English – Home Learning

How can you help your child with reading?

  • Whenever you read to your child or your child reads to you, make it enjoyable! Get tucked up in bed, comfortable on the sofa, outside in the sunshine with a few biscuits – wherever is their happy place, read there!
  • Read their school reading book with them every night. Discuss the characters, the story line, what they think might happen next and explain any unknown vocabulary.
  • Read their school fluency book to encourage them to read speedily. You could play games to see how many words they can read in a minute, they could repeat the words at the speed you do or you could read together and challenge them to keep the same pace as you! 
  • Read their school reading for pleasure book with them. This might be a book that is too challenging for them to read independently but is about something that they are interested in. Talk about the pictures, do some extra research with them when they are curious about what they are learning, explain new vocabulary and encourage them to ask questions.
  • Take your child to the library or a book shop so that they can delve into a whole different world full of imagination and magic. Show them the fiction and the non-fiction areas and talk about the differences. Talk with the librarian about their favourite books and what they would recommend.
  • Read your own book in front of your child to show them that reading is for adults too! Talk about reading in a really positive way and introduce your child to books and authors that you liked as a child.
  • Encourage them to tell you stories. They could recount an experience, innovate a story or make one up completely. Challenge them by giving them a character, an object or a place they must include in their story! Make it nonsense if you like – it’s all part of the fun of storytelling!
  • Practise phonics sounds at home. Using the QR codes we send home to videos online, practise recognising and pronouncing the sounds together.
  • Split words up so children can hear their individual sounds. Play language games with your child. For instance, say a word, perhaps her name, and then change it by one phoneme: Jen-Pen, Jen-Hen, Jen-Men. Or, just break a word apart: chair… ch-ch-ch-air. 
  • Talk to your children about anything and everything! Exposing your children to language will help develop their vocabulary and will make it easier when they come across tricky words in their reading books. 
  • When you’re out and about, read everything and challenge your child to do the same. Can they say the letter names on a number plate? Can they read the road signs or an advert on the bus stop? Can they read the first part of a newspaper article or part of a children’s magazine? What about the menu at a restaurant or a text message from a family member?

Please find attached some questions that you might ask your child when reading with them at home, linked to the reading skills that we teach at Hill Farm.

Before reading the bookHalfway through the bookAt the end of the book
*Why did you choose this book?
*What do you think will happen in the story?
*If non-fiction- What do you hope to find out?
*What has happened so far?
*Who are the main characters?
*How do you think the main characters are feeling now? Why?
*How would you describe the story so far? E.g. funny/exciting
*What might happen next?
*Non-fiction- What have you learned so far?
*What is the most interesting thing you have found out?
*Did you enjoy this book?
*What was the best part of the story?
*What could be an alternative ending?
*Would you recommend this book to a friend?
*Why would you recommend it, or why wouldn’t you?
*Would you choose more books by the same author?

EYFS and KS1:

Here are some suggested questions to ask your children when reading with them at home:

Skimming: What do you think the story is about?What do you think this character will do at the end of the story? Would you like to read this book? Why?Scanning: When/where is the story set? Who is the main character? Can you find the part where…? Can you find the word….? 
Summarising: What did we find out at the beginning / middle / end of the story? What did the title have to do with the book? Can you draw/write on a piece of paper what you have been reading? What moment do you remember most from?Sequencing: What happens at the beginning / middle / end of the story? How/where does the story start? What do you think might happen next? What is the dilemma (problem) and how is it resolved? 
Comparing: What is similar/different about these two characters? Can you compare this book to another book you read? Is this as good as…? Can I make a text to world connection?Understanding Vocabulary: What does this word mean? Can you use it in a sentence? Can you find a word that means…? What other words/phrases could the author have used here? How/where can we find out the meaning of this word?
Inference: What do you think… means? Why do you think that? Why / how / when / where do you think…? How do you know?Predicting: What do you think this text will be about? Why?Why did the author choose this setting? What do you think… will do/say next?How do you think the story will end? Why? Can you draw what is going to happen next?


Here are some suggested questions to ask your children when reading with them at home: 

Skimming and Scanning: What genre of text do you think this is? What do you think the text is about? Would you like to read this book? Why? Who is the main character? When is the story set? Can you find the part where…? Tell me three facts you learnt from this text.Fact and retrieval: Where in the text would you find…? Which part of the story best describes…?What evidence from the text do you have to justify your opinion?
Summarising: What is the main point in this section of the text? Recap what has happened so far in 20 words or less. Which is the most important point in this paragraph? Is it mentioned anywhere else? Do any sections/paragraphs deal with the same themes?Inference: What do you think… means? Why do you think that? How do you think…? Where do you think…? What do these words mean and why might the author have chosen them? Can you explain why…? Which words give you the impression that…?
Predicting: Can you think of another story with a similar theme/opening/ending? Why did the author choose this setting? Will it influence how the story develops? How is this character like someone you know in real life? Will they act in the same way?Vocabulary development: What does this word/phrase/sentence tell you about the character/mood/ setting? By writing this way what effect has the author created/did the author intend to create? How has the author made you/the character feel happy/sad/angry/ frustrated?
Comparing: Explain how a character’s feelings change throughout the story. How do you know? What is similar/different about these two characters? How could this part of the text be improved? What are the clues that this character is liked/disliked/envied/feared?Authorial intent: What does the word… tell you about…? By writing in this way, what effect has the author created? Which words do you think are the most important? Why? Has the author been successful in their purpose/use of language? What makes you think that?

How can you help your child at home with writing?

  • Create a space at home where your child can practise their writing. This should be quiet and well lit and could have some writing supplies such as paper, pencils and crayons! Maybe even a special writing pen! 
  • Read, read and read! The best activity to improve writing is to read. Reading exposes children to vocabulary, sentence structures, different styles of writing and it feeds their imagination with incredible characters and interesting storylines. 
  • Encourage your child to keep a diary or journal. As well as a good way for your child to reflect and regulate their emotions, it can help your child to write about their senses- what they felt, saw, heard or even tasted on a particular day. 
  • Provide authentic writing opportunities for your child. Give them a reason to write. This doesn’t need to be a novel – they could write a shopping list, party invitations, a birthday card or thank you note or a letter to a member of family that lives further away. 
  • Talk positively about writing and showcase occasions where you need to write. Discuss real writers and authors that inspire you – journalists, story tellers, marketing experts and columnists in magazines, they all need to be great writers!
  • Make words exciting. Spend time talking about new words. write them in a special book, try them out in sentences, have fun with words!
  • Practise your child’s spellings with them in a fun and interactive way. Spell the word to them, get them to spell it back. Play spelling games like hangman, speed spell, spot the mistake or match the pattern. Make up fun ways to remember how to spell difficult words e.g. Big Elephants Can Always Understand Small Elephants = because, what has a hat, when has a hen.
  • Play word building games to develop descriptive language such as Boggle, Scrabble, Guess Who. What am I?

Useful Website Links

See ‘N Spell – PrimaryGames.com – Free Online Games

Look, Cover, Write, Check- mobile friendly (ictgames.com)

Spelling Fun | Learning Games For Kids

SpellaRoo – a game on Funbrain