After speaking and listening, reading is the most vital element of English. Without it children find it difficult to engage in the rest of the curriculum as well as not fostering a love for reading. For that reason, we strongly encourage parents to read regularly with their children right through from Reception to Year 6 (and beyond). There are very strong links between the amount of time that children spend reading and how well they do in tests. Indeed one USA based study suggests that children who read for 20 minutes a day read, on average, 1.8 million words a year and typically score in the top 10% whereas a child who reads for only one minute a day reads 8000 words a year and scores in the bottom 10%.
Another key reason for reading with your children is that if a child can’t read 5% of words in a text (about 1 out of every 20) the meaning becomes lost. Reading with your child to helps them overcome unfamiliar or tricky words, so that they understand what they are reading.
In school, when the children are in Key Stage 1 they start by reading phonic based reading schemes such as Oxford Reading Tree or Read Write Inc. The children work through the levels of the reading scheme until they become confident enough to be a free reader. The children are heard read during guided reading sessions but it is not possible to hear all children read individually any more than once or twice every few weeks. When the children enter KS2 (unless they still need a reading scheme) they start a new system called Bookworm. In this system children read either a teacher choice book or one from the library. Once they have finished they sit with an adult and answer comprehension questions so that they can demonstrate their understanding. Again, children get heard read during guided reading sessions but not individually to any great extent.
Here is some general advice on helping your child with their reading:
- Read every night for up to twenty minutes
- Listen to your child read. This helps them to develop their fluency. It is especially important for KS2 children that this continues all the way up to Year 6.
- Read to your child. This will help them to understand how to use expression to bring stories to life and develop their own voice as readers.
- After listening to them, or reading to them, ask them some of the questions from the bookmarks.
- Talk about the meanings of new words.
- Read the same book again and again if you have to!
- Sign the Reading Record Book (at least) three times a week
Below are some super bookmarks produced by Bexton Primary School that might be useful to parents for prompts to use when their children are reading. They are based around the National Curriculum for each age group. Click the links below.