Supporting your child with reading

At Pucklechurch we know how important it is for teachers and parents to work together to give your child the best start. 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. We have a use the Big Cat reading scheme where the book is matched to the children’s reading ability as well as a diverse range of books in our Reading for Pleasure books. This will enable your child to experience a range of authors and styles of books including non-fiction and poetry. 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

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

Key Questions you can ask to support your child with their 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.

Retrieval questions

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….?

Inference questions

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…?

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

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

Structure questions

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?

Vocabulary questions

What does (word/phrase) mean?

Which words has the author used to make the writing sound more formal/informal?

Why has the author used … (italics, bold, exclamation marks, headings, bullet points, captions etc.)?

What has the author used in the text to make the characters sound funny/sad/angry?

Think of another word you can use here. What different effect would your word have?

As a reader, how do you feel about this character?

What makes you feel that way?

Can you find any similes/metaphors in the story?

Find some adjectives that help you picture the scene/character in your mind.

Find a sentence that encourages you to want to read more of the story.

Why has the author set out the text like this?

Authors viewpoint

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? (e.g. time moves on)

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?


Useful websites:

A Story For Bedtime
BBC Parenting website
The Child Literacy Centre
DfES Parents Centre
Help them read
Silly Books


Choosing a book

Reading and Writing
First Choice Books
Reading Matters

Don’t forget there are lots of other types of reading yor child might enjoy!

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

Phonics websites:

Offers a selection of interactive games for all phonic phases. Mostly simple games.

Has a great selection of games that link well with games in Letters and Sounds.

Letter names come up in alphabetical order

Activities for all phases

‘Deep Sea Phonics’ game with choice of difficulty (some HFWs, some vowel blends, very varied).

Make any words with this useful game.