Reading Advice for Parents
For information on reading expectations within our school, please refer to the ‘Reading at Greenleys Junior School’ page stuck into the front of your child’s reading record.
Reading is an incredibly important life skill that all children need to have. It is essential that you take the time as often as possible, preferably daily, to listen to your child read, or to read to them. Children love having stories read to them and this can be a lovely way to end the day with your child.
If your child is a reluctant reader, limit the amount of time you read with them each day to a few minutes, or one or two pages; increase this progressively over time.
It does not hurt to read the same story over and over until your child wishes for another, often the familiarity of the story is comforting.
We place equal importance on the discussion of a story as we do the reading of it. The following ideas offer some suggestions of questions you can ask your child before, during and after reading.
Talk about the book with your child. Ask some questions before reading such as
• What do you think this book is about? Why?
• What is the title?
• Who is the illustrator?
Praise your child when they get words right. If your child is stuck on a word ask them to sound it out, what does the word start with? Can you find any familiar small words within the larger one e.g. Begin
be – g – in
These are some questions you might want to ask as you are reading:
• Tell me about…
• What might happen next?
• How do you feel about…?
• How did … feel?
• Who said…?
• What words tell me…?
• Tell me two important things about…
• What do you think this word means?
• What does that word make you feel?
• What does this word tell us?
• What does that word tell you about the character?
• Why is this word a good one to use?
• What word rhymes with …?
Before the end of the story ask:
• What do you think will happen in the end?
• Why do you think that?
After reading, ask some questions about the book(s)
• Did you like this story? Why?
• Have you ever done anything like … (name character)?
• Do you know any other stories that have a character like this one?
• Did you like this book more or less than …?
• What would you tell someone else about this book to make them read it?
• What did you think about the ending?
• What would you ask the author?
To promote reading further at our school, the children collect ‘Book Points’ each academic year. The ‘Book Points’ are earned by reading the expected amount at home weekly (three times a week) and ensuring your child’s reading record is signed by an adult to show this. As well as this, ‘Book Points’ can also be earned by your child when completing a number of different reading activities outside of school to promote their love of reading. These could include writing a book review, completing a piece of art work related to a book, a photo of your child reading in a peculiar place and visiting a library to name a few.
‘Book Points’ will earn children reading certificates throughout the school year. For those children who have exceeded expectations by the end of the school year, special prizes will be awarded to a select few. At the end of this academic year, children will have the opportunity to win Waterstones book vouchers and, the star prize, will be the chance to watch a performance of ‘Matilda’ at the Milton Keynes theatre.
At Greenleys Junior School, we encourage the children to develop a love of writing by making our writing lessons creative, interactive and fun! Most of our writing is linked to our current topics and which the children enjoy. We follow a structured planning approach which includes looking at good examples of writing, analysing the features, the use shared and paired writing and we finish the unit with a piece of independent extended writing.
All extended writing is quality marked by the teacher and the children are given a list of positive features in their writing and a point to improve on. We allow the children time within their lesson to act on the points given by the teacher and practice the skills with support.
How can you help at home?
How much writing do you do at home? Is most of the writing either on the computer or mobile phone?
Nowadays writing is no longer an everyday activity. Children do not regularly see their parents writing at home. They tend to only ever experience writing at school and often struggle to see the point of it. Give your child a special area for writing, complete with a variety of pens and paper. The area could be simple, such as a shoebox, or it could be an actual desk. Having imaginative, fun materials to use for writing encourages the child to use them.
Here are some ideas:
• Write a communal shopping list
• Make up stories together and then take turns to write it down.
• Encourage your child to write or email letters to friends or family. People love getting letters of thanks or of news (a lot can be said about the excitement of receiving a letter in the post)
• Write postcards whilst away on holiday, or keep a diary of places visited and things seen/experienced.
• Write wish lists for birthdays and Christmas.
• Party plans and invitations are always an exciting thing to be involved in.
• Write notes to your child and ask them to write back to you.
• Read comic strips from newspapers and magazines with your child and encourage them to make their own cartoon.
If you have access to a dictionary, encourage your child to use this to check spelling. If you have access to a thesaurus, then this also provides a good opportunity for children to improve their word choices and choose words that are more powerful e.g. The little girl shouted in pain. The little girl screeched in agony.
GPS stands for Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling. It is a core focus of the English National Curriculum released in 2014.
Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling is important in order to be able to communicate effectively. Using incorrect grammar, punctuation and spelling can change the meaning of sentences whether spoken or written.
At Greenleys Junior School children are taught grammar and punctuation as part of their English lessons in ability sets. Children are taught spelling rules and patterns linked to the statutory word lists for Years 3 and 4 and Years 5 and 6. These lists are a mixture of words pupils frequently use in their writing and those which they often misspell.
Please see links for a glossary of English terms, the GPS programme of study, word lists for Years 3 and 4 and Years 5 and 6.
Read write Inc has been very successful within school since it was introduced three years ago. It is a fast paced phonics scheme that is aimed at helping the children become confident when decoding words. It is taught in small groups for the first half an hour of every day. The children are taught silly rhymes to help them recognise the patterns within words such as ‘oo – poo at the zoo!’
Most children move on from the scheme within two terms and go into their year group to take part in book talk.