Helping your Child to Read at Home


Parent Resources

Children who read regularly at home make the most progress with reading and become confident, enthusiastic readers. Reading should be pleasurable, so it helps to share lots of stories with your child- reading to your child, however old they are, offers a time for bonding, sharing and talking about books which benefits children enormously. It is important that children, particularly in the Early years and Key Stage 1 are given the opportunity to read aloud to an adult as often as possible. It improves their decoding and listening skills. Here we offer tips and free resources you can use to support your child's reading. Your local library is a great resource and children love exploring the wide variety of books available to them, it’s free to join and children do not get fined if their books are overdue.


How you can help at home:

  • We recommend reading at home at least five times a week
  • Set aside time to read with your child daily
  • Find a quiet place – distractions such as the TV can make it difficult for children to concentrate
  • Read the title together and ask them to tell you what they might think the story will be about
  • Give your child lots of praise and encouragement for their efforts
  • Encourage your child if they get stuck on a word to sound out and blend but don't tell them the word straight away. If they are still unsure, tell them the word and explain what it means. Then read the sentence again together.
  • Older children may feel that they enjoy reading on their own more and prefer to read in their head instead aloud to an adult. This is usually evidence that they are skilled and independent enough to read alone. The focus for a parent at this point should be more discussion of comprehension and fostering an environment where sharing reading experiences and opinions about books are valued at home.
  • Talk about books you enjoyed as a child and let them see you reading at home
  • When out and about encourage your child spot words on signs, in shops or on the road...
  • If your child is reluctant to read don’t force the issue. Suggest coming back to it later. You could try a different book, reading a comic, something online or even a trip to the library


Useful Links:

  • Chesterton pupils have the opportunity to access high quality interactive eBooks via Oxford Owl, inside your child’s reading record are details on how to log on. Click here to log on:
  • Useful tips and help for reading at home and free eBooks from Oxford Owl. Click here to view
  • Free phonics games and resources for parents from Phonics Play. Click here to view. 
  • Free 'Letters and Sounds' phonics games and resources. Click here to view.
  • If you are looking for a phonics based learn to read program you can use at home, 'Teach your monster to read' is available free to use on a computer, there is also a paid for app version for iPad/ iPhone, Kindle and Android Tablets. Click here to view.


Helping your child sound out words:


Working out unfamiliar words is like solving a puzzle or unlocking a code. Your child will develop a range of strategies to help them.

You can encourage your child try to work it out by:

  • Sounding out (c-a-t, ‘cat’)
  • Breaking down longer words into sections (ch-il-dren, children)
  • Looking for picture clue
  • Using the context of the sentence to work it out
  • Asking ‘what would make sense?’
  • Re-reading the sentence to check for meaning
  • Checking for punctuation clues (commas, question marks, exclamation marks and speech marks)


It is very helpful to get your child to re-read a book to help develop their comprehension skills and fluency. We are aiming for confident, fluent readers who de-code accurately and use expression (a ‘story voice’) when reading aloud.



One of the most important parts of reading is comprehension. If a child decodes fluently, but does not fully understand the story or text, then they struggle to enjoy or appreciate books. It is therefore essential that children have the opportunity to discuss what they are reading with an adult or an older sibling.


One of the more crucial parts of reading is being able to conclude and infer ideas. Open ended questioning such as, ‘why do you think that happened?’ or ‘what makes you think that?’ will help with this. Asking children to tell you why or show you clues in the text/pictures can improve their inference skills dramatically.


Below a list of potential questions that could be used in discussion with your child about a book. This is not an exhaustive list but should hopefully give some starting points for discussion that will help children to unpick and fully understand what they are reading.


Ask questions when you are reading together:


What do you see on this page?

How do you think the characters feel?

What do you think is going to happen next? Why?


When you have finished, talk about how your child feels about the book.


What did you like?

What didn’t you like?

What can you remember about what happened?

Who was your favourite character? Why?

Link the story to your own experiences. Can you remember when you did something similar?


Why did you choose this book? What attracted you to it?

Did you know anything about this book before you started reading it?

What do you think about it now you have read some of it?

Could you tell me what’s happened so far? (fiction)

What is this book about? (non-fiction)

What has been the most exciting part? Why?

What could you do if you can’t read a word?

What could you do if you can read a word but don’t know what it means?

Have you come across this word before?

How did you know how to say it? Are there any clues in the word? Does it look like any other words you know?

Can you work out what that word means? How can you use the rest of the sentence, page or pictures to help you?

What other word could the author have used that means the same sort of thing?

Can you tell me what has happened in this chapter/on this page?

Why do you think (character) did that?

How could we describe that character? What are the like? How do we know that from what they say and do?

How do you think (character) is feeling at the moment? Show me which words/phrases tell us that.

Why do you think (event) happened?

What do you think will happen next? What makes you think that?

How do you think the author wants us to feel at the moment? How are they trying to do that? What is she/he trying to do here?

What do you think the purpose of using_____(word/phrase) is in this paragraph?

Why did the author choose that title?

What is the effect of writing in the past/present tense?

What do you notice about the way this page is set out? How does that help us to understand better?

Have you read any other books/poems by this author? Did you like them as much? Why? Why not?

Have you read any similar books by other authors? Which ones?

How were the books similar?

What sort of books do you enjoy the most/least? Why?

Who is your favourite author? Why do you like his/her books? What would you say to recommend them to other people?

Do you enjoy reading? What would help you to enjoy it more?

What kinds of books would you like to read more of? Why?


What if English isn’t my first language?


You don’t have to only read books in English. Carry on sharing books, stories and rhymes in your first language!


Your child may use English words – you can still reply or repeat what they have said in your own language. Children love the sound of your voice and can cope with two languages.

Sharing stories is about more than just learning to read – it’s about snuggling up and spending time together.


What if I’m using a tablet or computer?

Due to the current situation, we are asking parents to access the story your child is reading on via eBooks.


Digital Books and story apps are great fun! When you are reading using a tablet or a computer, stay with your child. Talk to them about what they are doing and help them use the device.


It is a good idea to put the device into ‘Airplane Mode’ before giving it to a child to avoid any unexpected costs or internet access.


Ask them the same questions about the story that you would with a printed book.

Leaders have high expectations and pupils are polite and well mannered. Behaviour is "good". Ofsted 2023