St Nicholas Church of EnglandPrimary Academy


Welcome toSt Nicholas Church of England Primary Academy


“As Jesus is the light of the world, we shine to show His light and love.”

At St Nicholas Primary Academy we know that for children to be successful in life reading is essential. Research suggests that it is in fact the number one predictor of life chances.  So reading and developing a love for the written word in any format is at the heart of everything we aim to do!


Reading for Pleasure


To encourage a love of reading every class in the school has a dedicated story time session.  During these times, adults will share a high quality text with the children with no demands on them other than to 'enjoy' listening.  The children look forward to this time each day and love to talk about the stories they have heard.  To ensure the children have a wide range of experiences, meet different writing styles and authors we have purchased the books recommended by Pie Corbett in his reading and poetry spine list. If you would like to investigate further the books each year group will encounter, click the link below!

Pie Corbett's Reading Spine

Listen to Pie Corbett tell you more about the reading spine.

Reading at Home


All children are encouraged to read at home every day.  All children will select their own choice of books from the coloured book band their teacher has assessed to be the correct level for them.  Each term teachers will ensure children are reassessed to ensure they can progress through the book band colours when they are ready.  In each book band box the children have access to fiction, non-fiction and poetry books from a range of authors.  For early readers these books are closely matched to the phonics they are learning and the children will always have at least one fully decodable book to read. These early readers may come from Oxford Reading Tree, Read write Inc or other phonetic books.


In addition to their book band book all children are encouraged to visit our library and select their own reading materials.  The library is well stocked with a range of picture books, short stories, novels and poetry books as well as a range of non-fiction books.  Choosing a book from the library is a magical time, where children can choose a favourite story they have read many times, a new adventure or something they would like someone to read to them at rules, just reading for pleasure!


Reading Lessons


Early readers at St Nicholas CofE Primary Academy  are taught phonics discretely everyday through the letters and sounds program.  Teachers also place a big emphasis in the reading of texts daily.  As with all classes across the school, a big feature of this is our daily story time where children can sit, listen and enjoy a range of high quality texts.  (To find out more about phonics please click the link at the bottom of the page.)


As children move through KS1 they begin their journey of 'reading to learn' rather than 'learning to read' and to promote this a daily 45 minute discrete reading lesson is taught.  This enables children to focus on developing their  fluency and also their understanding of what they read. On Mondays and Fridays these lessons are based around the whole class novel being enjoyed in story time, giving time for children to explore issues in the book, discuss ideas and opinions and gain understanding of how stories develop and change.  Speaking and listening is at the heart of these lessons, teaching children to communicate their ideas with others in an effective way.


Reading VIPERS is our way of supporting children with their reading comprehension skills. 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.



This poster is displayed in all classrooms. Up to the end of Year 2, the 'S' stands for 'Sequence'. Once children move into Year 3, the 'S' stands for 'Summarise', which is a more demanding skill.


If we ensure that children are competent in all of these reading skills, we are covering all of the National Curriculum requirements and enabling them to be strong, confident readers. This acronym is just a great way of helping children and parents to remember what these vital skills are.

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.

  EYFS - YR2 YR3-6

What does the word ..... mean in this sentence?

What does this word or phrase tell you about .....?

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

Find one word in the text which means .....

Which word tells you that .....?


Why was .....? feeling .....?

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

How can you tell that .....?

What impression of .....? do you get from

these paragraphs?


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

What is happening? What do you think happened before? 

Do you think ..... will happen? Yes, no or maybe?

Explain your answer using evidence from the text. 

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


Who is your favourite character? Why?

Is there anything you would change about this story?

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

The mood of the character changes throughout the text.

Find and copy the phrases which show this. 

How does the author engage the reader here?

Why is the text arranged in this way?


How many .....?

What happened to .....?

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



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?

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