At school: age 6-7
Take a moment to think about your child’s progress. Think about that first week at school and where they are now. Most children at this age will be reading whole books on their own and some will be venturing beyond infant reading books to short chapter books. In Year 2/P3 learning will be more formal and children will be reading much more widely for different purposes. Be supportive and don’t worry if you feel your child wants to revert to books they read when they were younger. We all like to revisit favourites.
1. Speedy reading and spelling
Your child will be expected to read and spell many words automatically using phonics, especially when tackling unknown words. Your child will also now be able to recognize by sight, read and spell many of the common and tricky words.
2. Talking about text
At this age your child should be able to draw together ideas and information from across a whole text and discuss how particular words and phrases are used. Most children should be able to give reasons for why things are happening in stories and how characters change. You can help by talking about books at home. See our Get reading section for more information.
3. Noticing special features of texts
Your child will be looking at texts of all kinds to notice special features such as chapters, labels, speech bubbles, diagrams, price lists, site menus and so on. It’s good to talk about these and still to make links to your family experiences – the things you know and do.
4. Reading to learn
Now the basics are in place for most children, they will be moving from learning to read to reading to learn! They gain confidence in researching and using texts of all kinds to help them with other areas of the curriculum and to begin to develop their own interests.
5. Towards independence
Your child will be working more independently now, although there will still be whole class and group/guided reading opportunities in class to teach a particular reading/writing focus. There is less time for one-to-one reading in school so encourage your child to read on their own, sometimes, silently as well as with you.
6. Choosing books
Your child will be expected to make book choices now and be able to say what made a book appealing (or not!). Some children may bring home books that are not levelled or colour coded but may be from the library whilst others may still benefit from the security of structure and progression.
7. Extra support
If your child hasn’t quite taken off with reading and needs to spend more time consolidating then extra support is usually provided by the teacher or specialist teacher, in consultation with you. This support is usually small group work and may be in or out of the classroom. Your support and encouragement is hugely important.
8. Reading and writing skills
Your child should be able to use phonic skills, as well as what they know about word structures more generally, when reading and spelling unfamiliar, common and tricky words. Sentences, ideas, words and punctuation will all be used more adventurously in writing and sometimes this means spelling and neatness get overlooked for a while – particularly with boys! Some schools will send home weekly spellings to be learned.
Assessment is still continuous and informal, but some schools will have end of key stage tests whilst others will rely on teacher assessment and will encourage children to assess each other’s work as well as their own (self assessment). Either way you will be kept informed about your child’s progress (record books, parents’ evenings) and regular contact is vital. All children progress at different speeds – so your encouragement and support is really important.
In preparation for moving into Key Stage 2/P4-7 (age 7 -11 years), children may bring home a greater range of work to complete at home, but it is still important that your child reads to you regularly. A short slot every day makes a huge difference to your child’s progress. And of course, it’s still important that you read to your child too. You’re never too old for a bedtime story!
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