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At St Leonard's our Christian faith and values form the basis of everything we do. We are 'growing and learning together with God's love'. We are ambitious for all of our pupils and are committed to providing an inclusive education for all, enabling each child to learn and develop the skills and knowledge they need to flourish.





At St Leonard's we believe that ability to read is fundamental to our children succeeding; enabling them to access the next stage of their education and beyond. The skill of reading underpins everything that is taught and opens the door not only to learning across the curriculum but to many other opportunities in the wider world. We want our children to want to read; to want to become better readers and to know that reading can be a pleasure as well as opening doors to new knowledge. We want our children to experience the feeling of “escaping into a good book”. 


We want reading opportunities across our school to be ambitious for all of our children and we ensure that our disadvantaged and SEND children have the same opportunities to experience books and other texts that all other children have.


We want all of our children to have the skills to decode words in order to be able to read fluently with understanding of what they have read.

We want reading to support our children to gain knowledge across the curriculum.

We intend to teach carefully planned lessons to support the children’s comprehension skills.

We intend to make our school a language rich environment with vocabulary rich reading material and good quality texts for the children to choose from.

We hope to promote confidence and positive attitudes to reading. 




Reading is an important part of our curriculum and is an integral part of all of our lessons. At St Leonard's we teach reading through:

  • Teachers regularly reading to the whole class. They effectively model a love of reading by sharing high quality and inspiring texts with pupils.  Teachers will pause regularly and ask questions designed to prompt the children to think about what they are hearing.
  • Maximising opportunities for pupils to read/enjoy texts within other areas of the curriculum. These lessons focus on the teaching of reading whilst increasing the pupils’ knowledge and understanding of the topics being taught in History and Geography etc.
  • Encouraging independent reading in class.
  • Read Write Inc phonics lessons, Guided/Shared reading lessons and VIPERS reading lessons. 
  • Teaching library skills in all classes and giving children opportunities to use our well stocked library in the foyer of the school.



We have high expectations for reading outside of school and celebrate success through our reading reward scheme 'Have you read at home 3 times this week?' 


We encourage a love of reading by taking part in national and local reading celebrations e.g. World Book Day and the Library Service Summer Reading Challenge.


In EYFS Reading is taught through shared reading, using large print books and picture books. Pupils are taught the process of reading; learning that words and pictures have meaning. Through a range of practical activities children learn familiar stories. Pupils explore skills such as sequencing, prediction and retrieval. Children learn to confidently blend and segment the Read, Write Inc. phonics set 1 sounds. They begin to read using 'ditties'.


In Key Stage 1, we use Read, Write Inc. for our phonics programme. Phonic awareness helps the development of reading by segmenting and blending sounds. The children will be heard reading individually and in groups using the RWI scheme until this is complete. Moving forward pupils explore vocabulary, prediction, sequencing, making inferences and retrieving information using VIPERS.


In Guided Reading lessons in Key Stage 1 pupils read from a range of storybooks and non-fiction books matched to their phonic knowledge, following the Read Write Inc scheme. We teach our youngest pupils to read by using these resources, to read together in group or in whole class activities. Pupils take turns in talking and reading to each other. 



Our RWI book bag read at home books are closely matched to our RWI phonics reading scheme. Once pupils have completed the Read Write Inc reading scheme and have achieved the expected standard at phonics screening we use a variety of reading schemes to further their reading skills including Oxford reading tree, Ginn and Rigby star. From this point we have a clear reading progression system that runs through the school and pupils are assessed half termly on their reading level to ensure that they are reading the most appropriate books. Teachers talk to the children regularly about their strengths and areas of development, and communicate with parents via children's reading records. Reluctant readers, or those pupils who struggle with reading continue to follow the RWI reading programme every day to ensure that they make expected progress.


In Key Stage 2, we teach reading through a whole class approach focusing on the curriculum domains. We use VIPERS to ensure consistency across the Key Stage. Pupils explore vocabulary, prediction, sequencing, making inferences and retrieving information, ensuring that they are able to make justified responses using evidence from the text. Pupils explore a wide range of high quality fiction and non-fiction texts in their lessons, which are based around age appropriate texts linked to the topic being studied.


Guided Reading and Reading Comprehension:


Our children are taught the skills of reading comprehension through the use of VIPERS activities. 


Reading VIPERS activities are used in both Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 with a little adaptation. At Key Stage 1 the S = Sequence and at Key Stage 2 the S = Summarise. At Key Stage 1 'Explain' is not one of the content domains, rather it asks children why they have come to a certain conclusion, to explain their preferences, thoughts and opinions about a text.  




In Key Stage 1 children's reading skills are taught and practised using the VIPERS during whole class reading sessions and within English lessons. The key skills taught are:


Key Stage 1 Content Domain ReferenceVIPER
Draw on knowledge of vocabulary to understand textsVocabulary
Identify/Explain key aspects of fiction and non-fiction, such as characters, events, titles and informationRetrieve
Identify and explain the sequences of events in textsSequence
Make inferences from textsInfer
Predict what might happen on the basis of what has been read so farPredict


In Key Stage 2 reading skills are taught and practised during whole class reading sessions. The key skills taught are:


Key Stage 2 Content Domain ReferenceVIPER
Give/explain the meaning of words in contextVocabulary
Retrieve and record information/identify key details from fiction and non-fictionRetrieve
Summarise main ideas from more than one paragraphSummarise
Make inferences from the text- Explain and justify inferences with evidence from the textInference
Predict what might happen from details stated or impliedPredict
Identify/explain how information/narrative content is related and contributes to meaning as a wholeExplain
Identify/explain how meaning is enhanced through choice of words and phrasesExplain
Make comparisons within a textExplain


Key Stage 2 VIPERS Lesson Structure


VIPERS whole class reading lessons take place 3 x a week for 30-45 minutes. These are separate to but may complement English lessons. During a typical session the teacher will share what the 2 content domains are that the children will be focusing on for that session. 


Teachers carefully select up to 4 key vocabulary words that they want the children to learn that week, these will be taught, over learnt and embedded throughout the rest of the week to allow the children to use these words in different contexts. 


Children access a wide range of texts, fiction, no-fiction and poetry which are often cross curricular in theme, appropriate to the age and stage that they are working at. 


Children read during these sessions in a variety of different ways. They may hear the teacher model fluent reading and then have time to re-read the same extract themselves, they may read individually and feedback, work in groups, take turns in pairs or read aloud to their peers. A number of these strategies are used during one session. 


Children are encouraged to orally speak the answer before writing anything down, acknowledging their first answer may not always be their best. We use a maximum of 5 questions each session to ensure that children are given time to provide quality answers. At times children are given sentence stems and vocabulary that they will be expected to use within their answer. 


Children are encouraged to provide evidence for their answer based on a text extract or a picture they have seen in the book. Where appropriate children are encouraged to use evidence from a range of places within the text. 


Recording and Assessment during VIPERS lessons


We encourage children to orally talk through their answers and ensure it is the best they can give before writing anything down. We also acknowledge it is good for children to also be able to formally record an answer. Children can do this in a variety of ways such as discussing the answer first with peers and/or an adult and then writing their best answer, working individually and then editing their answer accordingly after discussion, or orally discussing 1 or 2 of the questions and writing down the others working individually. Some children may receive the support of a scribe or a computer to record answers, others may work in a group to write answers on a whiteboard. 


Teachers will focus on specific children during the lesson, this may mean hearing them read individually whilst others are reading independently, in pairs or groups, discussing answers with those children and working one to one or within a group with them during a session whilst the others form an answer independently. Teachers can then assess these children based on NC expectations and how they are performing relating to the specific content domains. 





Through the teaching of systematic phonics, our aim is for children to become fluent readers by the end of Key Stage One. This way, children can focus on developing their fluency and comprehension as they move through the school.


Pupils in reception and year 1 are assessed at least termly on their progress through the phonics scheme. 


Frequent formative assessments take place against the VIPERS domains and the common exception words (NC 2014) to ensure that pupils continue to make progress in reading once they have completed the phonics scheme. 


Summative attainment in reading is measured using a range of statutory assessments at the end of Key Stage One and Two. These results are measured against the reading attainment of children nationally.



• Phonics Screening Test at the end of Year 1.

• Half termly checks to ensure that progress is being made and intervention is planned for those pupils who need additional support.



The school measures impact through:

  • Herts for Learning teacher assessment frameworks and VIPERS reading assessments
  • Half termly Read Write Inc. assessments to ensure pupils are on the correct Book Bag book
  • Previous SATs papers in year 2 
  • NFER assessments year 3-4
  • Pupil Voice to assess learning
  • National Curriculum common exception word assessments








At St Leonard's we believe that ability to write is fundamental to our children succeeding; enabling them to access the next stage of their education and beyond. Our curriculum has been designed to ensure that pupils enjoy and take pride in their writing and have passion and enthusiasm for it.


Our aim is to ensure that pupils write clearly, accurately and coherently; write in different styles and for different purposes and audiences; develop a wide vocabulary and a solid understanding of the grammar rules and terminology appropriate for their age group. 




Writing is an important part of our curriculum and is an integral part of all of our lessons.


At St Leonards we teach writing by:


Ensuring each writing unit is planned in accordance with the national curriculum objectives using the Herts for Learning writing planning frameworks and assessment materials to support.


Where possible linking writing units to the topic, so that children can benefit from the links and deepen their understanding.


Where possible using ICT to improve children’s communication skills and to give a different platform to present / perform their work.


Carefully mapping the progression of writing skills throughout the year to ensure coverage of a variety of genres.  Grammar and punctuation rules are taught both discretely and as part of English sequences of work to fit to the writing genre. In the long-term plan, teachers carefully match the national curriculum objectives to writing genres, to ensure that new terminology taught, can be applied in context.


Herts for Learning plans, including 'Take One Book' and Hamilton Trust units are used to ensure continuity and progression of skills and to link to learning topics.


Supporting pupils to develop positive attitudes and stamina for writing through regular extended writing opportunities. Each week an opportunity is given for children to write independently for a sustained amount of time, appropriate to their age.


Encouraging pupils to plan, draft and edit their work using purple polishing pens/pencils. 


Providing vocabulary resources within all lessons to support children understanding of rich and challenging vocabulary. Children are challenged to use these within their own independent writing.


Celebrating good writing by nominating a Writer of the week. The writing is displayed for the children to enjoy and share in each classroom.





The RWI spelling programme is used during Year 2 onwards (once the RWI phonics programme is completed). For those children still needing phonics intervention, this is carefully planned for assessing their gaps.


Desktop resources are used to support children to apply the spellings they have learned through the Read Write Inc phonics programme.


Common Exception Words are displayed in class and the children are encouraged to use these in their writing. Regular spelling assessments of these words are undertaken and those pupils needing additional support take part in precision teaching interventions to support long term memory and application of these in written work. 


Older pupils are taught to use a dictionary to support spelling and have access to the Nessy Spelling Programme.





Pupils from year 1-4 take home weekly spellings to practice based on what they have been learning. 




As part of the RWI phonics programme, correct letter formation is taught from Early Years and practiced each day.


Nelson Handwriting is introduced from year 1 and from Year 2 joined handwriting becomes the focus when pupils are encouraged to use joins learned across all written work. When they use these correctly and consistently children are rewarded with a pencil of perfection. In KS2 children learn to join all of their handwriting and are expected to apply this to all written work. When this is achieved, a pen licence is awarded. 


Nelson Handwriting





Attainment in writing is measured consistently throughout the year. At the three assessment checkpoints, progress is tracked, using the Herts for Learning teacher assessment frameworks, which have been taken from the National Curriculum.


Herts for Learning and Local Moderation Exemplification materials are used. We also use the  'No More Marking Comparative judgement to support our moderation in writing nationally. 


For those children who have yet to access the Year 1 statements, pre key stage statements are used.


Termly moderations take place, to quality assure judgements made. These are either in house, or as part of a cluster of local schools. We use the Assessing Primary Writing (No more marking- Comparative Judgment) to support with writing moderation.


Termly unaided writing is added to a pupil's writing folder and formally assessed. Assessments are recorded on the Target Tracker monitoring and assessment programme. 


End of Key Stage writing: teachers will assess a selection of pieces of writing in Year 2, using this to inform reported Teacher assessment judgements. Exemplification materials are used to support judgements made.


Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar: For those year groups, using RWI spellings progress is assessed each half term. 

SPAG SATS assessments may be used to assess pupils at the end of Year 2

Termly common exception word assessments and regular monitoring of pupil's work inform individual pupil's spelling targets. 



Spoken Language


We believe that every child should be able to speak confidently to different people and listen to what others have to say. The children are encouraged to listen and respond, to present and to question in a variety of spoken activities across the curriculum and within their community. We recognise the importance of the spoken language within the whole curriculum and we aim to develop the fluency and confidence of our pupils so they are well prepared for their next steps to middle school.