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Reading is at the heart of everything we do at Callington Primary School and forms the core of our curriculum. We intend to foster a love of reading for all and aim to equip our children with the necessary skills to read fluently, and with confidence, both for pleasure and for purpose. We intend to encourage all pupils to read widely across both fiction and non- fiction in order to : develop their knowledge and understanding of both themselves and the ever changing world in which they live; develop an appreciation and love of reading ; to gain knowledge across the curriculum and to develop their comprehension skills.




We also know how important it is to have good ‘role models’ in reading and that a great deal of enjoyment can come from listening to stories as well as learning. For this reason, we ensure our teachers read to our children daily straight after lunch.  As a school, we have selected core texts/ authors, which we passionately believe all children should be exposed to by the time they leave primary school. Therefore, each year group will explore an author or novel per half term. Both traditional and modern stories have been selected due to their underlying patterns, range of protagonists, vocabulary, challenge and themes to ensure children encounter others whose experiences and perspectives are both similar to and different from their own.


Guided Reading


All children take part in daily, 30 minute guided readings sessions. We use an approach built around the VIPERS skills (vocabulary, inference, prediction, explanation, retrieval and sequence/summary (KS2)) to explicitly teach the key skills of reading comprehension to children and immerse them in a wide range of texts.


In KS1, each guided reading session focusses on an explicitly taught VIPERS skill. Each week a high quality, appropriately challenging text is chosen as a focus, rotating between fiction, non-fiction, poetry and song. Application of phonics skills are applied throughout sessions and fluency is developed.


In KS2, on a Monday and Friday, guided reading sessions are focussed on the novel which is being read to the children every afternoon that half term and is used as a stimulus for deeper thinking. Each session starts with a recap of key events, themes and developments that have happened during the week’s reading in order to ensure children are experts in the text.   During these sessions, the explicitly taught skills which teachers focus upon are explanation, prediction, summary and sequencing.  We feel these skills are best taught using a full story which children are au fait using their concrete background knowledge of the text.


On a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday guided reading sessions are focussed on three linked texts, which are taken from our school reading spine. Each year group has carefully selected texts which cover all genres: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, songs and picture books as well as progression, diversity and challenge. Often, links to our foundation subjects are exploited. Fluency practice is built into these sessions and children are exposed to a range of activities to develop rapid, efficient and accurate word recognition skills as well as expressive, oral reading. Other skills taught in these sessions include: vocabulary, inference and retrieval. 


Banded Reading Books


The school uses a variety of reading schemes to provide a wide variety of appropriate, quality texts for children. These have been built up over the years and are updated to ensure our children have a rich and diverse reading experience that covers all reading genres. The schemes incorporated into our reading provision include: Bug Club, Collins Big Cat and some novels, specifically chosen and banded by teachers. All books are ‘Book Banded’ in order to ensure progression and challenge for all children.


In the EYFS and Year One, each child is sent home with a fully decodable book from the Bug Club scheme containing the letter sounds and tricky words they are currently learning in their phonics sessions. The intention is that our children will be able to read books more confidently, using the phonemes they have learnt; this will also help parents to be more informed about the phonemes their child can recognise and use. Therefore, these books are selected by a trained teacher or teaching assistant to ensure books are pitched appropriately for each child.


Once a child has reached the ‘turquoise band’, when they are moving onto ‘Phase 6’,  they will be able to select their own reading books ( from our banded books) as they will be able to fully decode and are ready to apply these skills to more challenging texts.


Children in Year 2 and any children in KS2, who have not passed their phonics screening test, will take home a fully decodable reading book.


In Key Stage 2, children can select their own reading books; the reading bands they are selecting from are monitored regularly by the class teacher, using a fluency assessment from Collins. The assessment ensures that are children are accessing books at an instructional level by measuring the number of words read correct by minute and children’s reading speed. This is correlated to the expected standard to each year group and then matched to the appropriate band. Fluency assessments take place and are tracked each term. This information is used to identify next steps for guided reading sessions and those children who need more targeted supported through interventions. 


These books are read by children on a Tuesday and Thursday during school time. During these sessions, the class teacher and teaching assistant will hear children read, prioritising those who are reading below age related expectations supporting all children to become confident and fluent readers.


All children are expected to take home these banded reading books and read at least three times a week. Reading is to be recorded in a reading diary which is shared as a link between home and the class teacher.


As a school, we are passionate about helping children to develop a love for reading. We believe this love for reading is a stepping stone to becoming an enthusiastic learner and a confident reader, writer and speaker. To support parents and children to broaden their reading horizons and ensure children are reading a range of high quality text appropriate to their age at home, we have created a recommended reads list for each year group. These are shared with parents at our Coffee Morning and are available on our website. A selection of these are available within classrooms for children to borrow. 


Further Enrichment


  • We are fortunate to have our own library and the children have the opportunity once a week to choose a book to take home to read for pleasure. The library is regularly updated with new books to ensure that the choice remains current, relevant and in condition.


  • We strive to create a stimulating and exciting reading environment that encourages a love for reading. Every classroom has a reading display which celebrates reading in the classroom and children have access to a reading area in which they can choose and borrow engaging and high quality texts.


  • Throughout the year, we lead several initiatives that help to build up a stimulating and exciting reading culture throughout the school.  These include: read a million stories campaign, doorways into reading, author visits, world book day, town library summer reading challenge and our Year 2 and Year 6 children are involved the Children’s Book Award.


  • Furthermore, writing lessons are based on an approach that focusses on the development of word and sentence level understanding with many activities making use of skills that will enhance pupils’ comprehension of the written language. 




Phonics skills are actively taught daily throughout Year R, 1 and 2. In the Nursery children do not participate in formal phonics sessions, instead they are exposed to a range of phonological awareness activities to develop the way they hear different sounds. We are using Bug Club as our phonics scheme to provide a clearly defined, incremental sequence to the teaching systematic, synthetic phonics. The scheme ensures that children are exposed to grapheme and phoneme correspondences in a systematic and progressive way.  Children learn together through practice and application, initially learning to discriminate between different sounds (phonemes) and then increasingly being able to decide which letter combination to use to represent the sound, given the word and the position of the sound. 


In Year 1 in the summer term, children are required by the DfE to undertake a phonics screening test. This is completed 1-to-1 with their teacher and is a familiar activity for the children. If children do not meet the required standard they would be required to re-take in Class 2 (statutory process from DfE).


Pupils will continue to have access to the Bug Club programme in Year 3 if their decoding skills are not secure at the end of Key Stage 1.


Please see the Policy for Teaching of Phonics at Callington Primary School for more information- this is attached as a document below.




Children leave Callington with the ability to read widely and often, with fluency and comprehension appropriate to their age but most importantly, with the desire to read for pleasure. Children are able to use their learnt ‘Vipers’ skills to apply their understanding when reading and engaging with a range of texts. Children enjoy reading, feel safe when reading, feel creative and inspired by the books, characters and authors they encounter throughout their time at primary school. As a result of high quality teaching and exposure to a diverse range of reading experiences, children achieve well; this is reflected in results from national tests that meet government expectations and from listening to their reading and talking to children.

Phonics Policy

Reading Action Plan