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Reading at Home

Supporting our children in their journey to becoming a reader is one of the most important things we can do as parents. There is great excitement when that first book appears in the book bag. Gradually, squiggles on the page become letters, letters become words and words give meaning. Ensuring our children become fluent, active readers allows them to make sense of the world around them, to ask and answer questions and to be led into worlds both real and imagined that are beyond their own experience.

In the National Curriculum, reading is divided into two strands: Word Reading and Comprehension.

For many years, parents have supported their children to decode the words on the page. However, comprehension is just as important. Children need to understand far beyond what those words say.


There are various skills that can be practised to help improve comprehension:

  • Clarifying vocabulary

  • Retrieving key facts

  • Summarising

  • Inferring

  • Predicting

  • Unpicking an author’s choice of language

  • Analysing the structure and organisation of a text

  • Making comparisons between and across texts(Y5&6)

Like all of us, children develop favourite authors and sometimes struggle to know what to read next. Introducing children to new texts is essential if they are to develop a love of reading. Asking targeted questions will then improve comprehension so a child’s understanding of the world can progress to the next level.

With the help of The Literacy Company, we present the Reading Spine for parents. For each year group, there is a list of ten books (or authors) that we feel every child at that stage should read - one per half term and a couple for holidays. These books should inspire discussion and encourage a culture of reading for pleasure at home. They are age-appropriate in terms of their content and complexity but that is not to say they shouldn't dip into books from previous year groups.The most important thing is that your child enjoys what they read or have read to them. Hopefully, this  list will help you both to know where to turn once one good read has come to an end.


On the back of each list, you will find a series of questions linked to each of the comprehension skills above. We hope this makes it easier to know what to ask when your child reads with you.


May these books take your children on some fabulous journeys! We look forward to hearing about how much you enjoy reading them together.

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