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Bolton Primary School

Caring - Inspiring - Enjoying - Excelling



Reading widely and often increases pupils’ vocabulary because they encounter words they would rarely hear or use in everyday speech. Reading also feeds pupils’ imagination and opens up a treasure house of wonder and joy for curious young minds. (The National Curriculum)

Reading at Bolton

Subject Lead: Ruth Elstone (KS2) and Debbie Tinkler (KS1) (Both since September 2020)

Monitoring Governor: Lisa Wilson (Since September 2020)



The 2019 Y6 SATS results show  79% of our pupils reaching the expected standard or above and 50% at greater depth.

Ofsted January 2020 on Early Reading: ' Children learn letters and sounds quickly. Adults check the progress that children make through the well-planned phonics programme. They make the most of opportunities to link phonics to handwriting. Children read books that are well-matched to the sounds that they know... If children fall behind, they receive good support and catch up quickly. Adults are well-trained. By the end of Y1, nearly all pupils achieve the expected standard.'


We place great emphasis upon reading and provide the children with an interesting range of books and other reading materials. We want them to read fluently and with understanding so that reading becomes a real source of enjoyment and pleasure.

The school uses VIPERS to teach the six reading domains: Vocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Explanation, Retrieval, Summarise/ Sequence.

In class 1, we have daily phonics teaching groups to encourage them to practice and develop a range of early reading skills. Children may do Guided or Group reading regularly and their own independent reading. We encourage all our pupils to 'Strive for Five' home-reads.

Children in all classes regularly hear and enjoy texts being read to them.  We monitor each child’s progress through a good range of available reading material to ensure that they reach their full potential. This means most children are on 'banded' or scheme books so that we can be sure that they are all reading material that is at an appropriate level of challenge. 

Each teacher will keep a record of a child’s reading progress and achievement and they will set reading targets with them. We encourage and welcome support from home with fostering reading for pleasure and ask parents and pupils to use the logs provided when reading at home as a way of monitoring their reading. The school aims to regularly provide workshops and support sessions for parents to help with learning at home. Children are encouraged to read and share books with their peers and this includes poetry and non-fiction. We also have a bedtime reading basket for each of our classes to encourage reading for pleasure. 



At Bolton Primary School we believe that a high-quality English curriculum should develop children’s love of Reading, Writing and Speaking and Listening. Our aim is that all pupils should have the opportunity to be fluent, confident readers who are able to successfully comprehend and understand a wide range of texts. We want pupils to develop a love of reading, have a good knowledge of a range of authors and poets, and be able to understand more about the world in which they live through the knowledge they gain from texts.

By the end of their time at primary school, all children should be able to read fluently, and with confidence, in any subject. We do not hold pre-conceptions about any pupils’ ability to make progress. We understand the importance of parents and carers in supporting their children to develop both word reading and comprehension skills, and so we encourage a strong home-school partnership which enables parents and carers to understand how to enhance the skills being taught in school through good quality texts.


Children know, at Bolton Primary, the expectation is to read a minimum of three times each week at home for an appropriate length of time (dependent upon the age and ability of the child). There is also an expectation that the home reading log is completed.  Parents/ Carers have been given guidance on supporting their children read and posing VIPERS questions. Those children (and many do) that Strive for Five reads each week receive recognition in our celebration assembly. 


Any child falling behind in their reading will receive regular intervention and have a personalised support plan. Assessment is on-going; there are more formal termly assessments that gives each child a standardised score. This information is shared with students (age-appropriately), parents and carers. All children will have a termly reading target that they will review and discuss with an adult in school.


There is a clear pathway of progression in reading as they advance through the primary curriculum.  This is crucial to a high-quality education and will give our children the tools they need to succeed and participate fully as a member of society.


All teachers of English, at Bolton Primary, undertake regular CPD and are committed to fostering a love of Literacy and literature amongst all pupils.



We teach phonics and reading skills as whole class lessons daily, so that all children have access to the skills and knowledge contained in the National Curriculum. Within lessons, teachers and teaching assistants target support to enable children to achieve at an age-related level wherever possible. More able learners are also given opportunities to demonstrate a greater depth of understanding through being encouraged to provide extended answers, or targeted questioning requiring more reasoned answers and making greater links across and between texts.


Phonics: (Early Years and Key Stage 1) Pupils focus on individual sounds, groups of sounds and common exception words within different ‘phases.’ We have an agreed progression for the teaching of new sounds and use Letters and Sounds resources to support this. Children that need to revisit and need further consolidation are given additional support from teachers and teaching assistants as part of planned interventions that take place in addition to the lesson. During the Summer Term in Year 1, pupils undertake a Phonics Screening Test which assesses their ability to apply what they have learnt. Lessons move towards whole class reading lessons that take a similar model from Years 1 to 6. Pupils who do not pass their Phonics Screening Test continue to have intervention to support the acquisition of these key skills.


We have a whole school reading scheme (banded books) that ensures progression in both word reading skills and comprehension – mainly Oxford Reading Tree and Collins Big Cats. The scheme is structured to ensure that children have access to a wide range of texts and allows for pupils to develop their skills within a level before moving on. We are also developing our Non-Fiction Library and purchasing books recommended by the Library Service (Jan 20). All pupils have a home-reading log which they are encouraged to take home daily. Parents and carers are asked to add comments to the home-reading records to indicate how much pupils have read and/ or any concerns. We currently have an age-appropriate ‘Bedtime Book Basket’ for all classes. Once a week the children read with their peer partners to further promote reading for pleasure and an opportunity to practice and develop reading aloud skills.


We use Literacy Shed Plus and The Power of Reading resources. The children are familiar with the six reading domains taught through VIPERSVocabulary, Inference, Prediction, Explanation, Retrieval and Summarise (or Sequence KS1). The children are also taught about comprehension question types e.g. Right There Questions, Think and Search Questions and Author and Me Questions - age-appropriately. Some children on Support Plans receive extra reading support and this is monitored.


We promote ‘Reading for Pleasure’ with vibrant displays, book recommendations/ reviews, author research and caring for the library/ library volunteers. This year (21/22), we are particularly promoting the reading, reciting, and performing of poetry and reading non-fiction.

Children below age-related standards in reading, receive regular intervention and support and will have a support plan in place that is shared with parents and carers and reviewed termly. 



Teachers are competent and confident delivering this subject and keep up to date with current thinking and developments.

Pupils enjoy reading, in all Year groups, across a range of genres and all abilities succeed in reading lessons. Pupils use a range of strategies for decoding words, not solely relying on phonics. Pupils have a good knowledge of a range of authors and poets. Pupils are ready to read in any subject and ready for their next phase of learning. Our internal tracking shows good progress in reading and both progress and teaching and learning is regularly monitored by our governors.


 Parents and carers have a good understanding of how they can support reading and home and contribute regularly to home-school records/logs. Reading achievement and progress is tracked and shows good improvement. Reading is at least in line with national averages and the percentage at greater depth shows an increase. There are no significant gaps in the progress of different groups of pupils (e.g. disadvantaged vs non-disadvantaged). Those that need support, receive support. 


The impact of our English Curriculum on our children is clear: good progress, sustained learning and transferrable skills. We are confident that as children move on from Bolton to secondary education and learning, that their creativity, passion for English and high aspirations travel with them and continue to grow and develop as they do. 

At Bolton, we create life-long readers who understand the world better.


Please see our English at Bolton document below for more information, including our policy, progression of skills and long term plans.