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The Learning Curve

Mougins School: How can I help with reading at home?
  • Primary Matters
Jenna Witcombe

The skill of reading is one of the most important things we can teach our children. Mastering the skill of reading can open an entire new world and extend a child’s understanding of concepts, ignite imagination and allow them to enter the magical world of fantasy. 

Like in other areas of learning, children will master this complex skill at different times and therefore will progress through the skills of reading at different rates. One of the most important things we can do to support children as teachers and parents is to ensure they feel positive about themselves as a reader. 

There are two main areas of reading that children learn at school. In their first few years of school, they will learn the complex skill of word reading. More specifically, understanding that each sound in words is made up of a letter or group of letters. This skill is learnt and practised through teaching phonics. Children from Launchpad and in Key Stage 1 are taught this fundamental skill in class using a synthetic, systematic approach and one of the most satisfying ways parents can support their child’s progress at home, is to read with their child every day. To spark a love of reading, children need to understand what they are reading, be exposed to vocabulary beyond their zone of learning and most importantly enjoy books. 

The department for Children, Schools and families have released this advice to parents:

  • Be positive. Praise your child for trying hard at their reading. It’s alright to make mistakes. 
  • If you find a word that is difficult, sound it out. 
  • It’s not just books your child can read. Comics, signs, and labels on food will all widen your child’s vocabulary.
  • Read yourself. Set a good example by reading for pleasure and talking about the reading you do at work and home.

As children enter Key Stage 2, they will likely have taken on the fundamental skills of an early reader. Once they can read fluently, understanding what they have read, checking that it makes sense and using inference skills becomes important. To support your child with this stage of reading, it is recommended to hear them read aloud and to encourage them to read in depth on their own. You can then explore their understanding of the book using some simple recall (who/what/where) and comprehension questions. Here are a few of the types of questions you might like to ask to check for understanding:

  • What do you think is happening here?
  • Why do you think they did that?
  • Can you explain …?
  • Who was telling the story?
  • I wonder if…?
  • What do you feel about …?
  • What do you think this means?

If you would like some more tips on how to support your child with their reading at home or to better understand how we teach reading, contact your class teacher and they’ll be happy to help. 


Jenna Witcombe

Year 2 Teacher

  • Primary