a new book. We plan for regular opportunities throughout the year focussing on books, for example World Book Day, Roald Dahl Day and World Poetry Day. Books are used to enhance our curriculum in all subjects. Classrooms are updated termly, ensuring children access a range of subject based books. For example: Science, Geography, History, RE. Additional to this, adults share stories daily within their classes. In Key Stage 2, classes enjoy reading a class novel.

We have a new little library in school where children are free to choose books to take home to read for pleasure. These can then be returned and swapped for a new book. The children have free access to this and can enjoy choosing any book that they would like to.


Reading Aloud

Books for Topics 3-5

Books for Topics 5-7

Books for Topics 7-9

Books for Topics 9-11


Christmas Ages 5-7

Christmas Ages 7-9

Christmas Ages 9-11

Christmas Gift Book List

Recommended Texts

Booktrust Great Books Guide 2021

Story time

Story time 3-5

Story time 5-7

Story time 7-9

Story time 9-11

Top Ten Story times for 7-11 year olds

Top Ten Story times to Enjoy

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