It is important that the children are reading with an adult at home 4 times a week and discussing what they are reading. There are many skills that we work on when developing the children’s reading:
Decoding: this is the skill that parents are generally most familiar with, and deals with the varying strategies used by children to make sense of the words on the page. Even fluent readers can be stumped by an unfamiliar word, and it is useful at these times to discuss the range of strategies used to make a sensible guess.
Retrieval and recall: early readers need to develop this skill, in order to locate important information and to retell stories and describe events.
Inference: reading between the lines. Encouraging children to make inferences based on clues in the text and their understanding of the context of the book will help them to develop this important skill.
Structure and organisation: as children read a wider range of text types, they need to be able to comment on the features of each and how they are organised. Discussing the presentation of the text, e.g. the use of subtitles to assist reading of a non-fiction text, and the author’s reason for organising the text in this way, will support children’s development in this area. Making links between the purpose of the text and its organisation is a useful place to start.
Language: specifically, thinking about the language choices made by writers, their possible reasons for making those choices and the effect the choices have on the reader. Discussing alternative choices and their effects can be a good way to begin discussion about the author’s language and an opportunity to develop vocabulary generally.
Purpose and viewpoint: Who is the narrator of this story? What does the writer of this biography feel about his/her subject? Children need to understand that writers write for a purpose, and to be able to recognise that this will have an impact on the way a text is written. Newspapers and advertisements are perfect examples of this and can lead to lots of lively discussions.
Making links: as adults, we are constantly making links between ideas and experiences. Good readers connect the book they are reading with real life experiences; with other books read and stories heard; with films; and with the context in which they were written. A child reading ‘Goodnight Mister Tom’, for example, will need to place the story within the context that it was written to fully understand it. They might also link it with other stories read, such as ‘Friend or Foe’ or ‘Carrie’s War’.
Below are links to questions which are linked to the points above. You could also let the children ask you the question, so that you can model answers.
We have collected book ideas from pupils and staff to create a list of recommended reads. We have also created a list of the children's favourite authors. Click on the documents below to take a look.