Reading information and tips
As teachers and parents/carers, we are in a great position to ensure reading is a key part of children’s daily routine so we hope that we can all work together to maximise our children’s potential and develop their love for reading.
Reading allows us to be transported from our own world to another. Between the pages of a book, we can become immersed in the lives of fictional characters and learn about a culture entirely different from our own. We can also learn new words and phrases, experience a range of emotions, and acquire skills and knowledge. As a result of the learning potential, the effects of reading on child development are vast and multiple studies have highlighted its benefits. These include: a larger and more extensive vocabulary, better academic performance, a wilder imagination, development of creative and empathy skills, a deeper understanding of their world, improved concentration, an increased parent/carer and child bond, support with cognitive development and an improvement in social skills and interaction.
In December 2020 we conducted a pupil survey on the children's thoughts and attitudes towards reading. Click here to view results
Therefore, starting in the autumn term (Sept 2021) we are focusing on improving the reading and comprehension skills across the whole school (this would have been implemented earlier but Covid hampered our plans). This will involve many aspects, including interventions, reading clubs, celebrations, incentives and rewards. This was due to begin in January 2021 but due to the partial school closure as a result of Covid lockdown, this was postponed.
It is important that children read at home and we would like to strongly encourage this. It really does make a massive difference. They can read to parents/carers, siblings, grandparents…. As an incentive to do so, we will be introducing a reward system for the children. Those who read for five consecutive days out of seven in a week, will receive a certificate in assembly for KS1. In KS2 they will receive an item of stationery. Teachers will keep a record for each child and those who read five days consecutively per week for the whole half term will receive a prize, and those who read five days consecutively per week for the whole term will receive a book of their choice to keep.
In order to assist us with this incentive we would ask that children’s reading diaries are signed by whoever hears them read. Please feel free to add a comment such as: well done, lovely reading, excellent expression, found this hard, struggled with fluency or anything else you would like to tell us about their reading. Alternatively, you can just write the date and sign your name so we know that your child has read at home. We are happy for children to read to themselves and write a comment. However, we do ask that an adult then signs the reading diary too.
We are planning various competitions and reading challenges throughout the year to encourage our children to develop their love of reading. The autumn term will also see the introduction of our first reading After School Club for KS1 with Mrs Motley. This will involve reading and sharing texts with accompanied activities and tasks. Staff will also give you links to various helpful and fun reading websites in the school newsletters, as well as recommending books and discussing reading.
To further assist you we will be holding a Reading and Phonics session for parents/carers of Reception and KS1 children as well as comprehension sessions for years 3 and 4 and a SATs paper session for years 5 and 6 in the autumn term. We will provide you with more information as to why reading is so important and some tips and resources that you can use with your child/children.
Here are some more tips to help you enjoy storytime together:
- Ask your child to choose what they’d like to read. They’ll feel more interested in the story if they’ve picked it out themselves. (And don’t worry if they keep returning to the same story, either!)
- If you can, turn off the TV, radio and computer. It’s easier for both of you to enjoy the story without any other distractions.
- Sit close together. You could encourage your child to hold the book themselves and turn the pages, too.
- Take a look at the pictures. You don’t just have to read the words on the page. Maybe there’s something funny in the pictures that you can giggle about together, or perhaps your child enjoys guessing what will happen next.
- Ask questions and talk about the book. Picture books can be a great way to talk through your child’s fears and worries, or to help them deal with their emotions. Give them space to talk, and ask how they feel about the situations in the story.
- Have fun! There’s no right or wrong way to share a story – as long as you and your child are having fun. Don’t be afraid to act out situations or use funny voices… your little ones will love it!
Here are some ideas to encourage your child's love of reading:
- Read yourself! It doesn’t matter what it is – pick up a newspaper or magazine, take a look at a cookery book, read a computer manual, enjoy some poetry or dive into a romance or detective novel. And get your children to join in – if you’re cooking, could they read the recipe? If you’re watching TV, can they read out the listings?
- Give books as presents. And encourage your children and their friends to swap books with each other – it’ll give them a chance to read new stories, and get them all talking about what they’re reading.
- Visit the local library together. It’s always fun choosing new books to read, and keep an eye out for special author events at the library or local bookshops – children love meeting their favourite authors. Jacqueline Wilson and Anthony Horowitz always have signing queues that are miles long!
- Encourage children to carry a book at all times. That way, they’ll never be bored (this is something you can do, too!)
- Have a family bookshelf. If you can, have bookshelves in your children’s bedrooms, too.
- Keep reading together. Just because your children are older, it doesn’t mean you have to stop sharing stories – perhaps you could try the Harry Potter series or A Series of Unfortunate Events.
- Don’t panic if your child reads the same book over and over again. Let’s be honest - we’ve all done it!
But what if your child doesn't enjoy reading? Whether they find it difficult or think it's boring, it's not always something young people are keen to do. But here are some things that could help...
- Talk about books. Talking to children about books and stories can help them to realise how exciting they are. Show an interest in what they've read, ask questions about it, and swap opinions.
- Make it fun! There are so many fun things you can do with books beyond reading them. Maybe you could ask your children to draw their favourite character or act out what they've read for you. Or perhaps you could try recreating some classic book covers and taking photos!
- ... and try funny books. Everyone likes a good giggle! (If your child is brave, scary stories or gory horror might be worth a go too.)
- Don't worry about what your children are reading. Whether it's a short story, poetry, a graphic novel, non-fiction, joke books, a comic or even the back of a cereal packet, it doesn't matter what your child is reading - as long as they're enjoying it! Anything could kickstart a love of books. (And don't panic if they read the same book over and over again, either). You could try an audio book.
- Give them the chance to choose. It's a great idea to give children the chance to choose what they read. Maybe you could take them to a bookshop and let them pick out something as a treat, or make regular library visits to help them figure out what they enjoy.
- Enjoy books out loud! Why not read part of a book to your child, then leave it with them to explore further on their own? Children might enjoy listening to audiobooks, too – the combination of hearing the story out loud and holding the physical book could be a big help. Why not try listening to a story the next time you're in the car together? You could try
- Find books related to their interests. If your child is a gamer, why not try choose-your-own-adventure books, Minecraft guides or stories about virtual reality? If they like sport, you could try one of Kwame Alexander's verse novels or a biography of their favourite football player. If a book is about something they already love, it could be a brilliant way to get them hooked. Or perhaps their favourite film is based on a book - you could enjoy the story together and talk about how the movie and the original story are different.
- Try series fiction. If your child loves the first Harry Potter book, there are six more stories for them to dive into! There are some wonderful series out there that have converted reluctant readers into bookworms - you could try the Tom Gates books by Liz Pichon or the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.
The Government and DfE have also produced a document on 10 tips for parents to support children with learning. Click here for the link.
In school some children undertake a Lexia computer programme to assist them with their reading and phonics. For information on how to access Lexia at home, please see the Lexia tab.