Harpur Hill Primary School & Nursery

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How do we teach reading?

At Harpur Hill Primary School, we have a variety of strategies that we use to teach reading.  

Listed below are the schemes and strategies that we use. 






Word Recognition Skills 

Phonic sessions – tricky words displayed around the class. Children go on word hunts and play word bingo. Tricky words and sounds are on flashcards – these are sent home. Tricky words and sounds are practised during transitions (line up time / before lunch etc)  Phonics lessons – start of day activity. CEW activities / games (eg bingo) English lessons ( eg hunting for particular words) Wordsearches (linked to CEW / Topic words)  Common exception words – cloze procedures. Star words Words mats / word pyramids Working walls Specific words eg adverbs (prompts) Spelling investigations  VIPERS  Star words Words mats / word pyramids Working walls Specific words eg adverbs (prompts) Spelling investigations. 


Daily morning reading activities and phonics. Reading schemes – eg Collins Big Cat. 1 x weekly flashcards with TA Story of the week. Daily story time  Daily (English, Phonics, Storytime) Sometimes more than one session a day. Reading Schemes – eg Collins Big Cat.  Daily eg VIPERS in English and other subjects. Reading Explorers. Homework weekly.  VIPERS lessons daily. Homework weekly Reading Buddies  Rewards and praise Variety of reading material given. 


Revisit and review in phonics sessions Repetition of tricky words / sounds in phonics.  Revisit and review in phonics lessons. Daily / weekly readers.  Reading aloud Reading explorers 3 x weekly 60 second reads Reading buddies 1:1 with an adult. Y3 / Y6 reading buddies Y4 mixed ability buddies Drama / Poetry expression and intonation.  Reading Explorers 3 x weekly. Regular reading sessions. Timed reads (60 second reads / SATs practise) Reading Buddies – Y3 / Y6 1: 1 with an adult. Reading aloud. 


1:1 reading Shared reading Group reading sessions  English lessons Shared reading time (VIPERS) Class story (discussion around this)  VIPERS English lessons Maths: reading and problem solving. Topic: evidence of how we know about the Stone Age for example.  VIPERS lessons Reading Explorers English Lessons Inference group – Y6 intervention Using pictures for inference in History, Art and Science. PEE in comprehension lessons. 


1:1 reading Phonics practise and apply Daily readers.  Phonics (practise and apply) Daily / weekly readers (where possible)  60 second reads Ambitious book choices Build on Y2 reading skills.  Quiet reading Reading at home Tests and test technique. SATs reading test practise. SAT Buster books – Y6 revision 

Background Knowledge 

Following children’s interests Traditional tale topic / focus Linking to experiences Story structures and story lines.  Links to experiences or other books Predictions when looking at cover and discussions around this.  Homework Explanations from the teacher. Mutual sharing of knowledge.  Discussion in lessons Vocabulary VIPERS lessons – discussions. Using video and pictures. 

Reading for Pleasure 

Daily story – children’s choice. Reading area Continuous provision has a range of texts. Reception library Bronze, silver and gold awards.  Book corners Daily storytime Y1 take a book home with Jen the giraffe. Spring Term reading challenge.  Class novel Individual reading books. Comments in reading books Reading corners Spring Term – reading challenge. Nurture a love of books Use of the library  Praise and reward charts. Discussion of favourite books and recommendations.   Reading aloud in lessons. Reading Buddies Class novel Reading corners Spring Term Reading challenge. Nurture a love of books. Use of the library. 

Test Skills. 

Phonics screening test. Real and nonsense word games.  SATs practise Phonics screening  Classroom secrets Question type – practise in class. Having a go! PIRA reading test - termly  PEE Speed and stamina Self-regulating timed tasks. Reading and understanding the questions. PIRA reading test SATS papers practise SAT Buster revision books in Y6