Reading Skills (VIPERS)
At Piddle Valley, all children from Reception (from Term 2) to Year 4 have a Reading Skills lesson three times a week. In Reception this usually lasts for 20 minutes, and in Years 1, 2, 3 and 4 this lasts for 30 minutes. This lesson is to develop vocabulary and to specifically teach reading comprehension skills through the Literacy Shed's VIPERS. The teachers plan the session based on the class core English text wherever possible. This helps to deepen understanding about the author's use of vocabulary and literary devices as well as support comprehension of the text.
In each session VIPERS are used. VIPERS is an acronym to aid the recall of the six reading domains as part of the UK’s reading curriculum. They are the key areas which we feel children need to know and understand in order to improve their comprehension of texts (please see the posters below).
The six domains focus on the comprehension aspect of reading and not the mechanics: decoding, fluency, prosody etc. As such, VIPERS is not a reading scheme but rather a method of ensuring that teachers ask, and children are familiar with, a range of questions. They allow the teacher to track the type of questions asked and the children’s responses to these which allows for targeted questioning afterwards.
Each session starts with focused discussion time where children are engaged in answering a range of questions based upon different VIPERS. The children are explicitly taught how to draw upon knowledge of vocabulary in order to understand the text, how to pick out information from a text in order to answer questions about it, understand and respond to different types of inference, predict what they think will happen based on the information given, explain reasons and give thoughts and preferences based upon the text.
In Years 1, 2, 3 and 4 the children will then respond to the text by answering VIPERS questions. This response may take a variety of forms. A child may encounter multiple choice questions, true or false questions, question that need a written answer and questions where they fill in the gaps.
Each child from Reception to Year 4 also has a VIPERS reading target (which is communicated to parents via the child's reading journal) every fortnight.