Your Child and Reading

As parents/carers we often hear from schools, TV, campaigns etc. about how important reading is for our children, but this isn’t something that’s just for primary schools or for young children. Our teenagers need this focus on reading for pleasure just as much as they prepare for their adult years, and how they read outside of school is every bit as important as how they read inside of school.

Why is Reading so Important?

Reasons why reading needs to be an essential part of our teenager’s upbringing:

  • Reading a variety of texts is an expectation of society both at work and in our daily lives
  • Those who read independently while at secondary school do better at BOTH Maths and English
  • According to the latest report from the National Literacy trust, as children transition from primary to secondary school, their levels of literacy engagement and mental wellbeing both decline and continue on this downward path. Those who DO read, have significantly better mental health than their peers
  • The new GCSE’s have a lot of challenging texts to read in most exams and all subject areas. To fully understand these exams, you need a reading age of at least 15 years old
  • A wide vocabulary is one of the most powerful things our children can own. There’s no better way of expanding this knowledge and understanding of words than reading
  • Their young adult minds haven’t finished their development yet so this is one of the best things they can do to develop their imagination and creativity
  • Reading novels is a way to experience cultures and life styles they may never get to do in real life therefore building those essential empathy skills to make them successful adults
  • It’s cheap and highly engaging entertainment! Does your daughter say “books are boring?” She’s just not found the right one. See our recommended reading list for the titles that never fail!
  • In our stressful world we hear a lot about the importance of “mindfulness”. Escaping into a new world through a book supports our children in leaving their worries behind for a time

How can you Support your Daughter?

In our busy, adult lives it can be a challenge supporting our children with their reading so but with a bit of time and effort it can be so rewarding for both of you. Here’s some ideas that may help:

  • Allow them to visit and join their local library
  • Read the same book as them so you can talk about it together
  • Set a timer for 20 minutes as many days a week as you can and sit together reading your own books/magazines etc. This way you model that it’s important to you as well
  • Point out an interesting article you’ve read on line or in a newspaper. Ask them what they think about the issues raised in it
  • Ask them what they’re reading in their own time so they know you expect them to do this
  • Take part together in one of our school wide reading challenges and look at the recommended reading lists on our website and VLE together
  • Allow them time in their days to read for pleasure – it’s just as important as any other piece of homework and will not only support their learning but will support their emotional wellbeing
  • Ask them to read aloud to a younger member of the family
  • Ask them to read aloud to you and then encourage them to explain the meaning of more difficult words or to summarise what they’ve just read
  • Get them a beautiful notebook to record interesting language that moves them and vocabulary that may be useful.
  • Accept that young adult books are a safe and trusted way for them to explore the controversial issues around them – if it’s age appropriate then trust them to be able to handle sensitive content

Understanding your Daughter’s Reading Age

Every term, your daughter (if she’s in years 7, 8 or 9) will have her reading age measured by an on line test called “Star Reading”, which is part of the “Accelerated Reading” programme. A series of questions are asked which check her reading comprehension and vocabulary knowledge. Every child experiences a different test as it adapts to their answers – getting harder if they’re finding it easy and easier if they’re struggling.

The test tells us your daughter’s reading age e.g. 11.09 means she has a reading age of 11 years and 9 months old. From October 2018 we will be including these reading ages on your daughter’s school reports so you can keep track of how she’s doing.

We all need her reading age to match her actual age e.g. if she’s 12 years old then her reading age should also be this. If her reading age is a few months below her actual age then that’s not a problem but if there’s a 6 month gap or wider then she needs to put more time and effort into her reading. If you feel that she is already doing this but her reading age is still too low then you can email Mrs Suthar, Head of the English Faculty ( or speak to your daughter’s English teacher for more advice.

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