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Support your Child

Reading Support

  • Why read to your child?
  • 10 things to think about when reading to your child.

For parents: reading stories to children

The following has been drawn together by the DfE to provide guidance:

10 top tips for parents to support children to read.

1.Encourage your child to read

Reading helps your child’s wellbeing, develops imagination and has educational benefits too. Just a few minutes a day can have a big impact on children of all ages.

2.Read aloud regularly

Try to read to your child every day. It’s a special time to snuggle up and enjoy a story. Stories matter and children love re-reading them and poring over the pictures. Try adding funny voices to bring characters to life.

3.Encourage reading choice

Give children lots of opportunities to read different things in their own time – it doesn’t just have to be books. There’s fiction, non-fiction, poetry, comics, magazines, recipes and much more. Try leaving interesting reading material in different places around the home and see who picks it up.

4. Read together

Choose a favourite time to read together as a family and enjoy it. This might be everyone reading the same book together, reading different things at the same time, or getting your children to read to each other. This time spent reading together can be relaxing for all.

5. Create a comfortable environment

Make a calm, comfortable place for your family to relax and read independently – or together.

6.Make use of your local library

Libraries in England are able to open from 4 July, so visit them when you’re able to and explore all sorts of reading ideas. Local libraries also offer brilliant online materials, including audiobooks and ebooks to borrow. See Libraries Connected for more digital library services and resources.

7.Talk about books

This is a great way to make connections, develop understanding and make reading even more enjoyable. Start by discussing the front cover and talking about what it reveals and suggests the book could be about. Then talk about what you’ve been reading and share ideas. You could discuss something that happened that surprised you, or something new that you found out. You could talk about how the book makes you feel and whether it reminds you of anything.

8.Bring reading to life

You could try cooking a recipe you’ve read together. Would you recommend it to a friend? Alternatively, play a game where you pretend to be the characters in a book, or discuss an interesting article you’ve read.

  1. Make reading active

Play games that involve making connections between pictures, objects and words, such as reading about an object and finding similar things in your home. You could organise treasure hunts related to what you’re reading. Try creating your child’s very own book by using photos from your day and adding captions.

10. Engage your child in reading in a way that suits them

You know your child best and you’ll know the best times for your child to read. If they have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) then short, creative activities may be the way to get them most interested. If English is an additional language, encourage reading in a child’s first language, as well as in English. What matters most is that they enjoy it.

Renaissance Accelerated Reader

From year 3 onwards, children begin their Accelerated Reader journey. Accelerated Reader aims to assess your child’s reading age and identify areas of development in reading skills against the objectives of the National Curriculum. Reading ages are assessed through the completion of a Star Test (an online reading test that the children take at least 6 times per academic year) which generates a ZPD number.

 A Star Test is an online tool that assesses your child’s reading age. It is highly accurate and ensures that your child is reading books that both strengthen their skills and challenges them further. There are 34 questions on a Star Reader Test and each of them is computer adaptive. This means that the difficulty of each question is based on how well the previous question was answered. The first 11 questions are based on children’s knowledge of vocabulary; the rest of the questions are based on reading skills such as retrieval and inference. The Star test should take between 20-30 minutes to complete and is done completely independently

 After your child has completed a Star Test, a ZPD number is generated. ZPD stands for Zone of Proximal Development and is based on what areas of reading your child needs to strengthen and where they need to be challenged. An example of a ZPD number could be: 4.1- 6.2. This means that your child can choose a book that is labelled with a number within this range. Any books towards the bottom end of the range will strengthen areas of your child’s reading ability; numbers towards the top of the range will focus on areas for challenge.

 The majority of the library books that are labelled with a ZPD number also have online quizzes attached to them. When your child finishes a book, they can take the quiz at school. If they pass the quiz, they can change their book – it might also improve their ZPD range! If your child does not pass the quiz, they are encouraged to read the book again to improve their comprehension skills. Passing the quiz is an indication that the child has understood what was read. Accelerated Reader gives children, and teachers feedback based on the quiz results, which the teacher then uses to help set goals and direct ongoing reading practice.

Children using Accelerated Reader choose their own books to read within their reading range, rather than having one assigned to them; this makes reading a much more enjoyable experience as they can choose books that are interesting to them. The books within a child’s reading range are at an appropriate readability level so that they are challenging without being frustrating, ensuring that children can pass the quiz and experience success.

Spelling and Phonics Support

  •  For further guidance and information about Read Write Inc. Phonics, visit the link below.
  • What is Read Write Inc. Phonics

  • How to say the sounds.

  • Understanding phonics.

Mathematics Support

SEND Support


DSPL is a Hertfordshire-wide partnership approach where parents, staff in early years settings and schools, further education colleges, local authority officers and representatives from other agencies, work together as part of an Area Group, reviewing and developing the range of provision and support services available to their local community that :

  • Meets the needs of children and young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), aged 0-25, as close to home as possible.
  • Improves outcomes for wellbeing and attainment
  • Widens choice for children and parents/carers
  • Removes barriers to learning
  • Uses resources more effectively


Help your child to get the most out of the internet whilst staying safe – click here to find out more

NSPCC Resources

Underwear Rule, also called the PANTS rule.

Learn how to talk to your child about staying safe from sexual abuse.

NSPCC Helpline

For parents who need technical and practical support about how to keep your child safe online. The number is 0808 8005002.

NSPCC Adult Helpline

This is for any professionals or adults in the community who have concerns about a child. They can call and speak to trained professionals for advice and access free resources and be informed about where to gain support in their local area. The number is 0808 8005000.