Reading for Pleasure
At St Margaret Clitherow Primary School our intention is that pupils become enthusiastic readers and develop knowledge and a life-long love of books. We want children to enjoy a range of high quality fiction, non-fiction and poetry books in school and at home.
Reading with your child is vital. Research shows that it’s the single most important thing that you can do to help your child’s education. It’s best to read little and often, so try to put aside some time for reading every day.
Think of ways to make reading fun- you want your child to learn how pleasurable books can be. If you’re both enjoying talking about the content of a particular page, linger over it for as long as you like.
Supporting your child ‘s reading development:
- Make sure your home is a reading home - have a family book box/ shelf and make sure there are shelves in your child's bedroom for books. Ensure that your child sees you reading. It doesn't matter if it's the newspaper, a cookery book, romantic novel, detective mystery, short stories, computer manual, magazine - anything!
- Take time to look together at the words and pictures in a story. Picture books are important reading for children at all ages and stages of reading and looking for meaning in the illustration is just as important as the text. Take time to pore over pictures and talk about what you can see and what this adds to the story played out in the words.
- Bring reading to life by using your voice in different ways. Create voices for characters, pause for suspense, sing along with rhyming books, use animal sounds like woof, growl and hoot – this will really help to bring the story to life. Don’t be shy - relax and enjoy – if you are having fun so will your child. If you have more than one child, make this a family time to share and enjoy songs, rhymes, poems and stories.
- Encourage your child to join in - ask your child to read out a recipe for you as you cook, read the TV listings to plan what to watch, read the newspaper to catch up on events or a shopping list around the supermarket. Encourage children to carry a book at all times so they can read on journeys or in spare moments – you can do this, too!
- As children get older, reading to them and hearing them read to you is still a vital part of their reading experience. Keep reading aloud to your child, even when they can read by themselves. You could also try reading the same book together as children get older. There are lots of books that both adults and young people can enjoy, such as the Harry Potter series. Make the talk light-hearted, not testing or over-questioning.
- Talk about what you’ve read to your child, what you’ve heard them read or read together. Discuss the characters, settings and storylines, talk about favourite moments or parts of the text they didn’t enjoy. Encourage them to make links with other things they have read or seen, or to their own personal experiences. Can they remember a time they have felt like the character? Been somewhere like the place where the story was set?
- Go to libraries, festivals or bookshops when authors are visiting. Children and teenagers love meeting their favourite authors. Lots of local bookshops have a visiting author programme and there are some wonderful local festivals that host author events.
- Visit charity shops or car boot sales to buy used good quality books
- Don't panic if your child reads the same book over and over again, this is important and lets them commit the story to memory, revisit favourite parts and enjoy the reading as they are more confident with the story.
- Encourage your child and friends to swap books with each other. This will encourage them to talk and think about the books they are reading.
- Give books or book tokens as presents and encourage others to do so.
How to Choose
Remember that it doesn’t matter what children read: helping them to enjoy reading and find texts they want to read is the important thing. This might mean they find a book, collection of short stories or even a graphic novel, but it also might mean that they find a range of online articles, websites or magazines they enjoy reading.
You could look at fiction books related to topics they are interested in, or encourage them to read about it online.
If they’ve enjoyed a book before, encourage them to read another text by the same author.
You and your child could spend some time browsing library or book shop shelves, speaking to the staff or reading book reviews online.
If you are browsing in a shop/library (Willesden/Cricklewood, Brent Civic Centre) or online (Oxford Owl), you could read the back of the books (blurbs) and a page from the start to help decide whether this feels like something your child would like to read more of.
Be mindful about your child’s reading level so that they can access the vocabulary the text contains.
Questions to ask your child whilst reading
Before you read
Make predictions before you read something together. This could be based on what will happen next in a story, what an article could be about based on the headline or what clues the book cover can give about the narrative.
- What do you think the cover suggests about the story?
- What do you think will happen next in the story?
- What does the headline suggest the article might be about?
- What do you think you will learn/find out?
Discuss Knowledge and experiences
Discussing any knowledge or experience they have about a topic may help them to understand a text better or to make connections. For example, if you are reading a text about dinosaurs, you could ask what they can recall about dinosaurs, it can even be about Jurassic Park!
- What do you already know about…?
- Do you remember the time we read/watched/visited…?
During or After your Reading - Check Understanding Regularly
As you read, you will come across words and information they may not fully understand. Make sure you pause and check your child’s understanding, thoughts or ideas about something they’ve read regularly to ensure that they definitely understand what they are reading.
- What do you think ….… means?
- If neither of us know what it means, how could we find out?
- What do you think the writer is suggesting here?
- Which pieces of information do you think are most important and why?
- Is the writer saying ..… or ..…? Why do you think that?
Ask questions to think more deeply
Discuss why the writer has chosen to represent characters, events, settings in a certain way - don’t worry if you do not have all the answers! The important thing is to have a discussion with your child and encourage them to think about what they’ve read more deeply. Praise your child and encourage their discussion, ideas and thinking. ‘I wonder……’ questions can work well here as they leave discussion more open.
- I find your thinking behind that idea really interesting. Why do you think that?
- I wonder why the writer has chosen to use the word ..…? What does it make you think of/feel?
- Why do you think the writer presented the character/setting like this?
- What is the purpose of the article/speech? How can you tell?
- Why might ..… be important?
- How are ..… and ….. alike/different?
Summarising ideas and Information
The most important step of all, summarising the ideas and information they have read, provides an opportunity to check for any misunderstandings your child may have and to consolidate their learning. Try to summarise at appropriate points throughout the text. Don’t wait until the end of the text or the chapter when they may have forgotten something.
- What are the three most important pieces of information in the text?
- What is the most interesting thing you have learnt and why?
- Which five words are key to the text and why?
- Is the tone/topic the same at the beginning and the end?
- What have you learnt?
- Were your predictions accurate? Why/why not?