Reading in school

Children are provided with a range of enjoyable reading experiences so that they become confident readers who can use books effectively for pleasure and information. Reading schemes are used to structure progress at home, while at school a range of cross curricular texts, and opportunities to read independently as well as with an adult, are used to help children develop fluency, expression and comprehension skills. 

Reading at home 

Reading is more than simply decoding text. In order to make good progress, it is vital that children understand what they are reading and can discuss a variety of texts. Research has shown that in the primary years, family influences have a more powerful effect on children’s attainment and progress than school factors. The input of parents and carersin developing their children’s reading skills is therefore invaluable.


Research and Evidence

  • Reading is the single most important skill which will underpin a child’s education.
  • Reading impacts writing, spelling and vocabulary.
  • Children whose parents frequently read with them in their first year of school are still showing the benefit when they are 15.
  • Reading achievement is best where parents engage in activities that involve putting words into broader contexts (such as telling stories or singing songs), read to the child (in the early years and beyond), and listen to their child read on a regular basis.
  • Gains in pupil achievement stemming from parental engagement tend to be permanent.
  • Parents’ own level of education is not a deciding factor, what is important is that parents read with their children on a regular basis (several times a week) and talk about what they are reading.
  • Even fluent readers benefit from reading to an adult and being read to.
  • Long term skills associated with being a skilled reader are innumerable and include communication, empathy, resilience, shared thinking, self-confidence and coherence.

Practical Advice

  • Aim to read for 10-15 minutes. Short and frequent sessions are far more beneficial than longer infrequent ones.
  • Find a relaxing comfortable place away from distractions.
  • Sit side by side so you can both see the page.
  • If it is a new book, talk about the book cover, blurb and why they have chosen it. If it is a book they are continuing, recap the story/key points.
  • If your child is reluctant or tired, read alternate pages for them.
  • Don’t labour over sounding out words and don’t correct every small slip.
  • If they get stuck on a word, pause and give them time to decode it; encourage them to sound out the word (but not on non phonetic words such as because); give the first or last sounds to help them; praise them for attempting the word even if it is incorrect.
  • Don’t let them struggle with a book that is too difficult, read it to them.
  • Vary your reading together: as well as school books, try newspapers, magazines, comics, recipes, games or instructions.
  • Don’t criticise if they keep choosing the same favourite book or series, it’s all part of learning to read.
  • Buy books as presents and visit the library. Charity shops can be a good source of cheaper books.


Questions to ask when you are reading FICTION texts
Questions to ask when you are reading NON FICTION texts 


School Assessment

In order to support and assess children’s reading at school, we use seven assessment foci. They are used to identify children’s reading comprehension and to establish and target individual learning. They can also be used by parents and carers to support and extend the child’s knowledge and understanding.

Assessment Focus 1 – use a range of strategies, including accurate decoding of text, to read for meaning.

Assessment Focus 2 – understand, describe, select or retrieve information, events or ideas. (Seek, find and understand and recall what has happened or the main ideas)

Assessment Focus 3 – deduce, infer or interpret information, events or ideas. (Reading between the lines and make predictions)

Assessment Focus 4 – identify and comment on the structure and organisation of texts.

Assessment Focus 5 – explain and comment on writers’ use of language.

Assessment Focus 6 – explain and comment on writers’ purposes and viewpoints. (Evaluating and developing personal opinions)

Assessment Focus 7 – relate texts to their social, cultural and historical contexts.

Please use the attached sheets for examples of targeted questions to use with your child.


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