Harpur Hill Primary School

Trent Avenue, Buxton, Derbyshire SK17 9LP

01298 23261



At Harpur Hill Primary School, we want children to develop a love of reading.  

We have a structured approach to the teaching of reading which aims to develop confident readers who enjoy reading a wide range of texts. 

In the early stages, phonics is taught to help children develop decoding skills so that they can quickly learn to read books independently. Phonics is taught using Letters & Sounds. Children are grouped according to their ability to ensure that learning and progression is at an appropriate level. Phonics is taught through a mixture of interactive games, puzzles, reading, rhymes, actions, letter formation & writing.  

Alongside the teaching of phonics, we share books across school as a class, in groups and individually. We work with children to develop their understanding of texts through guided reading and whole class comprehension activities and have recently introduced 'Reading Vipers' to focus on the key areas of comprehension. All year groups visit the school library and we encourage pupils to take school library books home alongside individual reading books. 

Children are supported across school to develop their reading skills and the level of support given depends on the needs of each child. We use programmes such as Oxford Reading Tree, Collins Big Cat and Project X and inference reading support groups in KS2. Children are also supported by our volunteer parents, who regularly come into school. 

Parental support is crucial in the development of a child's reading ability. We love to read your comments in reading diaries. These pages will give you ideas as to how you can support your child at home.  

Book Bands

Book Banding has now become established in school. We have bought many new books and introduced new schemes, such as Collins Big Cat, which are proving popular. Children who are reading up to Grey in the Book Bands will have advice on how to support your child when hearing them read, this is either in their reading records or on a book mark.

We would like to remind you that although teachers try to hear the children read regularly in class, we still need you to help support your child by reading regularly at home for approximately ten minutes each night for Reception to Year 4 and twenty minutes for Years 5 and 6. We use VIPERS reading strategies in class to help children understand what they are reading – for more information on VIPERS, please see below.

These skills are helping the children to have a deeper understanding of what they are reading and as they become more familiar, the children should be able to use these strategies in their independent reading too.

As a parent, you can ask questions about the story that your child is reading and this will help to build on the children’s skills. 

Reading Vipers 

At Harpur Hill Primary School, we have taken a new approach to developing reading across school.  We have launched the Literacy Shed's 'Reading Vipers' in our whole class and small group teaching. The Reading Vipers approach will help develop key comprehension skills which will enable us to become successful readers.  Each of the letters stand for one of the key areas of learning:

V - vocabulary

I - infer

P - predict

E - explain

R - retrieve

S - sequence (KS1) summarise (KS2)

Below is a link to the Literacy Shed website where there is a set of example comprehension questions that can be used when reading with your child at home.