English Reading

In EYFS and KS1, we teach a four-part phonics session every day based on Letters and Sounds. We build up pupil fluency through 1:1, group and whole class sessions, before focussing on comprehension and inference skills. We use a range of decodeable reading materials to teach early reading, including Oxford Reading Tree, Rising Stars, Comics for Phonics, and Decodeables.

In KS2, we operate a VIPERS approach to the teaching of reading. This approach is based on a class novel and focusses on the keys skills including:

  • Vocabulary
  • Inference
  • Prediction
  • Explanation
  • Retrieval
  • Summary

Here at Holy Rosary CVA, we fully recognise and appreciate that language acquisition is key to our children accessing the curriculum successfully. We prioritise reading and phonics to ensure that all of our children make at least the expected progress.

We are passionate about reading for pleasure and strive to instil a genuine love of reading in all of our pupils. Our community library is stocked with donations of the highest-quality texts; Reading Ambassadors in Y6 are trained to run the library, supporting children across all phases to access age-appropriate texts that they will love.

Early Reading and Phonics

Phonics is taught daily in EYFS, Year 1 and 2.  Children across EYFS and KS1 are streamed. We use the Phonics Pathway to ensure our children receive a targeted and structured approach to phonics.  After teaching focused on phoneme-grapheme correspondence and reading the word, the children apply their knowledge to their writing, through sentence work.

Our children are provided with the necessary skills to be able to read real and ‘nonsense’ words, which is a requirement for the Phonics Screening Check (PSC). The PSC is normally carried out in June, in Year One and children who did not pass the check get the opportunity to retake the test the following year.

Phonics is assessed termly and tracked in EYFS and KS1 using Phonics Tracker, which identifies children who are on target, and those who require further support through targeted interventions with highly-trained support staff. Phonics teaching also occurs in LKS2 to support children who did not pass their Phonics Screening Check in KS1. Children in Y2 also access our VIPERS reading process:

  • Vocabulary
  • Infer
  • Predict
  • Explain
  • Retrieve
  • Sequence

This approach allows them to access high-quality texts that develop their fluency and reading comprehension, deepening their understanding of a wide range of texts, as well as broadening their vocabulary.

The children in EYFS and KS1 are read to and heard reading daily and are provided with decodable texts aligned to their phonic knowledge to read at home, as well as having access to a wide range of reading for pleasure texts in school.

KS2 Reading

The curriculum is broad and balanced and has been carefully designed to ensure the children are exposed to high-quality texts that are inclusive and diverse, reflecting our school and wider community. Reading in KS2 is taught daily using our VIPERS approach.

Vocabulary is a high priority at Holy Rosary CVA and teachers use a wide range of strategies and resources to ensure that pupils learn subject-specific (tier 3) vocabulary across the curriculum.


VIPERS skills are taught in every Monday RE session and focus around scripture, religious images and other religious sources, which allows children to deepen their understanding of the Bible and their faith. Pupils are given opportunities to extend their understanding through carefully selected ‘Explain’ questions.

Tuesday – Friday

VIPERS sessions are taught during the Reading and GPS session, prior to writing. The curriculum is mapped out to ensure that the texts are closely linked to the driver topic for that half term, wherever possible. Teachers model high standards of reading: reading fluently to the pupils and demonstrating accuracy, automaticity and prosody (expression).

Insight Tracker is used to assess the children’s progress against the National Curriculum objectives for reading and is updated weekly to ensure all children are fully supported to access the curriculum and deepen their knowledge and understanding.

Reading for Pleasure

All pupils at Holy Rosary CVA are actively encouraged to embrace reading for pleasure and are able to access our Community Library both remotely and in school thanks to our Libresoft Library System. Children can browse and reserve texts online and these are delivered to them by the Reading Ambassadors. Children are provided with daily opportunities to read their choice of text in class, purely for their own enjoyment.

At home, pupils from the early years to Y6 are expected to read daily for at least and they can record their reading journey in their Holy Rosary Reading Records.

We understand the importance of reading in the writing process, and have therefore mapped our high-quality reading texts to support our writing lessons in each unit. This not only supports pupils’ writing but enhances their Cultural Capital and broader schema by linking to the driver for each half term. By applying aspects of cognitive load theory, our approach ensures knowledge and vocabulary sticks in pupils’ long term memory.

We provide opportunities for Oracy in all lessons, allowing children to see the importance of this skill, not just in supporting their writing but also their character.

Within a writing lesson, children are given the opportunity to learn through a three-part approach.

The first part – ‘initiate’.

This is where the children are exposed to high quality texts, different forms of media, a sound, picture or video. During this stage, pupils are immersed in contextual vocabulary. It is an opportunity for vocabulary to be ‘rinsed out,’ evaluated and compared.

The next part – ‘model’.

This is the bridge between the initiate and the enable stage. It is here where quality 1st teaching will be seen. Strong modelling of accurate sentences that are rich with vocabulary.

The final part – ‘enable’.

Children should be ready to write their own sentence and/or paragraph. They will be able to use the teacher model and other scaffolds available to them, such as but not limited to the working wall, the interactive white board, sentence starters, spelling mats, word class mats and Sentifix.

Learning objectives are sequenced, allowing children to build on prior learning to successfully achieve new learning. We remain on objectives until at least 80% of learners have developed a secure understanding.

Opportunities for retrieval practice are present in lessons, and teachers have a solid understanding of prior learning of their pupils.

Knowledge Organisers are used in Writing lessons and are beginning to have impact on learning. These provide children with the key core vocabulary and examples of their focused objectives. They also display a WAGOLL – what a good one looks like – for the writing genre, so all pupils can see the features that make a good piece.

We create strong home school partnerships with parents and guardians, which enables parents to know what children are learning. Our subscriptions to online learning platforms, such as Century, Spelling Shed and Nessy allow home assignments to be set as homework.

At Holy Rosary our aim is for the children to love writing; to be passionate about writing and to be proud of what they have written. We believe that a quality English Curriculum, which follows the National Curriculum, should develop the children’s love of reading, writing and Oracy.

The knowledge, skills and vocabulary learned in writing will set a child up to be lifelong learners who are able to express their thoughts, ideas and creativity. One of the ways we do this is by immersing pupils in stories and high quality texts which will enhance their writing. We recognise the importance of nurturing a culture where children take pride in their writing, can write clearly and accurately and adapt their language and style for a range of contexts. We aim to inspire children to be confident in the art of speaking and listening and who can use discussion to communicate and further their learning. We believe that all children should be given time to edit and improve their own work, building on their resilience and their stamina.

At Holy Rosary we believe that all children should be able to express their ideas through writing. We want pupils to acquire a good knowledge of vocabulary, a secure and strong understanding of grammar and the use of punctuation. The approach that we use at Holy Rosary allows for rich language discussions to take place in every classroom. We recognise the importance of having deep and developed vocabulary, as it improves all areas of communication – listening, speaking, reading and writing. We aim for all children to be able to spell new words correctly by applying their knowledge of learned spelling rules.

Further details about how we model and teach handwriting can be found here:

Holy Rosary Handwriting Booklet