Clifton C of E Primary School

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Clifton C of E Primary School

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Our Reading Intent


At Clifton CE Primary School, we believe that the teaching of reading takes children around the world, allowing them to access a full broad and balanced curriculum. It is integral to a child’s understanding and appreciation; a vehicle that allows our children to see beyond what they know, share in cultural experiences and develop the vocabulary they need to express themselves.


Our reading curriculum ensures pupils develop a lifelong love of reading for pleasure.  We want to create positive reading behaviours, so all pupils read frequently and widely; whilst questioning, challenging and debating what they read.


Our ambition is for every child at Clifton CE Primary School to become a reader through a high-quality synthetic phonics curriculum; striving to ensure every child 'Keeps up' rather than 'Catches up' as early reading skills are taught. This is then supported through a linked approach to shared guided and whole class reading, home reading, reading across the curriculum, regular opportunities for independent reading and hearing quality texts read aloud every day. Combined, these strategies offer a variety of opportunities to develop fluent, enthusiastic and critical readers. 


It is important that children are motivated to read at home regularly; when their reading opportunities increase, so does their fluency and stamina which in turn increases their enjoyment of reading. Our pupils are expected to read regularly throughout the week, at school as well as at home.  Pupils will have access to a well-matched book that reflects their current phonetical and reading skill level, in addition to a 'Love for Reading Book' choice from the school's library.


Reading is at the very heart of our curriculum. We are committed to promoting a love for reading and not only giving children opportunities to read in English lessons, but in the wider curriculum too. Reading is blended through and across the curriculum.  





Learning to read is one of the most important things your child will ever learn. It underpins everything else, so we put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible. We also want your child to develop a real love of reading and to want to read for themselves. This is why we work hard to make sure children develop a love of books as well as simply learning to read.


A Strong Synthetic Phonics Programme

Synthetic phonics is the process of sounding out the individual sounds in an unknown word and then blending these sounds together in order to read the word.  The scheme teaches the sounds in an order which allows them to quickly begin to put sounds together to read words. For example, many words can be created from the letters SATPIN, whereas very few could be built using the initial letters of the alphabet ABCDE.


We start by teaching phonics in the first weeks of Reception and follow the accredited synthetic phonics approach: Jolly Phonics. For more information, please visit:


Teachers carefully adapt their planning to meet the needs of the children within their class and individual assessments will inform the rate at which the children are able to progress through the stages; adapting the pace accordingly. We offer 'closing the gap interventions' immediately if required.


Discreet phonic sessions, guided reading or VIPER Time sessions take place daily for 30 minutes across the school.

Each half term, the pupils' assessments will be used to plan the next steps in learning to ensure all pupils 'Keep up' and no pupils have to 'Catch up'.

In June each year, children in Year 1 children take part in the national phonics screening check. 


Reception Phonics

In the Reception Class, we will learn all 42 letter sounds and some alternatives. At this stage, the children are also becoming more confident with segmenting and blending sounds to read whole words. 

In the Reception class, children are also taught words with 4 and 5 sounds in them and alternate ways to read and write different sounds. Assessments take place every half term to ensure pupils are retaining their learning and building fluency and automaticity (automatic reading skills) to ensure confident readers.  


Year 1 and Year 2 Phonics

The same approach as Reception continues into Year 1 and 2 to offer a consistent approach.

The children learn to read and write a range of graphemes and alternate graphemes. Alongside this, the children are taught the ‘tricky words’ and other common exception words which do not follow the regular phonetic pattern and are an exception to the phonetic code. 

Your child will work closely with children who are at the same phonic and/or reading level to ensure fluency and automaticity. This is so that the teaching can be focused on their needs.

In Key Stage 1 reading books link to the phonics children have learnt and provide children with the opportunity to use the decoding and segmenting skills. Reading books are carefully checked to ensure they are phonetically decodable. 


Year 3 to Year 6 Phonics

If pupils are not where we expect in reading, due to poor decoding or fluency, then the teaching of synthetic phonics continue. This approach ensures that the gaps pupils have in learning are rapidly closed to allow them to become confident, fluent readers to further develop their comprehension skills.


Finally, for children who are phonetically secure, from Year 3 upwards we use Accelerated Reader (AR), which is a computer program that helps teachers manage and monitor children’s independent reading practice. Children join Accelerated Reader during Year 3, once they are ready and able to complete Star Reader tests independently. Star Reader tests are taken half termly; providing the teacher with a Reading Age for each pupil, and the child with a ZPD range for them to use to pick books at their own level.


When pupils finish a book, they take a short quiz on the computer.  Passing the quiz is an indication they have understood what has been read.  Staff are able to closely monitor this process to ensure all pupils are still reading regularly and with good understanding.


Highly Engaging Texts

At Clifton CE Primary School we ensure we use high quality texts both in Reading, Writing and across the broader curriculum. These texts allow different genres to be explored, current global events to be discussed and develops cultural capital through inspirational key people in society. Key authors will also be covered. 



Teachers regularly read everyday with children, so pupils get to know and love all sorts of stories, poetry and information books from different themes.

  • In Classes 1 and 2, story time is daily using the ‘Six Stories to Help Us Grow’ approach. These are books that are read repeatedly to the children, so they begin to learn stories from memory and can comprehend verbally the reading domains.
  • In Classes 3 and 4, story time is daily. This is the reading of their class novel, to ensure longer texts are read in their entirety and to support authors craft. This is in addition to other high-quality texts that complement children’s learning.

This is in addition to the books that they bring home. This helps to extend children’s vocabulary and comprehension, as well as supporting their writing. At Clifton CE Primary School, vocabulary and language development is at the heart of all we do.


All classrooms have attractive displays of books where the children can access a small group of appropriate books, both fiction and non-fiction to help embed their love of books, stories and reading.

Our Library is a calm, inviting space used by all classes and different groups at different times of the day. 


Word Recognition and Vocabulary

At Clifton CE Primary School, key vocabulary is planned for in all subjects, across the entire curriculum. This is to ensure pupils understand the key concepts before deepening their understanding. From Reception to Year 6, vocabulary is present in all learning activities, and this is repeated and recapped through spaced repetition to check pupils understand and can apply this language and vocabulary to new concepts. 


Reading Skills (Domains of the National Curriculum)

At Clifton Primary School, we timetable focused reading skill lessons daily from Reception to Year 6. We use VIPERS as the approach to teach the reading domains (Vocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Explain, Retrieve and Summarise). 


In Reception, Year 1 and the start of Year 2 reading skills are taught through the Phonics into Reading lessons. This allows pupils to access well-matched books to the current phonemes (sounds) and graphemes (letters) being taught. At the beginning of the week these books will be challenging but over the week they will become more fluent and verbal comprehension will be explored in line with the VIPERS approach of questioning. We have clear progression of VIPERS questions and skills linked to the reading domains. Click here to find out more: Literacy Shed Plus - Literacy Shed Plus - Teaching Resources Made Easy


We have spaces in some year groups. If you would like to visit the school please phone 01335 342473.