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Reading at KS1 & KS2

Reading in KS1

We have daily English lessons where we explore a book in depth. The children hear a story being read to them. They learn to orally recite the story (using story maps co-created as a prompt) and they act out the story. Once the children know the text really well they 'read it as a reader'.  This involves in depth discussions around the text, focussing heavily on vocabulary and oral comprehension. They are encouraged to express opinions on their likes and dislikes regarding the text in order to improve their own writing.  Reading comprehension strategies such as: summarising, imaging, predicting and making connections are taught explicitly. 


Texts taught in this detail are:


Term/ Year Group


Year 1

Year 2

Autumn 1

Little Red Hen


Billy Goats Gruff

Three little pigs

Autumn 2

We’re going on a Bear Hunt



Traction Man

Spring 1


Farmer Duck

Meerkat Mail

Spring 2

Super Potato

The Tiger who Came to Tea

Hansel & Gretel

Summer 1

Jack & the Beanstalk

Peace at Last

Tell me a dragon

Summer 2

What the ladybird heard at the seaside


Whole class text transition into juniors:

Fantastic Mr Fox

These texts are then used as an inspiration for our writing. See ‘Writing’.

We also use a range of well-loved children's books and poems as well as non-fiction to support our English teaching throughout the year.


Reading in KS2

We teach reading through whole class books and occasional extracts. Each class has set texts and we have 30 copies of each. These have been carefully chosen for quality and appeal.

Year 3

Year 4

Year 5

Year 6

The Tear Thief by Carol Ann Duffy

The Iron Man by Ted Hughes

Holes by Louis Sach

War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

The Witches Tears by Jenny Nimmo



The Butterfly Lion by Michael Morpurgo

Kensuke’s Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo

Shadow by Michael Morpurgo

The Hundred Mile an Hour Gog by Jeremy Strong

The Witches by Roald Dahl

Charlotte’s Web by EB White

Topic reading during humanities weeks

Diary of a killer cat by Anne Fine

The Hodgeheg by Dick King Smith

Krindlekrax by Philip Ridley


Topic reading during humanities weeksTopic reading during humanities weeksTopic reading during humanities weeks 


Throughout the year we also use extracts, non-fiction texts and poems.



We develop children’s reading comprehension by focusing on the skills they apply as they’re reading.

VIPERS is an acronym for

  • Vocabulary
  • Infer
  • Predict
  • Explain
  • Retrieve
  • Summarise (KS2) Sequence (KS1)


Teaching vocabulary

Our vocabulary teaching offers rich information about words and their uses. We want our teaching to provide frequent and varied opportunities for children to think about and use words that will enhance their language and comprehension.

It’s much more effective to learn about words orally because of the body language and the intonation.

Reading aloud and regularly discussing words will add much more than simply relying on incidental exposure to words through the whole class reading book.

Providing word meaning information is only a first step in building word knowledge. There is a continuum of ‘knowing’ a word. Studies show that when provided with definitions from dictionaries and then asked to create their own sentence with the word within it usually about 60% of the sentences are ‘odd’.

Dictionary definitions always have to be concise due to restricted space. Therefore, it’s better to start with explaining the meaning of a word rather than using a dictionary definition.

Intentional vocabulary teaching is about explaining meanings in everyday language. Take every opportunity to teach vocabulary intentionally and use working walls and washing lines of new words and encourage children to use newly learnt vocabulary in their writing.


Skills teaching

Explicit and discreet teaching of the skills and strategies of inference, prediction, explanation, retrieval and summarising.



To infer is to find meaning that is not made explicit in the text. Children will use their understanding of a wide range of prior experiences to make sense of events in what they see and read. As children get more confident, they should start to increasingly back these inferences up with evidence from the text. They may paraphrase or even directly quote to justify what they think.

· Why was the character feeling happy?

· Why did the character run away?

· What kind of person is _____? How does the author show that?

· How can you tell the animal is in pain?

· How can you tell this house has not been looked after?

· How is the character feeling? How do you know that?

· What impression do you get of this setting?



Children are encouraged to predict what they think might happen based on the events so far and details that are implied in the text. The emphasis here is not to necessarily be right – if all books were predictable, that could become very dull – but to engage with the plot and actively think about where the journey of the story might go.

· Look at the cover. What do you think this book will be about?

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

· Do you think they will be successful in their quest? Why / why not?

· How do you think the character is going to react? Why do you think that?

· Look at the chapter title. What do you think might happen?



Children are encouraged to explain their preferences, thoughts and opinions about a text. As they get more confident, children should also be able to explain themes and patterns across a text as well as why authors have made certain choices and the impact of these on the overall effect of the writing.

· Who is your favourite character? Why?

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

· Is there anything you would change about this story?

· How does the author build up the tension here?

· Why do you think the author doesn’t name the villain yet?

· Why has the text been arranged in this way?



This skill concerns finding and recording information located in the text. It tends to cover some of the more straightforward and closed questions that don’t require as much inference (often beginning with who, what, when and where). However, the challenge can lie in children having to skim back over large quantities of text. You can support your child by helping them to narrow down sections to search and scan for key words that will help them look for the information they need.

· In what year did the astronauts land on the moon?

· What did the parents decide to name their baby?

· Who was the first character to climb on the boat?

· Give an example of one of the grandmother’s warnings.

· Where did the squirrel hide the food?

· What were the three things Bob was asked to pack?


Sequence / Summarise

Children are taught to recap the events of a narrative and put them in order (sequence) or sum them up (summarise). This can be an effective way to remind children of the story so far in a longer text or to build familiarity with a shorter book or traditional tale. For younger children, the ability to retell a well-known story from their head is an important step in their development and will give them the foundation on which to build their own stories later on. · How did the story start?

· What happened next?

· Number these events 1 – 5.

· Can you summarise the story so far?

· What happened in the story so far?

· How has the character’s life changed throughout this book?


Reading Comprehension

During reading comprehension, children discuss their understanding of the extract with direction from the teacher, using examples from the National Curriculum statements:

  • checking that the book makes sense to them, discussing their understanding and exploring the meaning of words in context
  • asking questions to improve their understanding
  • drawing inferences such as inferring characters’ feelings, thoughts and motives from their actions, and justifying inferences with evidence
  • predicting what might happen from details stated and implied
  • summarising the main ideas drawn from more than one paragraph, identifying key details that support the main ideas
  • identifying how language, structure and presentation contribute to meaning
  • discuss and evaluate how authors use language, including figurative language, considering the impact on the reader
  • distinguish between statements of fact and opinion
  • retrieve, record and present information from non-fiction
  • participate in discussions about books that are read to them and those they can read for themselves, building on their own and others’ ideas and challenging views courteously
  • explain and discuss their understanding of what they have read, including through formal presentations and debates, maintaining a focus on the topic and using notes where necessary
  • provide reasoned justifications for their views.


The daily class reading book (in addition to whole class reader):

Each class has a book on the go that the teacher reads at the end of each day. This could be a novel with chapters, picture book, non-fiction book or poetry. It should be a relaxed time where children unwind at the end of the day, listening to a book being read really well.