Skip to content ↓

Helping your child read at home

Helping your child to decode words.

Children should not be struggling to decode a lot of words in the book they are reading as this will detract from their understanding of the text read. They will also hopefully be able to use and build on the decoding and phonic skills developed during Key Stage 1. However, we do encourage the children to sometimes read a book which contains a degree of challenge as this really helps to develop their vocabulary and writing skills. If they stumble on a word here and there, that gives them the opportunity to practise their decoding skills. Give your child time to work the word out, then consider trying one of these prompts:

  • Break the words into sounds or syllables. Is there part of the word you can read? What sounds can the vowels in the middle of the word make?
  • Read out the whole sentence, missing out the unknown word. What sort of word would fit in the gap?
  • Do you remember this word from one of your spellings?
  • Does it look similar to another word you know?
  • It may still be helpful for the child to use a book mark or finger to run above the word as they read to help them keep their place and not repeat words or start reading words from another line. Many very fluent, avid readers in Year 6 still successfully employ this strategy. 

Helping to develop your child’s understanding of what they have read.

Whilst developing the skills to decode words is an essential building block in the reading process, it is crucial that children understand what they have read. This understanding lays the foundations for good quality writing and a life-long enjoyment of reading.

Question prompts when reading fiction.

  • Can you tell me what has happened so far?
  • What do you think will happen next? Why?
  • Do you like this book? Why? Why not?
  • Is it funny? Which arts are funny? Why?
  • Can you think of a different end to the story?
  • Which words tell you why he/she is thinking or doing something? What words tell you how the character is feeling?
  • Can you read the text with expression? ( If not, read it to them so that they can copy your voice)
  • What do the following marks tells you to do with your voice? ( ! ? , . )
  • Can you describe the setting? What effective descriptions does the author use to describe the setting?
  • Why do you think the character is doing that? Would you do it?
  • Have you read any stories like this before?
  • Who is you favourite character? Why?
  • What does the author want you to think? How does he/ she do this? Look for clues in the words and pictures.

Question prompts when reading non-fiction.

  • What might the book be about? How do you know?
  • What do you already know about the subject?
  • What sort of things might you find out about the book?
  • What have you learnt from this book?
  • Can you find the contents page, index and page numbers? Is there a glossary? Which words in the glossary can you read? Why has a glossary been put in this book? How do you know if words have been put in the glossary as you read the book?

Talk about the page layouts. What is it about the layout which helps you as a reader? Notice the different fonts and text boxes. Have you read another text like this or have you written a text like this?