School year > Subject guides > Reading in Year 3 and 4

Reading in Year 3 and 4 (age 7–9)

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Most children will be really taking off with their reading in these years. Many will be reading much more fluently and starting to tackle chapter books, as well as developing their own reading interests and opinions. There are still new skills to learn, though. Reading in the junior years is about better understanding what has been read and beginning to think about how and why writers write.

Reading to learn

Children in the lower juniors read across a wide range of subjects and topics in the classroom. They are taught how to decide what they need to know, and then how to find and use information from sources such as dictionaries. They learn to work more confidently in groups and to discuss, share, and express opinions.

Reading and writing skills

When reading and spelling new words, your child should be able to use their knowledge of how words are structured to help them read aloud and work out meanings. Teachers will encourage children to use sentences, punctuation, and words more adventurously in their writing. Some schools will send home weekly spellings to be learned.

Your child will be learning to become an independent, fluent, and enthusiastic reader and writer. For example, they will use more varied grammar and vocabulary. They will also read, rehearse, and perform extracts and whole texts to improve their ability to speak well in different situations and with different people.

Independent reading

Your child will choose their own reading books more frequently now, although some children still benefit from levelled books at this stage (to help them take steps towards reading longer books and to build their reading confidence). There will still be whole class and group/guided reading sessions where the teacher goes over aspects of reading and writing. However, there will be less time for teachers to hear children read on their own, so encourage your child to read alone and with you at home, sometimes silently.

Assessment and reading

Teachers will still be assessing all the time, by collecting examples of your child’s reading and recording their observations. Some schools get the children to take end-of-year practice tests. It's very common for children to assess or mark each other’s work as well as their own, as this can be an effective form of learning. You will be kept informed about your child’s progress (through record books and parents' evenings).

If your child is finding reading tricky, extra support can usually provided by the teacher or specialist teacher. This support is often through small group work and may be in or out of the classroom. Your support and encouragement is hugely important but, as ever, talk to your child’s teacher if you are worried.

Reading in Year 5 & 6 >

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