Reading & Writing Support for Parents

Listening to Children Read: Some Useful Advice

Talk with children about the book they are reading.

  • What is it about?
  • Do they like it?
  • What has happened so far?
  • What do they think will happen next?

With less able readers, talk about the pictures. Pictures help children to understand the words.

  • What does this picture tell you?
  • What can you see happening in the picture?
  • What do you think is going to happen?

With more able readers, discuss the characters and the words and phrases used by the author.

  • What does that word mean?
  • What do you think the author means by that?
  • Why have the words been written in this way?

When a child doesn't know a word, ask him or her to have a go, then tell the child what it is.

If a child misreads a word, stop him or her and say the correct word - although if it is a word which makes no difference to the meaning (a positive miscue), for example 'home' instead of 'house' or 'water' instead of 'sea', it is usually best to ignore it.

Use lots of praise and encouragement, and avoid criticism. It is important that the children become more confident with reading.

Don't make children read for longer than they can keep their interest and attention on the task.

Do talk about the book after reading (not as a test, just as a chat).

Do show patience, progress can be slow.

Let them see you, and join you, reading for a purpose: TV, magazines, letters, instructions, charts, signs etc.

Stop reading rather than read when tempers are fraying. Come back to the book another time.

Golden Rules for Reading

DO settle in a quiet, comfortable space together, ensuring you can both see the book and your child is holding the book themselves.

DON’T think that because your child can make his or her way through simple school reading books without too many mistakes that he has mastered reading. Fluent, confident and perceptive reading will take years of practise.

DO find things for your child to read which centre on their non-school interests. Try to help your child to understand that reading is something we do for fun and not just at school.

DON’T think that books are the only or best way to practise reading. Comics, magazines and some websites are also great ways for your child to get enjoyable reading practice.

DO let your child see you reading for enjoyment from time to time. It is true that children do as we do, not as we say.

DO read some of the same things that your child reads. It’s nice to be able to talk to someone else about what we’ve read.

DON’T criticise or pressurise your child if they’re not that keen on reading. Instead try to find reading material about their hobbies or interests which might encourage a reading habit. But if they’re still not interested take a step back for a little while.

DO encourage your child to lend books or comics to friends and let them borrow them from others. This might spur them on to reading even more, and it helps to keep your costs down!

Writing Level Descriptors 




I can write letters and words that someone else can read and understand.

I can use full stops and some other punctuation.

I can use simple words and phrases.

I spell some common words correctly

I can keep my handwriting the right size

I keep my letters the right way round

I can write so that someone else can read what I have written.

I read my writing to other people using the words and letters I have written.

I am starting to use a wider range of words.

I can use full stops and capital letters correctly

I can use simple words and phrases

I can spell some words correctly, and use phonics to spell others.

My letters are usually clearly shaped and the right way round

I can write so that someone else can read what I have written.

When I am writing, I can link my ideas by using ‘and’.

I can write in phrases and sentences that explain my ideas.

I can use full stops and capital letters correctly most of the time.

My story may have a beginning and one event.

I can spell some of my words correctly and others are phonetically spelt

My letters are usually clearly shaped and the right way round

I can write so that someone else can read what I have written.

When I am writing, I can link my ideas by using ‘and’.




I can develop my ideas in short sections of writing.

I can choose the right words for my meaning from a wide range of words.

I am beginning to use punctuation to help show my meaning.

I can spell some common words correctly, but I sometimes rely on phonics and visual patterns.

I can use capital letters as well as ordinary ones.

My handwriting can be read by someone else without my help.

I use phonetics to attempt to spell polysyllabic words.

I can include enough detail in my writing to engage the reader

I can make a variety of word choices.

 I can use other connectives besides ‘and’ to link my sentences.

I can use punctuation in my sentences.

I can vary the structure of my sentences, and sometimes use extended sentences.

I do not mix upper and lower case letters in a word.

My handwriting is clear, with clear ascenders and descenders.

I can write in different forms of narrative (stories, poems, character descriptions) and non-fiction.

I can write to hold the readers’ interest, and communicate meaning in a variety of ways.

I can make links between ideas or events.

I can use descriptive phrases to add detail or interest.

I can use capital letters and full stops to mark correctly structured sentences.

I can form my letters accurately and consistently.

I can spell many monosyllabic words accurately

Word types

  • Verb- a doing word. Walk, talk, skip, sing, read.
  • Adverb- adds detail to the verb. Gently, carefully, loudly, scarily.
  • Connective- joins two simple sentences together. And, because, then, so, but.
  • Adjective- a descriptive word. Beautiful, sparkling, gloomy.
  • Noun- the name of a person, place, or object. Table, book, pencil.
  • Synonym- words with similar meanings. Giggle, laugh, chuckle.

Click on the image below to download the workshop notes from 29 April 2014

Reading & Writing workshop button