Reading

Your child’s reading experience is much more than the reading book which comes home from school. Reading is happening all the time in a classroom and in school. It is taught in specific reading and English lessons, but children are practising and using their ‘reading’ constantly across all subjects too.

A child’s ‘reading journey’ begins with ‘learning to read’ and moves on into ‘reading to learn’. This advice will help you to understand how reading is taught and developed.

Parental Reading Questionnaire

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I would like to hear your opinions on reading for pleasure. Could you please spare a minute to complete the questionnaire below and return it to [email protected]

Thank you

1. What year group is your child in?*
2. How often do you read with your child?*
3. How often does your child read at home independently? (This could be looking at pictures in a book).*
4. My child enjoys reading at home. Do you agree with this statement?*
5. Which of the following does your child enjoy reading at home?
Fiction books (books that are not true)
Non-fiction books (books that contain facts)
Picture books
Websites
Magazines or comics
Audiobooks
Poetry
Books in other languages
Other - Please specify
6. Please list three benefits of promoting reading for pleasure at home.
7. Please list three difficulties of promoting reading for pleasure at home.
8. As far as you are aware, how does your child's class teacher encourage your child to read for pleasure at school?
School library or reading books
Guided reading
Reading corner/book area
First News
Unsure
Other - Please specify
9. How does your child's class teacher encourage your child to read for pleasure at home?
Public Library
School library or reading books
A list of current children's books (e.g. related to the topic)
Unsure
10. How could your child's class teacher further promote reading for pleasure at home? (Please give three points if possible)
11. Do you feel confident in promoting reading for pleasure at home?*
12. Would you like to know more about how we teach reading in school?
If so, would you be willing to attend a parent workshop either online or in person? (when the COVID guidance permits this).
13. Do you think your child would read more at home if they had access to books online?

Thank you for your time and commitment to your child’s reading in school. If you would like any further information or support, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s class teacher via Tapestry, Class Dojo or MS Teams

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Reading in Reception

Reading skills:

You’ll probably hear from your child about different methods of teaching and practising reading such as:

Phonics:

In Reception, children begin to learn to read using phonics– learning to crack the alphabetic code. This involves learning letter sounds and shapes, hearing and saying the sounds in words in the correct order as well as being well on the way to being able to read and write the 44 phonemes or sounds in the English language. They also need to recognise and remember those tricky words that cannot be sounded out letter by letter e.g. the or said.

Our pupils will use special phonic decodable books that help them to practise their early reading.

Comprehension:

Children also draw on their own experiences (the language and stories they know), the setting of the story and the pictures to help them understand what they are reading about. Comprehension skills are vital in making sense of what the words say and interpreting meaning.

The teaching of reading:

In Reception, the teaching and practice of reading begins to be teacher-led, through whole class sessions or group or guided reading. Individual reading practice might be with the teacher or teaching assistant

Reading linked to writing:

Once children begin to sound out letters to read words, they can begin to say the sounds needed to write simple words and are encouraged to have a go at this from early on. Your child will start to write simple sentences, to form letters correctly and to begin to notice punctuation marks and to use them.

Reading in Year 1

Phonics:

Children will continue to learn to read using phonics. Children will still be learning letter sounds for reading and spelling, but these will become more complex. For example, they will look at the same sounds but with different spelling patterns, such as long vowel sounds, e.g. ai, ay, a-e. It’s valuable to help them with these sounds at home when you are reading together and reinforce the letter sounds from the previous year so that children start to automatically apply their phonic skills when reading unfamiliar words.

Children are also expected to recognise some tricky words by sight. They will continue to build up a bank of tricky sight vocabulary.

In England, when children are 6 years old (in the Summer term of Year 1) they sit a statutory phonics reading check to ensure they are making good progress in the basic phonic skills.

Comprehension:

Children also draw on their own experiences (the language and stories they know), the setting of the story and the pictures to help them understand what they are reading about. Comprehension skills are vital in making sense of what the words say and interpreting meaning.

The teaching of reading:

The teaching and practice of reading will be more teacher-led now than in the early years, so whole class teaching or group or guided reading really begin to feature more strongly. Individual reading practice might be with the teacher or teaching assistant.

Reading in Year 2

Speedy reading and writing:

Your child will be expected to read and spell many words automatically using phonics , especially when tackling unknown words. Your child will also now be able to recognise by sight, read and spell many of the common and tricky words.

Talking about text:

At this age your child should be able to draw together ideas and information from across a whole book or piece of writing and discuss how particular words and phrases are used. Most children should be able to give reasons for why things are happening in stories and how characters change. You can help by talking about books at home.

Noticing features of text:

Your child will be looking at texts of all kinds to notice special features such as chapters, labels, speech bubbles, diagrams, price lists, site menus and so on. It’s good to talk about these if you come across them when sharing books together.

Towards independence:

Your child will be working more independently now, although there will still be whole class and group/guided reading opportunities in class to teach a particular reading/writing focus. There is still time for one-to-one reading in school, but we encourage your child to read on their own, sometimes silently, as well as with you.

Choosing books:

Your child will be expected to make book choices now and be able to say what they liked about a book (and what they didn’t like!). Some children may bring home books that are not levelled or colour coded but may be from the library whilst others may still need the careful levelling of our reading scheme.

Extra support:

If your child hasn’t quite taken off with reading then extra support will be provided by the teacher or specialist teacher, in consultation with you. This support is usually small group work and may be in or out of the classroom. Your support and encouragement are hugely important, so make sure you read with or to your child every day if possible, to encourage them.

Assessment:

Assessment for young children is mainly used to inform the teacher’s planning so they can support each child in their class.

To support the teacher’s assessment of how well your child has settled in and the progress they are making, there are a number of simple checks or tests:

  • A teacher assessment at the end of KS1 in maths, reading and writing.
  • A grammar, punctuation and spelling test.

Reading in Years 3 & 4

Most children will be really taking off with their reading in these years. Many will be reading much more fluently and starting to tackle chapter books, as well as developing their own reading interests and opinions. There are still new skills to learn, though. Reading in these years is about better understanding what has been read and beginning to think about how and why writers write.

Reading to learn:

Children in these years read across a wide range of subjects and topics in the classroom. They are taught how to decide what they need to know, and then how to find and use information from sources such as dictionaries. They learn to work more confidently in groups and to discuss, share, and express opinions.

Reading and writing skills:

When reading and spelling new words, your child should be able to use their knowledge of how words are structured to help them read aloud and work out meanings. Teachers will encourage children to use sentences, punctuation, and words more adventurously in their writing. Your child will receive weekly spellings to be learned.

Your child will be learning to become an independent, fluent, and enthusiastic reader and writer. For example, they will use more varied grammar and vocabulary. They will also read, rehearse, and perform extracts and whole texts to improve their ability to speak well in different situations and with different people.

Independent reading:

Your child will choose their own reading books more frequently now, although some children still benefit from levelled books at this stage (to help them take steps towards reading longer books and to build their reading confidence). There will still be whole class and group/guided reading sessions where the teacher goes over aspects of reading and writing. During these years pupils will be encouraged to read alone and with you at home, sometimes silently.

Assessment and reading:

Teachers will still be assessing all the time, by collecting examples of your child’s reading and recording their observations. Pupils will take end-of-year practice tests. It’s very common for children to assess or mark each other’s work as well as their own, as this can be an effective form of learning. You will be kept informed about your child’s progress (through record books and parents’ evenings).

If your child is finding reading tricky, extra support will be provided by the teacher or specialist teacher. This support is often through small group work and may be in or out of the classroom. Your support and encouragement are hugely important but, as ever, talk to your child’s teacher if you are worried.

Reading in Years 5 & 6

So, your child is now at the top end of our school. The focus is now on preparing them to be ready for the demands of the secondary school curriculum. Most children will be reading fluently across all types of books and texts that vary in content, length, purpose, and type. Your child will be using their reading for learning across all subjects as well as for pleasure, and they’ll be developing their own reading tastes.

Reading and other language skills:

The emphasis is now on your child reading and responding to what they read accurately and fairly quickly. They will be using accurate grammar and punctuation, as well as adventurous ideas, words, sentences, and paragraphs, to improve their writing as they draw on their wider reading experience. Your child should also be able to read and spell unfamiliar words using their knowledge of phonics and word structure. They will develop their spoken language through public speaking, performance, and debate.

Reading to learn:

Children in Years 5 and 6 use their reading for different purposes across different subjects. For example, they might research a historical topic, explore biographical information, or read for pleasure. They will continue to explore how writers make their writing interesting and effective and will be improving their writing skills themselves. In school, they’ll be able to work confidently in groups and independently. They will be discussing, sharing, and expressing opinions and understanding decision making. They’ll enjoy making comparisons between what they see on the internet, on television, and in books.

Independent reading

Your child will now be choosing their own reading books. There will still be whole class and group/guided reading sessions in class, where children will be taught quite specific reading and writing skills. One-to-one reading in school is probably now reserved for those who need extra support so reading at home, independently, together, and out loud is still very important.

Assessment

Teacher assessment and peer assessment continues. In England, there are national tests in May every year in maths, reading, grammar, punctuation, and spelling, as well as teacher assessment of maths, reading, writing, and science. You’ll be kept informed about your child’s progress in preparation for joining secondary school, but if you’re worried then please talk to your child’s teacher sooner rather than later.