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Supporting reading at home

At Paddington, reading is really important to us. We know that students need to be able to read fluently in order to be successful at school and at university. We create lots of opportunities for students to read within the school day, this includes reading in DEAR, Tutor Time reading, library access, and in-class reading.

Why is reading for pleasure important?

  • It helps us develop empathy - the ability to stand in someone else's shoes and understand their thoughts, feelings, and actions. 
  • Reading helps us manage stress - regular readers sleep better, have lower stress levels and higher self-esteem than non-readers.
  • Reading improves our relationships and friendships. Social situations are complex and sometimes difficult to navigate, but reading fiction can help us develop skills and understanding in this area. 
  • Reading expands and improves our vocabulary and the better our vocabulary, the more able we are to access the curriculum and the better we do at school. 
  • Reading expands our life experience. Our brains react to stories as if we are actually living the events we are reading about. This means that from your desk in the classroom, you can travel to anywhere in the world and experience almost anything!
  • And most importantly, reading makes us happier! Many studies have shown that people who read regularly, report feeling happier in general than those who don't.

Why does reading for pleasure at home make a difference?

  • Parent involvement in their child’s literacy is reported to be a more powerful force than other family background variables – including social class, parent education and family size.
  • Research has shown that talking to children about what they are reading, and having books and magazines at home make a difference to children’s progress even if parents have problems with reading themselves.
  • A recent study has found that children who were reading to their parents hugely improved their reading skills, even if the parents could not read in English or any other language.

This short video provides a good overview of how to best support your child’s reading at home.

How can you support your child with their reading at home?


Activate prior knowledge by asking a question (choose one)

  • What happened last time we were reading this?
  • What do you know about this topic?
  • What happened in the last chapter?
  • What have you learned about... at school?
  • Do you remember when we watched... and found out about...?

Encourage your child to develop fluency by:

  • Reading with expression – say it like you mean it. For example, read this sentence aloud but with emphasis on different words: ‘I never said she walked home.’
  • Making the punctuation audible – let me hear the full stop. For example, use the commas to pause for effect: ‘I looked, I turned, and I ran.’
  • Re-reading difficult passages or parts they stumbled on – read it again.
  • Working out what an unfamiliar word means by reading the rest of the sentence and looking for clues.

Summarise and make predictions by asking a question (choose one)

  • What is the main thing that happened or changed?
  • What do you want/expect to happen next?
  • Is there anything that we are still waiting to find out?
  • Was there anything that particularly surprised or interested you?

Are there any resources that are available to support with reading at home?

  • Achuka is an independent children’s book site that has something for everyone
  • Barrington Stoke is an award-winning publisher that makes books for struggling readers
  • Booktrust promotes children’s reading and produces a wide range of information for young readers including booklists. They have a useful ‘book finder’ tool to help you find your child’s next book


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