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Mildmay Junior School

with a Resource Base for Hearing Impaired Children

“Excelling Through Enjoyment”

Reading At Home


Children are natural learners. They are constantly learning about their environment

through interaction, exploration, trial and error, and “having a go” at things. Children

watch what adults do and then act out what they have seen. This role-play of adult

behaviour is an intrinsic component of childhood learning. As a child’s world of

experience expands, understanding is deepened.


From a very early age, children can be encouraged to enjoy books by sharing them

with adults. The six-month old child who turns the pages of a board book is beginning to behave like a reader. An adult can continue to build upon this early development by giving support and encouragement, by talking about books, reading to children and hearing them read.


Working Together

We believe that parents play a vital role in helping their child to read and more importantly, become better readers. We appreciate that parents have many commitments and often have little time, but if we work together, we can help our children become confident readers, whilst instilling in them a love of reading.


Our School Ethos:

Reading is the core of our curriculum. We teach children to be confident and fluent readers, who will have a lifelong love of books and reading. We understand that reading unlocks the world around the child and enables them to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially, spiritually and imaginatively.

We develop reading comprehension skills through exposure to a range of interesting materials, including quality classic and modern literature.

There is breadth and depth of reading across all year groups and in all subjects.



For all pupils to

  • Read fluently and confidently at and beyond age-appropriate expectations
  • Enjoy reading and develop a love of books
  • Acquire a wide vocabulary and develop an interest and love of words
  • Understand fully what they read
  • Be able to use reading independently across the curriculum
  • Monitor and self-correct their own reading
  • Understand how authors craft their writing
  • Know and understand a range of genres


Phonics is a way of teaching children how to read and write. It helps children hear, identify and use different sounds that distinguish one word from another in the English language. Written language can be compared to a code, so knowing the sounds of individual letters and how those letters sound when they are combined will help children decode words as they read.

In Year 3 and if necessary beyond, we continue to teach the children the phonetic skills they acquired in Key Stage 1 , to be able to blend words fluently with the expectation that they will develop as fluent readers as they progress through the school. For those that need it, we regularly monitor and assess phonics knowledge and skills to ensure rapid and sustained progress.



Teaching staff will endeavour to ‘match’ a child with a reading book appropriate to their reading ability. We use a Book Band system, with each band having its own colour. The chart below shows the progression of the colours. However, please note that as we encourage our children to also read for pleasure, wanting them to enjoy reading, our system was devised with this ‘thinking’ in mind. The books may be in a band due to complexity, content or age appropriateness. It may be that on occasion, a child reads a book well within his/her capabilities because he/she loves the author and is reading a different genre. A book may be ‘trickier’ than usual, as the child or teacher has opted for challenge.




Aimed at ‘lower years’ emerging readers

(mainly Y3)



Aimed at ‘lower years’ with developing competence

(mainly Y3 and Y4)





Aimed at ‘middle years’ with reasonable competence

(mainly Y4 and Y5)



Aimed at ‘upper years’ to extend competence

(mainly Y5 and Y6)



Aimed at ‘upper years’ to challenge highly competent readers

(mainly Y6)






What are Vipers? VIPERS is an acronym to aid the recall of the six reading domains cited in the National Curriculum.  They cover the key areas and skills children need to learn and understand in order to improve their comprehension of texts.

VIPERS stands for:






Sequence or Summarise


The six domains focus on the comprehension aspect of reading and not the mechanics, such as decoding and fluency. As such, VIPERS is not a reading ‘scheme’ but rather a method of ensuring that teachers ask, and students are familiar with, a range of questions.  They allow the teacher to track the type of questions asked and the children’s responses to these, culminating in focused ‘follow up’ work.


The children have been given VIPERS bookmarks to take home; these will give examples of the types of questions you can ask, if you wish to consolidate learning at home.



Reading at home

Your child will have a reading book from their class library and sometimes, two books. We often help your child select a book.  Please do not worry if a book is slightly challenging, well within capabilities, or a book which has been read before (re-reading books can build confidence as well as be enjoyable. Do not worry if your child’s reading is not word perfect. Allow them ‘time’ to read, get words ‘right’ or start sentences again, supporting if they ‘struggle’. With your help and patience, they will succeed and want to read more as a result.

If your child is a ‘reluctant’ reader, let them just ‘read’. They can choose a book from home to read to you. Encourage reading whenever there is an opportunity. Print is all around us- on labels, instructions, magazines, the TV page in the newspaper!

Don’t ‘force’ it: if your child is too tired or uncooperative, try to make it an opportunity for ‘reading time’ in a relaxed and comfortable environment.



What sort of things do I write in the reading record?

The following list is not an exhaustive list, but offers suggestions that may be appropriate. It is important to remember the enjoyment factor is always worth commenting on. Parents are not expected to comment on each of the following areas; the list is a ‘guide’.


  • How enthusiastic is your child about the choice of book?
  • Can the child remember the story so far?
  • Is there a ‘flow’ to your child’s reading. A fluent reader can read with good pace without too many mistakes.
  • Can he/she read words out of context eg: when you point to a word without reading the whole sentence?
  • Is your child confident to attempt ‘new’ words?
  • What strategies is your child using to read ‘tricky’ words, eg: using the context, breaking a word down into parts (known as ‘segmenting’)?
  • Is there a pattern to ‘mistakes’, such as struggling with words containing the grapheme ‘igh’?
  • Does your child recognise mistakes and self-correct?
  • Is the child aware of punctuation when reading, eg: pausing at a comma?
  • Is your child reading with expression?
  • How long is your child able to sustain reading?



We hope that reading with your child is a positive experience. As children become strong, competent readers, they will feel ‘safe’ with reading and the ‘educational side’ of reading will fade away.

Please liaise with your child’s teacher if you have any queries or just want to ‘talk’ books or ask for ideas.

If we work as a team, we strongly believe that our children will become confident readers, better able to access the whole curriculum and hopefully, keen to just pick up a book to enjoy. Reading is not just a vital part of life- it can be fun!










Bridge Academy Trust is a charitable company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales with company number 07663795. Registered Office: Community Building, Bridge Academy Trust, Brian Close, Chelmsford, Essex, CM2 9DZ.

Tel: 01245 202 937

Email: [email protected]