Reading at Windmill Hill Academy
Windmill Hill Academy's intent is that every child will learn to read, regardless of background, needs or abilities. We want our children to be fluent, confident readers. They will be exposed to a wealth of stories, poems, rhymes and non-fiction to develop their vocabulary, language comprehension and develop a genuine love of reading and a keen interest in a range of texts.
We work to inspire them to become passionate life-long readers who enjoy books and have a desire to read for pleasure. In order for the children to have the will to read, and be able to read to learn, they need to have secure skills in reading so that they can read with fluency and comprehension.
Reading is at the heart of our whole curriculum underpinning every subject area. We want every child to read widely, and to gain a rich knowledge across the curriculum. By offering a wide range of texts, we aim to broaden their minds and experiences to allow them to empathise with the world in which they live and support the development of their cultural capital.
Reading is such an important life skill that it is imperative we enable them to become independent readers who can easily process information, fully engage in all learning and be well prepared for their next stage of their education.
By the end of KS1, children will be fluent at decoding, and by the age of 11, we aim for children to be able to:
• read with confidence, fluency and good understanding, drawing upon a range of independent strategies to self-monitor and correct;
• have an interest in a wide range of reading materials and read spontaneously for enjoyment and pleasure;
• read confidently to acquire information;
• acquire a wide vocabulary, an understanding of grammar and knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading;
• meet age related expectations for reading, with the aspiration to exceed them.
We teach early reading through the validated systematic, synthetic phonics programme 'Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised' which we have just purchased and implemented.
Right from the start of Reception, children will have a daily phonics lesson which follows the progression for Little Wandle Letters and Sounds and this continues in Year One to ensure children become fluent readers. 
For more information on phonics and early reading, please click here.
Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised Big Cat books (Years F - 2)
Children in Reception, Year 1 and 2, read fully decodable books with an adult 3 times per week during our ‘Reading Practice’ sessions. These books are then sent home for children to build their reading fluency and showcase their developing skills and phonetic knowledge to their parents/carers.
These 3 reading practice sessions each have a different focus; decoding, prosody and comprehension. Our reading books in Reception, Y1 and Y2 are 'Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised Big Cat books'.
Accelerated Reader (Reading Scheme Years 2 - 6)
Accelerated Reader is the reading scheme which is used in Year 2 (where appropriate) to Year 6. Not only do the children have a good selection of books to read within school, they are also able to access the books and quizzes through MyOn (which is an online version).

Whole Class Guided Reading 

Children are explicitly taught the skills of reading through the use of VIPERS, which were created by Rob Smith (The Literacy Shed), during our daily whole class reading sessions.

The Reading Vipers can be used by both KS1 and KS2 with a little adaption. The main difference being in the S.

Sequence - KS1

Summarise - KS2


What are Vipers?

VIPERS is an anagram to aid the recall of the 6 reading domains as part of the UK’s reading curriculum.  They are the key areas which we feel children need to know and understand in order to improve their comprehension of texts.

VIPERS stands for


The 6 domains focus on the comprehension aspect of reading and not the mechanics: decoding, fluency, prosody etc. As such, VIPERS is not a reading scheme but rather a method of ensuring that teachers ask, and students are familiar with, a range of questions. They allow the teacher to track the type of questions asked and the children’s responses to these which allows for targeted questioning afterwards.


In Key Stage One, children reading skills are taught and practised using the VIPERS during whole class reading sessions.

KS1 Content Domain Reference


1a draw on knowledge of vocabulary to understand texts


1b identify/ explain key aspects of fiction and non-fiction, such as characters, events, titles and information.


1c identify and explain the sequences of events in texts


1d make inferences from the text


1e predict what might happen on the basis of what has been read so far


Key Stage 2

In Key Stage Two, children reading skills are taught and practised using VIPERS during whole class reading sessions.

KS2 Content Domain Reference


2a Give/explain the meaning of words in context


2b retrieve and record information/ identify key details from fiction and non/fiction


2c summarise main ideas from more than one paragraph


2d make inferences from the text/ explain and justify inferences with evidence from the text


2e predict what might happen from details stated or implied


2f identify/explain how information/ narrative content is related and contributes to meaning as a whole


2g identify/explain how meaning is enhanced through choice of words and phrases


2h make comparisons within a text


Reading for Pleasure
Reading for Pleasure remains a whole school priority. We believe that a whole school 'Reading for Pleasure' culture must be planned for and promoted throughout the school in a variety of ways, ensuring that all children have the opportunity to develop that real love of reading.  Every day the teachers read aloud the class book to the children. These texts are chosen carefully so there is a range of high quality, diverse texts to engage the children and appeal to a range of children. When reading aloud, they do not stop unnecessarily to ask clarification/comprehension questions. Instead, they allow the story to weave its own magic, only pausing occasionally where necessary to define any important vocabulary.
See below for Windmill Hill Academy's list of key texts. This overview is a suggested list for the class read alouds. It is regularly being evaluated and updated to suit the needs of each class and to include new and more diverse texts where appropriate. More books than these are shared with the children too throughout the year. 
Children have daily opportunities for regular reading both independently, in pairs and groups. This also includes opportunities for having a weekly book swap with pupils from another class. Teachers promote reading for pleasure through making recommendations and informal book talk. Careful recording of what the children’s reading diet includes happens regularly so staff are able to monitor, develop and extend this as and when appropriate. Book corners are well used, inviting spaces with a limited number of high-quality texts that children are able to borrow. Books are also sourced from the Cornwall Library service to supplement the selection within class libraries and the school library.
Recommended Reads
Some of these books are read in class to the children but here are also good suggestions for sharing at home.
Pie Corbett Recommended Reads
Reading Karate
'Pupils enjoy reading. Teachers read to them regularly. Pupils talk excitedly about these sessions. They can talk about a range of authors and books they like to read. Older pupils learn to read and understand increasingly complex texts.'
(Ofsted, December 2022)