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Northmead Junior School

Northmead Junior School

Reading at home

Reading is a priority at Northmead.  It is happening all the time in classrooms and in the school. It is taught in specific reading and English lessons, and children are practising and using their reading constantly across all subjects too.

Parents can support their child’s reading development through regular reading at home. Children are expected to read at home three times weekly to a parent or guardian, although it is our preference that children should be involved in reading for 15 minutes every day at home. 

Research has shown that 15 minutes seems to be the “magic number” at which children start seeing substantial positive gains in reading achievement, and reading for this short amount of time daily can make a dramatic difference to a child's achievement within school.

Children take home a book of their reading level to read. If this is a short book, children may read the entire book in one siting, however once children are reading chapter books it is likely the book may last a few weeks.  Once finished, books are returned to the library.

We ask that parents record the reading and any relevant comments in their child’s reading record.  

Suggestions for parents to encourage reading at home include;


Being a Reading Role Model

It is essential to make the written word a part of our homes, making books, magazines, online publications, and newspapers readily available. We need to make sure that children see their parents reading and that we draw attention to all the things we read. Many children see their parent on their phone and just assume that they are playing a game as that is what they would use the phone for. Not understanding that we may be reading. Similarly, with Kindles, children may think it is just a tablet.

When we are able, spend time choosing books together.   When visiting the library or book shop ensure children are involved.   Even if we are not looking for anything in particular, practice the art of book browsing and admiring.

The more children see the adults around them read, the more they will consider doing it themselves.

Bedtime Stories

Reading a bedtime story has huge benefits for children. Spending time sharing a book at bedtime can improve children’s vocabulary and encourage them to read independently by establishing a love of reading.  When reading to a child the implicit message is ‘You matter enough for me to give you my time’. Children feel loved, secure and a deep sense of well-being when they are read to. This brings happiness, comfort, and reassurance. It improves the attention span and listening skills of children which in turn helps them to concentrate for longer in school; Listening to a parent read can lower stress levels in a child, setting them up for a comfortable and sound sleep as children cuddle up in bed and unwind after a long day.

At a certain point, parents inevitably stop reading to their children, as children become independent readers capable of reading to themselves. There is evidence, however, to suggest that parents should continue to read aloud to older children up to age 14, even after they become fluent in reading.


 Allow Children’s Choices

We need to allow children to read what they want to (within reason). Some children may find comfort in re-reading a book. There is nothing wrong with this at all.  Comics, graphic novels and audiobooks are all valid reading materials.

If you do feel that your child is 'stuck' on a particular author or genre, and you need book recommendations, speak to your child's class teacher, or take a look at the book suggestions on the English website page

Try more, learn more, achieve more!