At school > Subject guides > Reading at primary school > Reading in Year 5 & 6

Reading in Year 5 and 6 (age 9 - 11)

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So your child is now at the top end of the primary school and the focus is on preparing them to be ready for the demands of the secondary school curriculum. Most children will be reading fluently and widely across all types of books and texts that vary in content, length, purpose and type. Your child will be using their reading for learning across all subjects as well as for pleasure and they’ll be developing their own reading tastes.

Reading and other language skills

The emphasis is now on your child reading and responding to what they read accurately and fairly speedily whether aloud or silently. They will be using accurate grammar and punctuation as well as ideas, words, sentences and paragraphs more adventurously to improve their writing as they draw on their wider reading experience. Your child should also be able to read and spell unfamiliar and common words using what they know about phonics and word structure. They will develop their spoken language through public speaking, performance and debate.

Reading to learn

Children in Years 5 and 6 are using their reading for different purposes across different subjects, e.g. researching a history topic, reading biographical information, or reading for pleasure. They continue to explore how writers make their writing interesting and effective and are usually getting to be quite skilled writers themselves! In school they’ll be working confidently and more independently in groups, discussing, sharing and expressing views and opinions and understanding decision making. They’ll enjoy making comparisons between what they see on the internet, TV and in a book.

Independent reading

Your child will now be choosing their own reading books although there will still be whole class and group/guided reading sessions in class too, when they will be taught quite specific reading and writing skills. One-to-one reading in school is probably now reserved for those who need extra support so reading at home, independently, together and out loud is still very important.


Teacher assessment and peer assessment, where children assess each other’s work as well as their own, all continue. In England and Northern Ireland there are national tests in May or June in maths, reading, grammar, punctuation and spelling as well as teacher assessment of maths, reading, writing and science. You’ll be kept informed about your child’s progress and results in preparation for joining secondary school but if you’re worried then do talk to your child’s teacher earlier rather than later.

Find out more about Key Stage 2 SATs >

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