Reading at Home
Reading at home has long been proven to have massive benefits for children. Reading supports learning and development across the curriculum and growing an early love of books opens up the world to a child.
At Burnham, we are really aware of how occupied the time of every parent and carer is, so we are realistic in setting expectations and demanding how long parents read with their children, and for how often.
Children read every day in school, both as a stand-alone activity, and as part of the teaching cycle.
Any extra that can be done at home is amazing. For children that can read independently, setting a daily reading time and finding time to briefly discuss their reading makes a big difference to their educational outcomes. Starting with 20 minutes reading a day creates enormous progress.
Please also keep Reading Records updated. These are quick to complete and help us track reading at home and in school. These can also be used to ask us questions or communicate any issues you may be having around reading.
If your child is currently learning phonics, the first place to look is our phonics pages – these will give you a guide to how to support this.
If your child has moved on to reading more complicated books, the following information will help you support this.
Please also speak with your child’s class teacher about any specific questions or issues. They are here to support reading.
What can I do to help my child read at home?
- Encourage your child to read – praise them – it’s never work to read, it’s fun.
- Read aloud regularly – this can mean them reading to you, you reading to them or even reading aloud together. Remember to do the voices!
- Encourage reading choice – the school has a wide selection of fiction and non-fiction books. The local library has even more. Just make sure the book is decodable – if unsure, check with your class teacher.
- Read together – if you read too, they are more likely too. We share class books and adult’s personal book recommendations in class.
- Create a comfortable environment – think of reading as a moment of calm – for everyone!
- Make use of your local library – Not only is it free, but they also run reading and activity groups to help.
- Talk about books – share your favourites from growing up. Ask questions about what they are reading.
- Bring reading to life – act out the character. Wear a silly hat. Go outdoors. Have a laugh. It’s more than just sitting in silence.
What if my child doesn’t like any of their books or refuses to read?
- They can change their reading book at any point in school. Either contact their teacher or ask your child to speak with them. We can recommend books based on interests or share some of our own favourites.
- Broaden their choice. Use your local library, which contains far more books than the school and browse together. There’s nothing wrong with picking a fun front cover and starting there.
- If your child refuses to read, try to make the activity low-key and a calm, relaxing part of the day. Setting reading as a ‘school’ task can make it seem like a punishment, rather than the pleasure it should be.
- Remember, any reading is a start. If there isn’t a ‘proper’ book that appeals today, use a magazine, a (suitable, parent-checked) website or any other written material. All reading is useful and if it catches your child’s interest, it works.
- If you are still getting refusal, speak to your class teacher. We can advise and support and start more reading in school.
How do I choose the correct book for my child?
- Often, the answer is let them choose their own. In school, they are used to being guided towards suitable books, that they can decode themselves (ideally with a bit of a challenge).
- If your child is on the Oxford Reading Tree, these texts are colour coded, so it’s simpler to match these with other books.
- As a free reader, your child will be bringing home books that suit their reading ability. There are a range of book lists online that match texts to age and ability. Otherwise, a decent bookshop or the local library will be able to personalize recommendations. Your child’s class teacher is also a great place to start.
- If your child is struggling to read the book themselves, it’s possibly too difficult. Feel free to check with us and we can recommend something and change it.
For further hints and tips, please see the links below.
Book Trust – some great tips – https://www.booktrust.org.uk/books-and-reading/tips-and-advice/reading-tips/
The School Run – other ways to get your child to read more – https://www.theschoolrun.com/19-unusual-ways-encourage-your-child-read
Bookfinder – an interactive page to help children choose a book to read – https://www.booktrust.org.uk/books-and-reading/bookfinder/
If you, or someone you know would like extra support to help with your own reading, please speak to us in confidence, or try this amazing service as a start – https://readeasy.org.uk/groups/read-easy-harlow-chelmsford/