Developing Reading

Developing Reading at Home

“Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body.”  Sir Richard Steele

Free audible stories for all ages available here


Book Trust Interactive Story Books 

Aimed at Reception and Key Stage One, the Book Trust have interactive story books - great to share together. You can choose to have the story read to you and it even has videos of celebrities reading stories through their Storytime Playlist. Example stories include Hairy Maclary and Rumble in the Jungle. 

Oxford Owl 

Many parents have been asking about how they can support their child's reading development at the correct level. There are many websites that offer ebooks but sometimes it's hard to find a book that is at the correct level of challenge for your child. 

One of these websites is called Oxford Owl. This one is one of the best, mostly because the books that are on offer are just like what we have in school (Biff and Chip stories, a project X non-fiction etc). They have virtual books shelves for ages 3-4, 4-5, 5-6, 6-7, 7-9 and 9-11. They are offering these ebooks completely free once you have completed a simple log in. Here’s how to do it if you are unsure. 

1. Complete an internet search for ‘Oxford Owl ebook library’. 

2. In the top right corner you can log in (or register if it is your first time). 

3. You can then search the library by age range or you can search by level - choose ‘book band’ and then your current level e.g. blue. These book bands are exactly the same as we use in school (pink, red, yellow, blue, green, orange, turquoise, purple, gold, white, lime, brown, grey, navy). If the selection of books at your current coloured level is limited, search the level below/above. 

4. When you choose a book you can then turn the pages and read it as normal or at the bottom there’s a play button and it can be read to you. 




Reading and enjoyment of books is hugely important to young children and can help so much in developing their language, sparking their imaginations and curiosity and aiding their communication and language skills. Although the children are not at school currently and as a result not able to access and change their home reading books, it is a great opportunity for you to read in a variety of other ways.

Enjoy exploring books and reading material of different kinds together; stories, rhyming books, information books, poems, magazines, recipes, instructions for games and new toys, etc.

Read a few stories to your child each day, try spotting the rhyming words and repeated phases within the book, talk about words that the children may not understand to develop their vocabulary, ask questions getting them to predict the endings and think about the character’s feelings. Click here for more information about EYFS VIPERS questions. This is also a great time to get older children reading to their younger siblings. Most importantly just enjoy reading together to support your child’s love of reading!

Take opportunities for supporting your child’s reading in different ways around your house. Children can have a go at decoding and sounding out some of their own stories and simple information books, try and find the ‘tricky words’ in their books (listed on their reading record bookmarks, spotting single letter sounds, digraphs and trigraphs within words, practising recognising the sounds in their phonics books, reading simple instructions to do routine jobs (e.g. brush teeth) etc. You can also access ebooks for the children to read that follow the school reading schemes on the Oxford Owl website.

There is also a huge range of fantastic stories being read online at the moment for the children to watch. Take a look at Storyline Online (on youtube) or the Cbeebies Bedtime Stories on the BBC iPlayer for some great examples.

Years 1 and 2

Recommended Reads for Year 1 here.

Recommended Reads for Year 2 here. 

Children can read to you, you can also share stories together and listen to audio books together. Reading for enjoyment is very important.   Read anything that is around you, cereal boxes, recipes, games etc.

Read a range of texts: poems, rhyming stories and songs, traditional tales/fairy stories as well as other fiction (story) books and non-fiction (fact/information) books

There are lots of skills that can be practised over the next few weeks

Decoding : Practise all the phonic sounds separately as well as when they come up in reading.  Also encourage the children to re- read to build up their reading speed and fluency.

Comprehension: Getting to know and understand what you have read.

Talking: Always talk about the title, cover of the book and author, before you start. Talk about any new words that come up and try to link these to other known words.  

Ask children to talk about what they have read and retell familiar parts of a story. Encourage children to join in with predictable words or phrases.   Ask questions about what they have read or you have read to them but allow thinking time for their responses. Encourage children to make links with the story to things that they know about or have experienced.

Predicting and using inference: As children develop as readers, they will learn to use what they know in the story to make predictions about how a character may behave, what may happen next, how the text may end etc.  Inference is a bit trickier... start simply. Use clues that are written to work out how a character is feeling or how they may behave.

Click here for more information about Key Stage One VIPERS questions. 

Years 3 and 4

Recommended Reads for Year 3 here.

Recommended Reads for Year 4 here.

The most important message we can give is that reading should be a pleasure and not a chore. Using a variety of different activities and texts should help with this. If you have any books that you enjoyed when you were younger, share them together and talk about them. Why did you enjoy them? Was it the book or was it who you shared it with? Even though your child might be able read to themselves and enjoy doing so, they probably will still enjoy being read to on occasions.

You can read anything that is around you, it doesn’t just have to be books. Children can read aloud to you, you can share stories together or maybe listen to audio books. Don’t feel that you have to spend money on books, there is plenty of free reading material available online at the moment. Talking about the text can lead to a deeper understanding of what they have read. To help with this, ask questions about what they have read, giving them time to think about their answers. If you would like some support with questions to ask. Click here to have a look at the VIPERS questions that have been compiled to help.

Happy reading!


Years 5 and 6

Recommended Reads for Year 5 here.

Recommended Reads for Year 6 here.

In Years 5 and 6 it’s quite straightforward- read! Read anything and anytime. Please encourage your child to read every day, even if it’s just for ten minutes. Try a range of reading materials– stories, newspapers, websites, reference books. This is also a great time to get older children reading to their younger siblings.

By the time children get to this phase of school they can pretty much read anything so it’s easy to think that your children don’t need you to get involved in their reading but they still do. Please be interested in what they are reading and ask questions. Click here to look at the vipers information for ideas. Remember to check they are understanding what they read and encourage them to ask about the pronunciation and meanings of new words.

There is also still great value in reading and listening to stories together. There are currently many websites, facebook sites etc. where you can access videos or audio recordings of great stories. Look out for the current children’s laureate Cressida Cowell on Youtube where she is currently reading a chapter a day of How to Train your Dragon. More are appearing all the time and we will try to keep you up to date with the best ones.