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Reading with your child

Please click on any of the content links below in order to go to the relevant section:

1) Introduction

2) How often should I read with my child?

3) How do I keep reading interesting?

4) How can I help my child?

5) How to get going with a book?



School and home reading books at Frant are colour banded according to their level of difficulty. The order of coloured levels is: lilac, pink, red, yellow, blue, green, orange, turquoise, purple, gold, white and lime. Children progress through these levels at different speeds, with some children moving from one level to another after a few weeks and other children making this progress after a few months. Most children will continue with this scheme into Key Stage Two.

The colour of the sticker on the spine of the reading book should match the colour of the sticker on the spine of your child’s reading record book.  As your child progresses from one colour level to another, we will change the colour of the sticker on the reading record.  This helps us all to check the children are bringing home books from the correct level.

In the main, your child should be able to read much of the book independently, but as our selection of books is broad, (encompassing a range of schemes) some books within the same band may prove to be more difficult than others.

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Short and Sweet

  • Little and often is so much better than 3 hours on a Sunday afternoon!
  • Daily reading will help to develop your child’s skills and abilities more effectively than one mammoth weekly session.
  • 10 to 15 minutes a day is ideal.
  • Some families find their child is fresher before school, but we appreciate some families are very busy at this time!  Some children prefer to read as soon as they get home and others at bedtime. You know your child, so do what works for you as a family.

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Keeping Reading Enjoyable


  • Set aside a special time and place for reading.  Don’t let the phone or TV distract you or your child.
  • When you listen to your child read, give plenty of encouragement.
  • Don’t rush – let your child discuss the pictures. Many children become very involved with the illustrations. For early readers, these can carry more of the story than the text.
  • Help to keep your child interested and enthusiastic about reading by giving him or her a wide range of reading materials, including comics/magazines/cereal packets. Are you a member of your local library?
  • Make sure the books you choose are not too difficult.  Most of the words should be easy for your child.  None of us understands or enjoys reading if it is too hard. If more than 5% is a struggle, then the book is TOO HARD.
  • Everybody enjoys being read to. Some children have been known to pretend that they can’t read, because they miss the experience of hearing stories! Sharing books that your child is interested in, but can’t read independently, will help your child to develop a love of reading.
  • Share the story with your child, letting him/her read as little or much as he or she feels comfortable with.
  • Let him/her re-read favourite stories if s/he wants to do so – practice makes perfect.
  •  It is okay to tell your child words s/he does not know, or can’t work out, but don’t jump straight in.
  • Recorded stories encourage a love of books.  Your local library may have some.
  • As your child becomes a stronger reader, s/he may prefer to discuss the books rather than read them out loud. Your child’s  teacher can guide you on this.

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Helping your Child

Children use many different strategies when tackling a text. We are guided by meaning. Readers gather information from the illustrations, think about the story and their knowledge of the world. They use their grammatical knowledge to ensure what they read makes sense. Also think how you would approach an unknown technical or medical word. We often look for letter strings or small words within longer ones. Your child may start to say the word slowly (no robotic sounding out) but remember,  some words can’t be sounded out and must be learned – eg. said, he, do.  Children use all of these cues together.

Children love playing games.

  • Write out words your child needs to know and play matching games, e.g. pairs, snap, bingo.
  • Play Snakes and Ladders.  Your child may go up a ladder if s/he is able to read one of his/her key words.
  • Play ‘I Spy’ to help your child hear the first sounds of words.
  • Help your child to see that words have patterns, e.g. cat, hat, pat, mat.
  • Share and enjoy rhymes and poems.  Play I Spy something rhyming with ……… or I like ‘cats’ but I don’t like ‘hats’.

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And last, but definitely not least

Please remember to ‘warm-up’ the book before  asking your child to read it. 

  • Talk about the title or cover. What might the book be about?
  • Look at the blurb on the back. Be prepared to read this to your child as the language used can be harder than the book itself.
  • Look at the illustrations. Tell, focus on a tricky vocabulary/ names.
  • Talk about what might happen or how the story may end.  

Encourage your child to look at the picture to help work out unknown words. 

After reading the book, spend a little time talking about it. For example: discuss the vocabulary the author has chosen; consider why things happened, rather than just recalling the main events. Ask your child questions about the book.


Reading underpins so much of our future learning, but reading for enjoyment is a gift we carry with us for life.


Let your child see you read. Instead of sitting down as a family to watch a DVD together, why not sit down together and read?

Spending time with your child is one of the most important gifts you can give. Try to have some time when you can remove all distractions and concentrate exclusively on him/her.

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“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all” Jacqueline Kennedy

Please see below  letters, quotes, recommended books, links and guidelines for supporting your child with their reading at home.

 Reading with and to your child is the most significant thing you can do to enable them to learn. 

We aim to create fluent, confident readers who appreciate and love reading. With your support hopefully we can achieve this. 

Useful websites:


Teaching and helping children read.mp4
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