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How can I help my child with reading at home?

3 is the magic number!


Our message through school is to read at least 3 times a week at home. We always encourage a mixed diet of little and often of two book types. A library book and a phonic book. 

Library books

For younger children in school, this would include enjoying a library book together. Perhaps as a bedtime story that is read to them and as the children start to get phonic books to help them learn to read to spend 10 minutes a day practising using their phonics and tricky word skills to read those books.


We want reading habits to establish and a love of books. Library books are the ones that lead to them loving books. You as their favourite grown up are central to this. Snuggling up to their favourite person in the world with a book to relax on an evening = a child and future grown up who wants to read and loves books. We are here to encourage and support you in giving this gift to your child. If they love books and they read they can learn anything and everything.


As the children get older, reading with a grown up is still ideal. Even though they 'can read now' (decode the words) there is still a huge amount of reading to learn. As the decoding of the print (phonics) becomes easier, learning moves to what reading is really about - comprehension.


Enjoy a chapter book together or even read this one to them if they like. It's not cheating! They get a lot from hearing you read - especially around comprehension skills. Ask them questions about what is going on, talk to them about the meaning of words, let them see inside your readers brain and what the book is making you think or question or ponder. This is the best kind of reading teaching and one to one with their favourite grown-up in the world (you!) is so helpful and effective.



Look out for these comprehension bookmarks in your child's book bag to use with either of their books

Phonic Books

As they become ready for it, we will give your child a phonic book to practice together - very important for building phonic reading skills. The skills to read a word correctly. Use this book often.


In Reception, you might use it for 5 or 10 minutes at least 3 times a week. In Year 1, 2 or 3 your child will be keener to do a bit longer between 10 and 20 minutes each time. Gradually, your child will be doing more of the reading and you'll feel the need read a page to give them confidence a bit less.


It is very normal to have to take it in turns with your child reading pages when children begin to read and it is useful for you to do this often even when they are more confident. This can help your child to keep going as they get a little rest and they get to see how you do it, which gives them confidence. Don't worry - this is not cheating!



Reading to understand

You'll start to use the comprehension bookmarks the teacher sends with the books a little more as they get smoother with their reading to check their understanding. The phonic focus books run in this order: Pink, Red, Yellow, Blue, Green, Orange,Turquoise, Purple, Gold, White. By the time a child reaches white, they are pretty confident in reading key sounds (phonics) in English and tricky words by sight (the words you just have to see and read that don't follow phonic rules). They can understand what they read well too, especially the most obvious information.  


Reading after White level is especially focussed on understanding. Many people would consider this 'real reading' or 'the point of reading'. To summarise, it is about understanding all the information and messages given through a book. As we move through school, it is also about being able to see why a writer has decided to use a certain word or design a page in a certain way and think about the effects they were trying to have on the reader. Teachers often call this comprehension and the children from now on in, learn how to talk about books in many different and quite sophisticated ways.


This is the hardest skill of reading and so as children get older - they still need help with reading from an adult as often as possible. The comprehension bookmarks will give you an idea of the kinds of questions to find the answers to when reading with your child. You'll see how tricky some of them can get, so please practice 3 times a week at home to reinforce what they are learning in school.