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Water Mill

Primary School

Anything is possible

Reading at Water Mill

Water Mill Primary School



At Water Mill Primary School it is our intent for all pupils to be proud of what they have achieved, to be creative, independent learners and to be prepared for the future. We believe that reading is an essential skill that enables children to access all subject areas and to become successful, lifelong learners in the future. Reading enables pupils to develop their imagination and creativity and to develop their knowledge in all areas of the curriculum and about Britain and the world.

At Water Mill School, we aim for children to develop a love of reading through; listening to adults reading books out loud, independently reading books they have chosen and reading out loud with good intonation.

We recognise the diversity within our school community and aim to provide high quality inclusive and representative books that reflect the realities of many of the children in our classrooms.

Phonics is effectively taught in Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 so that pupils can confidently apply their phonics skills to early reading. Where children are not effectively applying phonics knowledge additional support is delivered so that gaps and issues can be addressed.

Pupils will read a wide range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry texts and read for a variety of purposes, including; reading for pleasure, undertaking research and in everyday situations (e.g. following written instructions). Pupils will develop a deep understanding of texts through a clear understanding of the VIPERS skills (see key concepts)  taught across KS1 and KS2.



At Water Mill, a love of reading is taught through teaching staff modelling ‘what good reading sounds like’. Phonics and speech and language support is given to children who find it challenging to read out loud. Reading aloud is a regular part of the teaching of reading and children have the opportunity to do this during ‘whole class reading’ lessons, group reading (EYFS, KS1 and intervention reading) and in other lessons.

Pupils have the opportunity to listen to and read a wide range of (both fiction and non-fiction) high quality books. Teachers work on improving: clarity, pronunciation, speed, fluency and volume. Topics books support reading and are readily available to pupils alongside phonic ability reading books and ‘real books.’ Reading a variety of text types – books, internet, magazines etc. is used in all classes so pupils learn how to extract information from different texts and learn the difference between fact and opinion.

In EYFS and KS1 pupils use the newly introduced ‘Little Wandle’ phonics scheme to develop their ability to read words. During this session children will apply their phonic skills (alongside learning ‘tricky words’ by sight and different vocabulary) in both reading and writing. ‘Big Cat’ reading scheme books linked to the phonics they are learning are used to develop early reading. Little Wandle is also used in KS2 during reading interventions where needed.


Reading at home is promoted and celebrated in both key stages. EYFS and Key stage 1 pupils regularly take home self-selected and teacher selected books to read with parents. Prizes are given as rewards and incentives for regular reading at home for all children. Pupils will also have opportunities to read to members of the community and to other children in different year groups within school.

All staff teach understanding and comprehension using a range of high-quality texts, images, picture books and film through the reading domains using VIPERS skills. Teachers focus on individual skills and teach pupils the best way to demonstrate their understanding of texts through these skills. Vocabulary and spoken language in developing comprehension skills are recognised across the school and inform expectations for teaching and learning.



At Water Mill we have agreed the following areas to be the key concepts that will be taught through the reading curriculum:


The method of teaching children to read (early reading) by learning sounds of letters and sounds that groups of letters make when spoken. A diligent, concentrated and systematic phonics programme is in place in EYFS and KS1 which is consistently applied to enable sufficient and appropriate progress by all pupils.


Find and explain the meaning of words in context.


Make and justify inferences using evidence from the text


Predict what might happen from the details given and implied.


Explain how content is related and contributes to the meaning as a whole. Explain how meaning is enhanced through choice 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.

Love of reading

Underpins the teaching of reading in the school. Staff model excellent opportunities. An excellent range of reading materials are available. Displays and space for reading is available and inviting. Parents are encouraged to participate.



Reading to the children is planned into the timetable to ensure consistency. Teachers are reading to the children to develop a love of reading and pupils show their love of reading by reading to others.


Phonics is embedded across EYFS and KS1. Phonic training is delivered to new and changing staff to enable a consistent approach across the school. Children are fluent readers and have good word recognition skills (especially considering language barriers).


Group reading sessions and whole class reading sessions are effective and engaging the children.  Staff are reflecting on teaching and learning to inform future planning and subject leaders have a good understanding of practice across the school and use this to plan developments in the reading curriculum. 


Reading comprehension skills are being taught across the school and there is a consistent approach. Use of vocabulary and spoken language is a particular focus and informs expectations for teaching and learning.


Frequent moderation and assessment of end of term tests ensure that staff identify where a child needs support (quality over quantity). Pupil progress meetings allow staff to discuss individual children and gain advice and support and whilst also giving senior leaders an opportunity to understand the needs of individual children throughout the school.



What entitlements will they experience/do?

Care home visits-children reading to members of the community

Reading eggs

Reading buddies

Caravan book exchange

Library time

World Book Day

Author day

Reading Weeks

For more information about our reading curriculum please click on the link below

Contact Us

Water Mill Primary School Water Mill Close, Selly Oak, Birmingham, B29 6TS
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