Useful Links

Useful Links

Reading FUNdamentals

Reading is a vital skill to master at a young age and is necessary to unlock many other areas of the curriculum. It is also something that can provide a great deal of pleasure throughout our lives. It is for that reason that at Phoenix we want all our children to read as many high quality books as they can. It is necessary that children experience a different range of genres within fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

At Phoenix, our creative curriculum places a strong emphasis on Reading as its cornerstone. Our tailor-made Reading curriculum aligns with the goals set by the National Curriculum, prioritising word reading, comprehensive skills (both in listening and reading), and fostering a genuine passion for the act of reading.


At Phoenix, we follow the RWI phonics program. RWI stands as a comprehensive phonics initiative encompassing top-notch training, assessment, intervention, and resources, including decodable books. All incoming staff members undergo thorough training in the RWI approach, supplemented by continuous support and training for existing teachers through practice sessions and coaching. We implement targeted interventions to assist students in keeping pace with the program. As part of fostering early independent reading skills, children exclusively engage with RWI fully decodable books, ensuring they only encounter sounds they have already learned. The Ruth Miskin Training YouTube channel has lots of helpful videos for parents to watch to help them to understand the programme and how it works. Here are a few of them:

What is RWI Phonics?

Understanding Phonics

How to say the sounds?




DEAR (drop everything and read)

DEAR stands for Drop Everything And Read. It's a program aimed at encouraging children, specifically those in Key Stage 1  and Key Stage 2, to develop a love for reading.

Here's how it works:

  • A designated time is set aside: This could be daily, weekly, or even just a few minutes within a lesson. Everyone involved, including teachers, students, and even parents or guardians at home, drops whatever they're doing to focus on reading.
  • Choice is key: Participants get to choose their own reading material. This could be a library book, a magazine, a comic book, or even something online (with adult supervision in the case of younger children).
  • Focus on enjoyment: The emphasis is on reading for pleasure. It's not about testing or comprehension, but rather about creating a positive association with reading and fostering a lifelong love of getting lost in a good book.


Benefits of DEAR:

  • Improves reading skills: Regular reading practice strengthens vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency.
  • Boosts imagination and creativity: Stories spark curiosity and fuel the imagination.
  • Reduces stress and promotes relaxation: Getting lost in a good book can be a great way to unwind and de-stress.
  • Creates a positive association with reading: By making reading enjoyable and voluntary, children are more likely to develop a lifelong love of it.

DEAR is a simple yet powerful program that can make a significant impact on children's reading development and overall well-being. 






VIPERS reading skills - (vocabulary, inference, prediction, explanation, retrieval, sequence/summarise)

VIPERS is an acronym that stands for a set of reading comprehension skills particularly important for students in Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 of the National Curriculum. Here's what each letter stands for and what the skill involves:

V - Vocabulary

  • Understanding word meanings: Identifying and understanding the meanings of new and challenging words found in the text.
  • Using context clues: Using the surrounding words in a sentence and the overall context to figure out the meanings of unfamiliar words.

I - Inference

  • Reading between the lines: Deducing information that is not explicitly stated in the text, drawing conclusions based on clues and evidence provided by the author.
  • Understanding characters and events: Using subtle hints about emotions, thoughts, motivations, and relationships to gain a deeper understanding of characters and the story as a whole.

P - Prediction

  • Making informed guesses: Using the details already provided in the text to make educated guesses about what might happen next in the story.
  • Anticipating outcomes: Thinking about possible directions the story could take.

E - Explanation

  • Justifying answers and ideas: Being able to explain their reasoning and provide evidence from the text to support their thoughts and interpretations.
  • Developing opinions: Forming personal opinions about the text, characters, or events, and being able to back them up with textual evidence.

R - Retrieval

  • Finding information: Locating specific facts and details mentioned directly in the text.
  • Answering questions: Identifying the correct information to answer literal questions based on the text.

S - Sequence (KS1) / Summarise (KS2)

  • Sequencing events (KS1): Understanding the order in which events occur in the text and being able to retell a story in the correct sequence.
  • Summarising (KS2): Identifying the most important points and ideas from the text, and putting them together in a brief summary that captures the essence of the story.

Why are VIPERS reading skills important?

The VIPERS skills help young students become active and engaged readers. Instead of just passively consuming words, they are encouraged to:

  • Analyse texts deeper for better comprehension
  • Develop critical thinking skills
  • Form their own interpretations and opinions
  • Communicate their understanding effectively






1:1 reading sessions (2-3 days per week)

 In Key Stage 1 and 2 , 1:1 reading refers to individualised reading sessions between a student and a teacher or another trained adult. These sessions are tailored to the specific needs and reading level of each student, providing focused support and feedback.

Here's what typically happens during a 1:1 reading session:

  • The student chooses or is given a text appropriate for their reading level. This could be a book, a story, a poem, or even an article depending on the student's interests and reading ability.
  • The student reads the text aloud or silently, depending on their needs. The teacher listens closely, observing and evaluating the student's reading fluency, comprehension, and pronunciation.
  • The teacher provides support and feedback. This might involve discussing the meaning of new words, clarifying confusing parts of the text, or helping the student develop various VIPERS (vocabulary, inference, prediction, etc.) skills.
  • The session may also include activities like asking questions, discussing the story's plot and characters, or completing short comprehension activities.

Benefits of 1:1 reading:

  • Provides targeted support: Addresses individual strengths and weaknesses, allowing the teacher to tailor instruction to each student's specific needs.
  • Builds confidence: Individual attention allows students to feel comfortable taking risks, practising, and making mistakes without judgement from their peers.
  • Promotes deeper understanding: Encourages active engagement with the text and allows for deeper exploration of concepts and ideas.
  • Fosters a love of reading: Personalised attention and positive experiences can create a more enjoyable and engaging learning environment, encouraging students to develop a lifelong love of reading.

1:1 reading is a valuable tool for educators in KS1 and KS2 to support individual students in their reading development and help them become confident and successful readers.






Weekly library visits

Weekly library visits for students in Key Stage 1 and 2 offer a multitude of benefits that extend far beyond just borrowing books. Here are some key advantages:

 Enhanced Literacy Skills:

  • Exposure to diverse materials: Libraries offer a vast collection of books, magazines, and resources, exposing children to a broader range of reading materials than they might encounter elsewhere. This diversity helps them develop vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency.
  • Regular reading habit: Weekly visits become a routine, fostering a habit of reading and encouraging children to explore different genres and topics.
  • Engaging activities: Many libraries host story time sessions, author talks, and workshops. Participating in these activities can further pique children's interest in reading and learning.

Personal Growth and Development:

  • Increased curiosity: Exploring different subjects through books and resources sparks curiosity and encourages children to ask questions and learn new things.
  • Improved social skills: Libraries can be social hubs where children can interact with other children and librarians, developing communication and social skills.
  • Positive learning environment: Libraries provide a calm and stimulating environment conducive to learning and exploration, fostering a love of knowledge and discovery.

Additional Advantages:

  • Accessibility: Libraries offer free access to books and resources, which can be especially beneficial for families with limited resources.
  • Community involvement: Regular visits can help children feel connected to their community and see the library as a valuable resource.
  • Family bonding: Weekly visits can be a fun family outing, providing an opportunity to bond over shared experiences and foster a love of reading together.

In conclusion, weekly library visits for students in KS1 and KS2 can significantly benefit their academic and personal development. By providing access to diverse resources, encouraging a love of reading, and fostering social and personal growth, libraries play a crucial role in shaping young minds.





Community Read

At Phoenix we have KS3 reading buddies who we read with once a week.