Together everyone achieves more.

Supporting Reading at Home

Reading together at home is one of the easiest but most important ways in which you can help your child. As you share books you are helping improve your child’s reading skills and also showing them how important and enjoyable reading is.


In terms of reading, we want children to be able to:

  • Enjoy reading and see it as a pleasurable leisure activity, as well as a means of following instructions and finding things out;
  • Have the reading skills necessary to read a range of text types for pleasure and for information;
  • To be confident and competent readers, children need to have access to a range of reading experiences. 

In Early Years and Key Stage One, we teach reading by following the Floppy Phonics Scheme. Click here to open or download more information about this and found out how you can use it to support your child's reading.

Reading Strategies: Pause, Prompt and Praise

PAUSE to help them work out the new words

PROMPT by using some of the techniques mentioned in this booklet

PRAISE them for trying whether they are right or wrong.

It is important to use as many clues as possible to help your child when they encounter difficulty.

Talking about the book with your child at the end will help your child in their enjoyment and understanding of the book.

  • Did you enjoy that book? Why? Why not?
  • Who was your favourite character? Why?
  • Which part did you like the best? Why?
  • Was there any part you didn’t like? Why?
  • Would you choose this book/story again?

Which books are best?

  • Books your child likes.
  • Books suggested by your child’s teacher
  • Books your child chooses from a library or bookshop that they want to read
  • Never be afraid of re-reading books

What else can your child read?

  • Comics or Magazines
  • Instructions or recipes
  • Information books
  • Newspapers
  • Poems
  • Recorded stories

My child is a good reader. Can I still help?

YES! Although children will often want to read in their heads when they become fluent readers and you should not insist on too much reading aloud, there are still many things that you can do. It is recommended that when children reach Purple and Gold level in reading banded books then they should be reading in their head. Discuss with them what they have read – about the character, about the plot, about the important parts of the story, about what they have learnt from the information, about their feelings as they read the story…

My child won’t read, no matter what I do. How can I help?

  • Read to your child as much as possible
  • Don’t make an issue out of it
  • Talk to your child’s class teacher - working together will help

Websites to help the development of Reading at home and School:

Oxford Owl Press

A Story For Bedtime

BBC Parenting website


The Child Literacy Centre

DfES Parents Centre

Help them read

 Parent Link

Read Together

Silly Books

Top Tips for Reading at Home:

  • Keep sessions short
  • Keep sessions relaxed – find a comfortable place where you and your child can settle down
  • Give lots of praise, progress may not always be fast – children do not always find the skill of reading and understanding easy to grasp
  • Talk about the book before you begin to read – look at the front cover, and the pictures (if any) and ask your child to think about or even guess what the book may be about.
  • Ask questions to check your child’s understanding e.g. What might happen next? Why did something happen?
  • Talk about the book afterwards – did your child enjoy it? Why? What was the best bit?
  • If your child struggles over a particular word, try to find ways to help them remember it e.g. by looking at the ‘shape’ of the word, or by guessing the word from the meaning of the sentence.
  • Don’t give up on the bedtime story, even if your child is a good reader. The more stories and books your child hears, the more they will want to read.
  • Be a good model for your children – let them see you reading – anything and everything – newspapers, magazines, catalogues, books etc. – let them know that reading is a valuable skill.
  • Telling them about a book or story you liked when you were a child. You may still be able to find a copy of it on the internet!
  • Making up a story or telling them about when you were a child or something that happened to you at school, remember you don’t always need a book to tell a good story.
  • Taking it in turns to read parts of the story.
  • Telling them one thing you really enjoy about listening to them read.

Helpful questions to ask children when reading:

Children’s understanding of what they have read is the key to success and enjoyment of reading. It allows children to challenge ideas, collect a wider range of vocabulary and become creative writers as they use the language they have acquired to improve their writing. Below are grouped questions under different themes that you may ask your child after they have read. They are some basic question starters that will give you a starting point for the type of questions to ask your child about the book they are reading.

Literal Inference

Where does the story take place?

When did the story take place?

Can you describe the character’s appearance?

Can you predict what the story may be about the title?

Where do the characters live?

Who are the main characters?

What happened in the story?

Can you describe the problem in the story?

How would you solve it?

Can you identify words that describe the setting or character?

What happened after….?

Can you tell me why….?

Look at the picture of the character, how do you think they are feeling?

Why might this be?

Describe what happened at/when.

What do you think will happen next?

 What did the character say to….?

What does the word … imply/make you think of?

 If you were going to interview/ask a character a question-who would you ask and what would your question be?

What do you think will happen because of ……?

Through whose eyes is the story told? Why do you think … feels…?

If this was you, what would you do next?

How have the characters changed during the story?

Predict what you think is going to happen next.

What makes you think this?

How do you know that…? (Deduce/Infer)

What does the main character feel at this point in the story?

How do you know this-can you pick out a sentence?

Structure Choice

How do headings help you when you scan the text?

How does the layout help the reader?

How does the title of the story encourage you to read more?

How does the story blurb on the back cover encourage you to read the book?

What things do you now want to find out after reading the blurb?

Some of the text is printed in a different way, why do you think the writer does this?

Why has the author repeated structures, words and phrases?

What is the purpose of the pictures?

What is the purpose of a caption?

Why did the author choose to change paragraphs here?

Why has the author used ‘fact boxes’ for key points? What is the purpose of the chapter titles?

Which words tell you what order to follow?

What is the writer’s purpose and viewpoint of writing the story?

Can you think of another story that has a similar theme? (good/evil/weak/strong)

Why does the author choose this setting?

What makes this a GOOD story?

What effect do you think the story has on the reader?

Could the story be better? What would you suggest?

What impression does the author want to give of this character? Why?

What is the purpose of this paragraph?

What question would you like to ask the writer of the story?

Who is this advert trying to persuade?

Would you solve the problem in the story in a different way?

Do you think…….was right to ………?

Does the article/story try to get you to care about anything?

What can you tell about what the author thinks?