“To Develop A Love Of Reading”


We are passionate about reading at Holt Farm Junior School.

We believe that being able to read is the backbone of education across all subjects as it significantly impacts one’s success in school and beyond. Reading provides endless opportunities for children to explore a wealth of worlds which exceed their own experience. It can take children into the past where they can harness an additional love of history, span countries and continents which can help develop an understanding of the geographical world and even into the future and imagined worlds which help to create a love of critical and creative thinking. The power of reading is incredible and, as a school, our desire is for children to be able to understand and take advantage of all the benefits and enjoyment reading offers. We wish to develop everyone’s attitudes towards reading as a positive and exciting experience that can be shared with friends and family. We aim for every child to harness a love of reading where they think of themselves as a reader and enjoy listening to and discussing the written word within the community. We wish for our community of readers to share and enjoy their critical and creative thinking skills which develop through this incredible past time. 


We teach reading in a variety of ways at Holt Farm Junior School; this includes but is not limited to whole class teaching, close text analysis, picture inference, systematic synthetic phonics teaching, shared, peer and 1:1 reading. Furthermore, all classes have high quality texts read to them throughout the year. 

Reading to the Children

Our goal is to motivate children to want to read so they will practice reading independently and become fluent readers. That happens when children enjoy reading, so we advertise the subject by reading great stories and poems. Throughout every day, class teachers will read and share high quality texts at a level which is slightly beyond their reading age. This ensures that we continue to develop their vocabulary and understanding of characters and plot beyond their reading level. It also gives them access to worlds and experiences different to their own. 

Reading Vipers

At Holt Farm Junior School, Reading VIPERS are used to support children with their reading comprehension skills. VIPERS are a range of reading prompts based on the 2016 reading Content Domain Areas (CDAs) found in the National Curriculum Test Framework. Each classroom will have the Reading VIPERS displayed in the reading area of their classroom and the class teacher will make explicit links to the skill the children will be learning about. This gives all children across the school a common language to discuss their reading knowledge and understanding. 

All children will be working on VIPERS during class reading, whether it is reading as a class, in a small group, or one-to-one with an adult. It would be fantastic if parents could also be referring to VIPERS when they listen to their child read at home. All children are given a VIPERS bookmark which has a range of question prompts based on each reading skill. Children and parents can use this to help ask in-depth questions. If your child loses or needs a new bookmark, please let your teacher know.

During reading sessions, children will be reading a class book which correlates with themes taught throughout each half-term’s topic - these books will change every half-term. Children will focus on a series of reading activities based from these books which focus on the content domain areas.  Sometimes these reading sessions may focus on all of the content domains at once and some sessions will also focus purely on one specific domain. Children will have one session a week where inference skills are taught purely based on a picture(s) where opportunities are given to discuss: what they see; the significance of specific objects or expressions; and discuss what could have led up to the moment we see in the picture. Children will be given at least one thirty-minute free reading session a week where they are encouraged to read their own or a school book for pleasure. This is to ensure children have the opportunity to develop their love of reading without the constraints of  a comprehension question-and-answer style in other sessions. Children will be listened to by an adult every week in a small group setting. Additionally, children will be listened to by an adult on a 1-1 basis at least once every two weeks, with follow up comprehension and vocabulary tasks. The sessions are organised as follows:

Developing Readers (Year 3)

Upon entry in the Autumn term, Year 3s are assessed on their Systematic Synthetic Phonics (SSP) knowledge. Children are put into ability groups based on their needs and are reviewed continuously (see SSP section for more information). During this time, VIPERS skills are taught in some English lessons and in some instances, in additional reading sessions so all children are introduced to the VIPERS style. For those children who do not need additional phonics support, they will follow VIPERS sessions upon entry in their ability group. As the school year continues, more Year 3 children will be having daily VIPERS sessions and less will be having phonics sessions. In the VIPERS sessions, children will complete two reading tasks each week, with adult support time with both the teacher and teaching assistant, which require a written response and focus upon comprehension using the VIPERS approach. The evidence from these sessions will be collected to inform next steps. Children will also have one session in which they are able to read for pleasure, one session where they have a discussion about a picture(s) and one SSP session where the children continue to develop and maintain their phonics skills.

Fluent Readers (Year 4, Year 5, Year 6)

The children will have five sessions throughout the week, which they will rotate around. Two of the sessions will be VIPERS reading domain questions based on the class text. This will have the dual purpose of children reading and absorbing the text, as well as orally rehearsing answers to key questions linked to a VIPERS focus. They will then work with a teacher to discuss the key questions and unknown vocabulary that has arisen from their reading. One session will be picture inference based and there will be one session where children will free read. The fifth and final session is an opportunity for children to revisit particular learning from any of the previous sessions within the week and will change weekly based on children’s needs. It could be an additional VIPERS, picture inference, free reading or even an assessment session.

Question Openers

VIPERS can be used on any text that a child is reading, as well as on pictures, picture books and films. When any adult is listening to a child read, all they have to do is think of questions about the book/picture/film that cover all of the VIPERS, and there are great examples below of how you can create your own questions using the following question openers. 

KS1 VIPERS Question Prompt Sheet


Draw upon knowledge of vocabulary in order to understand the text.


Make inferences from the text.


Predict what you think will happen based on the information that you have been given.


Explain your preferences, thoughts and opinions about the text.


Identify and explain the key features of fiction and non-fiction texts such as: characters, events, titles and information.


Sequence the key events in the story.

Example questions:

- What does the word ….. Mean in this sentence?

- Find and copy a word which means…

- What does the word or phrase tell you about…..?

- Which word in the section do you think is the most important? Why?

- Which of the words best describe the character/setting/mood etc.?

- Can you think of any other words the author could have used to describe this?

- Why do you think … repeated in this section?

Example questions:

- Why was ….. feeling …..?

- Why did ….. happen?

- Why did…..say?

- Can you explain why…..?

- What do you think the author intended when they said…..?

- How does…..make you feel?

Example questions:

- Look at the book cover/blurb - what do you think the book will be about?

- What do you think will happen next? What makes you think this?

- How does the choice of character or setting affect what will happen next?

- What is happening? What do you think happened before? What do you think will happen after?

- What do you think the last paragraph suggests will happen next?

Example questions:

- Who is your favourite character? Why?

- Why do you think all the main characters are girls/boys in this book?

- Would you like to live in this setting? Why/why not?

- Is there anything you would change about this story?

- Do you like this text? What do you like about it?

Example questions:

- What kind of text is this?

- Who did….?

- Where did…..?

- When did…..?

- What happened when…..?

- Why did …..happen?

- How did…..?

- What happened to…..?

Example questions:

- Can you number these events 1-5 in the order that they happened?

- What happened after…..?

- What was the first thing that happened in the story?

- Can you summarise in a sentence the opening/middle/end of the story?

- In what order do these chapter headings come in the story?



 KS2 VIPERS Question Prompt Sheet


Find and explain the meaning of words in context.


Make and justify inferences using evidence from the text.


Predict what will happen based on the details given or implied.


Explain how content is related and contributed to the meaning as a whole.

Explain how meaning is enhanced through use of language.

Explain the themes and patterns that develop across the text.

Explain how information contributes to the overall experience.


Retrieve and record information and identify key details from fiction and non-fiction.


Summarise the main ideas from more than one paragraph.

Question examples:

- What do the words….and….suggest about the character, setting and mood?

- Which word tells you that…?

- Which keyword tells you about the character/setting/mood?

- Find one word in the text which means…

- Find the word that is closest in meaning to….

- Find a word or phrase which shows/suggests that...

Question examples:

- Find a group of words which show that…

- How do these words make the reader feel?

- How does this paragraph suggest this?

- What impression of….do you get from these paragraphs?

- What voice might these characters use? Why?

- What was….thinking when….?

- Who is telling the story? How do you know?

Question examples:

- From the cover, what do you think this text is going to be about?

- What is happening now?

- What happened before this?

- What will happen after?

- What does this paragraph suggest will happen next? What makes you think this?

- How do you think the choice of setting will influence how the plot develops?

- Do you think….will happen?

Yes, no or maybe? Explain your answer using evidence from the text.

Question examples:

- Why is the text arranged in this way?

- What structure has the author used?

- What is the purpose of this text feature?

- Is the use of….effective?

- The mood of the character changes throughout the text. Find and copy phrases which show this.

- What affect does….have on the reader?

- How does the author/poet engage with the reader here?

- Which words and phrases did ….use effectively?

- Which section was the most interesting/exciting part?

- How are these sections linked?

Question examples:

- How would you describe this story/text? What genre is it? How do you know?

- How did….?

- How often….?

- Who had…? Who is…? Who did…?

- What happened to…?

- What does….do?

- How….is….?

- What can you learn from….from this section?

- Give one example of….

- Who is the perspective of the story told from?

Question example:

- Number these events 1-5 in the order that they happened.

- What happened after…?

- What was the first thing that happened in the story?

- Summarise in as few words as possible the opening/middle/end of the story.

- In what order do these chapter headings come in the story?


Systematic Synthetic Phonics (SSP)

All children’s phonics ability is assessed when they join us in Year 3 and are put into ability groups to reflect their needs. Read, Write, Inc. is the main phonics scheme followed and children are continuously assessed on their understanding. For those identified as needing additional support, Lexia interventions are offered where children receive individualised and teacher-directed personalised learning through adaptive and engaging online activities. Children are able to access this at home to further enhance their learning. For those children who do not need additional phonics support upon entry follow the VIPERS sessions in their ability groups.

Marking & Feedback

Feedback and marking should be completed, where possible, within the lesson. All marking and feedback is given in line with our marking and feedback policy where successes are highlighted and next steps provided for children to action.


Teachers will use their professional judgement to determine whether a child is working within age-related expectations, above or below at the end of each half-term. They will base their judgements on Target Tracker statements such as how well a child is reading phonetically, changes of intonation to reflect the mood of what is being said, discussion based on what has been read,  and verbal and written answers based on VIPERS. In addition to the aforementioned formative assessment, there will also be a range of summative assessments which will be conducted through NFER and other tests each half-term. The two of these combined will be used to officially assess children and identify next steps.

Intended Impact

Pupils will enjoy reading and will be inspired by fiction and non-fiction across the curriculum.

·   Pupils will have a wide vocabulary and learn new literary devices that they use within their own speech and writing.

·   Pupils of all abilities will be challenged so that they can achieve not only a good reading and comprehension level, but also a deeper understanding of literary devices authors use across all genres.

·   Pupils will leave school with a wealth of high level vocabulary and an appreciation for books.

·   Parents and carers will have a good understanding of how they can support reading at home, and contribute regularly to homework

·   The % of pupils working at ARE within each year group will be at least in line with national averages.

·   The % of pupils working at Greater Depth within each year group will be at least in line with national averages

·   There will be no significant gaps in the progress of different groups of pupils (e.g. disadvantaged vs non-disadvantaged).