Reading at Home: AGuide for Parents and Carers of SMMA Pupils in Key Stage 2
Guide to reading in KS2
At SMMA, we are passionate about supporting your child with their reading. Evidence* tells us that reading for pleasure has a number of benefits for pupils: breadth of vocabulary; pleasure in reading in later life; increased general knowledge, better understanding of other cultures; and greater insight into human nature and decision making. There is also evidence** to suggest that pupils who read more are better readers and those that read more are six times more likely to be above their expected reading age.
At SMMA, reading is a focus point of the day. Whether this is learning how to decode in the younger years in phonics lessons, reading in class during guided reading lessons, accessing texts in other subjects like RE or Unit of Inquiry, visiting the school library or choosing books from our Reading Road Map scheme.
But those pupils who are reading at home are getting more reading practice than those who don’t. If we imagine that pupils in school will be reading for at least 30 minutes a day in school - that is just under 1200 minutes in the school year. If those same pupils were reading for 30 minutes at home for at least five days a week throughout the year that would be the difference of over 6500 more minutes reading in a year. You can imagine that the child with much more practice would be the more confident, mature reader and have gained the other benefits on the way.
What are we asking you to do?
Some pupils are already in the habit of reading regularly, but there are others who we want to support to get into the habit of regular reading. We are asking for your support in encouraging your child to read regularly at home by adopting the following system. As part of their homework, children are required to read five times/week and record this on a weekly basis in the ‘Reading Book, Pages & Comments’ section of their pupil planner.
- Children in Yr 3 and 4 will require an adult at home to sign this section of the planner on a weekly basis to confirm that they have undertaken the required reading.
- Children in Yr 5 and 6 who are preparing to be more independent in Secondary school will be trusted to sign this off themselves. They are at this age less likely to read directly with an adult.
- The following week, either the class teacher or TA will check each child’s planner to monitor the amount of reading that they have completed.
- If children have not read five times that week, a sticker will be stuck into the child’s planner in order to communicate this with you.
If a child continues to not read sufficiently at home, a larger note will be stapled into the planner in order to communicate this with you. Your child may be asked to read during their break-time. In the event of a child still not reading on a regular basis outside of school, we will contact you to discuss how we can best work together in order to support your child.
I find it hard to get my child to read. What can I do?
We realise that sometimes reading at home can be challenging. Allow your child to regularly read texts of their own choice for pleasure, rather than reading for a set amount of time or with a text they are forced to read. Choice is important. You may still be sharing books and reading to your child at the end of the day—that’s fantastic and counts as reading—record this in the planner. Sometimes they want to keep reading when you have other jobs to do—that’s great! Now your child is older though, you may find that you are no longer sharing books together and they want to read alone. That’s also OK. Show interest in what they’ve been reading by asking them questions about it. Talking together is a great way of you encouraging your child.
What type of things should they be reading?
Remember lots of texts count as reading! Get them to choose something they will enjoy such as: short stories, magazines, newspapers, football comics, graphic novels, poetry to full length novels. We will continue to support you at school by providing access to free books from our school library and our Reading Roadmap Scheme. Our Reading Road Map Scheme is designed to expose children to a range of genres—they may find something in there they didn’t realise they would like. Don’t forget our local libraries are an amazing resource that you can join for free to access books of their choice. You can find out about these here https://www.islington.gov.uk/libraries-arts-andheritage/libraries What we would say is that puzzle books, while a lot of fun and great for other skills, would not count! While reading text is important, audio books are another way that you can increase your child’s exposure to stories and vocabulary—some families listen to these while on car journeys.
Is it okay if my child wants to read the same thing again?
Absolutely! Rereading helps to build fluency, understanding and confidence. Lots of adults reread books, so why shouldn’t children?
Where should my child be reading?
It’s helpful if there can be somewhere comfortable that your child can read. They may want to read in their room on their bed, on the sofa or on a beanbag. Lots of families share bedtime stories—this is great way to end the day and to spend quality time with your child. But it’s also good to carry books around with you for those times when you may be waiting. Doctors and dentists appointments or even on the bus—just remember to look up and see which stop you are at!
What if I am not confident or don’t enjoy reading myself?
This can be difficult. But we would encourage you to be positive about reading in front of your child as it has such long term benefits for them. Your child is likely to be reading texts independently now—perhaps they can read with a sibling or another family member. Parents say it is really lovely watching older siblings read stories to younger ones.
Please come and talk to us in school if you have any other questions. Happy reading!
* Clark, C., and Rumbold, K. (2006). Reading for Pleasure a research overview. The National Literacy Trust.
** Clark, 2011 Setting the Baseline: The National Literacy Trust’s first annual survey into reading - 2010. National Literacy Trust