'Through reading, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know.'
The majority of our children join our school as able readers and leave with high academic outcomes at the end of Key Stage 2. We liaise closely with our federated infant school to ensure progression from key stage one to the end of key stage 2. Reading is an absolute priority of the school as we know that when children have fluency and comprehension they are able to fully access our rich and broad curriculum. We have a holistic approach to ensure that reading weaves through all areas of the curriculum to widen imaginations, ignite curiosity and enable children to make greater links across the curriculum.
Our curriculum design has been created from an action research project into reading; visiting several geographically diverse schools and considering commercial schemes. As a result of our research, we created the Boldmere reading curriculum, which has at its core the National Curriculum, but is then enhanced by our own unique structure, delivery and curriculum planning. It is designed to challenge and be flexible, to meet children’s changing interests and needs. Reading and writing, as core skills, are closely intertwined within the whole school curriculum. We understand that dysfluency in reading limits children’s ability to acquire the complex skills of reading. Therefore, we have a robust progression map of knowledge, skills and understanding, from year one to year 6. This identifies and builds on prior learning and transferable skills.
Novels and texts are deliberately selected to engage, challenge, address the needs of our children and broaden their understanding of the wider world of reading. We recognise that a rich vocabulary is acquired through reading and put great importance on all children accessing a wealth of literature.
In light of COVID-19, and in line with the in-school ongoing assess, plan, do, review cycle, the teaching of reading at Boldmere has evolved. Oracy-based ‘Book Talk’ sessions, (evidence based), are taught 3 times per week to: ensure children read, re-read and hear an adult read; develop speaking and listening skills; increase reading stamina and fluency; analyse texts at a deep level and increase the use of both spoken and written higher-level vocabulary.
We want children to read for the love of it.
Whatever walk of life our children choose after Boldmere Junior School, we want them to have developed a love of language, reading and writing which will underpin any path that they may choose in the future.
At Boldmere Junior School we aim to encourage positive attitudes to reading in order to foster a lifelong love of books. Children are given opportunities to listen and respond to class novels chosen by teachers as well as experiencing a wide range of texts in all areas of the curriculum.
What does Reading look like at Boldmere?
Reading is a high priority. Just because we are a Junior School, doesn't mean we don't hear children read! In fact, every teacher hears every child in their class read on a two-weekly cycle. Children are taught in whole class reading sessions, using high quality, challenging texts with the aim of expanding pupils' vocabulary and deepening their understanding and also using a Book Talk approach, which we have adapted to suit the needs of our children.
Book Talk Lessons
Along with our VIPERS reading lessons, we have introduced an additinoal approach to the teaching of reading across the Junior School, using Jane Considine's 'Hooked on Books' approach.
Children take part in regular Book Talk sessions where they read out loud, from a variety of texts, with a group of their peers. Children use the 'Reading Rainbow' to read and respond to texts through different lenses within 3 different zones of reading: The Fantastics, The Stylistics and The Analytics. Book Talk is key to developing oracy skills. Children collaborate in pairs or groups using sentence stems and high utility (tier 2) words to develop a Book Talk response.
Here are some examples of children engrossed in Book Talk lessons:
In the children's books, you might see the acronym VIPERS - these are the key areas that children need to know and understand in order to improve their comprehension of texts.
What does this acronym mean?
V is for Vocabulary
When you answer questions linked to ‘V’, you will need to give and explain the meaning of words in context
I is for Infer
When you answer questions linked to ‘I’, you will make inferences (informed guesses) from the text and you will explain/justify using evidence.
P is for Predict
When you answer questions linked to ‘P’, you will predict what might happen from details stated and implied
E is for Explain
When you answer questions linked to ‘E’, you will identify and explain how the meaning is enhanced by the author’s choice of words and phrases. You will make comparisons within the text.
R is for Retrieve
When you answer questions linked to ‘R’, you will find and record key information/key details from fiction and non-fiction.
S is for Summarise
When you answer questions linked to ‘S’, you will summarise the main ideas from more than one paragraph.
Here is an example of how children have accessed VIPERS in a lesson:
VIPERS Progression Map
The Boldmere Junior School reading curriculum has the National Curriculum at its core and is enhanced by our own, unique structure. Teachers use our school-developed VIPERS progression map to support planning, assessment and curriculum development.
To be secure readers for their year group, we assess children’s reading fluency, as well as their comprehension skills. By the end of Key Stage 2, the expectation is that children will be able to read between 90 and 120 words per minute at an age-appropriate text level.
At the Junior School, we have developed a reading spine of core texts for each year group in Key Stage 2. The texts chosen are progressive in terms of challenge and content. The 'spine' details: the class novel, which is read daily to the children; a wider curriculum text, which links to the topic and other subjects from the curriculum and a poetry/picture book/Shakespeare text to be studied. Each year group also has 'recommended reads' which are given to children at the start of the year (found at thereaderteacher.com). Teachers also have a range of further fiction, non fiction, poetry and picture books and songs, which teachers can dip into to aid further study, comparisons and enjoyment of reading. These lists are updated regularly to ensure that we are providing children with a range of relevant, up to date texts, along with the classics.
Classroom Libraries and the School Library
Each class has its own classroom library and all children have access to our extensive school library. The rich variety of books available enables the children to access a wide range of texts including: novels, poetry, newspapers, comics, graphic novels, talking books, dual-language books, dyslexia-friendly books and non-fiction texts. Children have regular access to the library and they are encouraged to take care and respect the books.
In our library, we use a reading system called Accelerated Reader. Children will bring books home linked to their reading 'number' that they achieve in half termly online STAR reading tests. For more information see:
To inspire future readers, all classes enjoy regularly using our well-stocked school library. In fact, some children love to read whenever they get the opportunity!
Developing a Love for Reading
Teachers are always looking for ways to develop a love of reading in children at Boldmere.
Last term, every year group had an online visit from an author
It's even better when we get replies on Twitter!
Thanks again for inviting me to Zoom in and meet you all. It was fun!
All children have time to enjoy reading in class.
Inspiring Reading at Home
Some of our children have recreated their favourite books with their family members. Can you guess the book?
Children enjoyed redesigning the front covers to the books we read in school. Here is Lamisah's design for 'Land of Roar' and look at the reply, from the author, she received after we tweeted her image.
Junior Book Club (lockdown)
Don’t forget that you can watch some of your teachers reading class novels three times a week. Check your parent mail for the logins to our reading YouTube channel. Mrs Eccles is reading Matilda. Miss Pipkin is reading The Creakers. Mrs Mutch is reading Malamander. Mr Hill is reading The Explorer. Mr Uppal is reading Harry Potter. Mr Roberts and Mrs Welch are reading a variety of children’s bedtime stories and Ms Keight is reading Mr Stink and Holes.
Readon.myon website to use at home
To enhance opportunities for reading at home, your child can access a variety of ebooks via Please use your child's log in details to access the site. Enjoy! Homework may also be set on Myon by your child's classteacher.
Strategies to support reading at home
Read, read and read some more! Encourage your child to take responsibility for their own reading.
Frequent reading – daily for 10 minutes
- Read independently
- Read to an adult
- Read to a sibling, friend or pet
- Read out loud and record this on a voice recorder (found on most smart phones, I pads etc). Listen back and read this again correcting any errors made or adding intonation
- Read your Accelerated Reader book. Read a comic. Read a newspaper. Read a non-fiction book
Reading around/past the word
If a child is struggling to decode or recognise a word within a text, encourage them to read past the word to the end of the sentence to see if this helps put the word in context – then come back and re-read the word using this knowledge.
60 second reads
- Ask child to select a section for their own books and count the number of words on each line (record at the end in pencil) and in total (record at the end of the section)
- Start 1minute timer, and ask child to start reading until the timer stops. Note down which line and word number they got up to and record their first score
- Start 1minute timer again and repeat the activity to try and improve the number of words read (this should improve as the text will be repeated)
- Repeat this activity over a number of days or weeks revisiting the same text after a while to improve score and develop confidence
- Choose a paragraph of an age appropriate text
- An adult/confident reader reads one line/sentence out loud
- Child practises fluency by echoing this (repeating the same line)
- Complete for the whole paragraph
- Swap roles and the child leads this reading
Please use these resources to support your reading at home and develop your love of reading!
Are you stuck and can't choose which book to read next? Have you not found your favourite book yet? Click on the link below (for Chicken House Books) to look at new releases and read the first chapter. If you like what you read, you could order it or see if it's in the school library. If it isn't, perhaps you could make a recommendation and the school might be able to buy it!
Play these fun games to develop your reading. You can tick off the story, text type or author you have read about. This will help you to read a range of books so you can see which author is your favourite!
Download this activity here: Book Bingo - Stories
Download this activity here: Book Bingo - Authors
Download this activity here: Book Bingo - Text Types