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Reading opens the door to the whole curriculum – How parents can help create a reading culture in their homes

Our aim at Bolsover Church of England Junior School is for all our children to be fluent, confident readers who love to read. Please read the following information to find out about our expectations for reading at home. For further information about our reading curriculum, visit the following page: Reading At Bolsover. Alternatively, the Department for Education have published some top tips for parents/carers here to support with reading at home: 10 top tips for parents to support children to read - GOV.UK (


Research shows that learning to read is directly linked to children’s success at school and beyond. It also shows that those who read regularly, and for longer, dramatically increase the number of words they are introduced to. This in turn impacts on their success across the whole curriculum.


We believe that the relationship between school reading and home reading is vital. It is never too early to start sharing books with your child. Learning to read is about listening and understanding as well as working out print.

When children hear stories, they are exposed to a rich and wide vocabulary. This helps them build their own vocabulary and improve their understanding when they listen, which is vital as they start to read. Some of the things that you can do include:

  • Reading aloud to your child - talking about the words and pictures, and sharing ideas about the book.
  • Reading yourself - children who see adults reading, and enjoying reading, are much more likely to want to read themselves.
  • Making sure your child is surrounded by books - you don’t need hundreds of books at home and you don’t need to spend lots of money! We recommend regular visit to our local library in Bolsover. There are also a wealth of books online that can be downloaded on to devices such as Amazon Kindle and iBooks on Apple devices.
  • Most importantly, talk to your child. Spend time with them, doing simple activities (playing, cooking, making something or playing a game). As you talk about what you’re doing, you are helping them to learn new words. Later, when they see words written down, they have already heard them and know what they mean.

  How should I read to my child?

  • As you read to your child, bring the characters to life – talk about the characters, the drawings and the events so that the story starts to come alive.
  • Don’t be afraid to try different voices or try out your acting skills! Remember that your face says it all so exaggerate your expressions.
  • Emphasise repeated words and phrases (‘I’ll huff and I’ll puff!’). Encourage your child to say the words with you.
  • Turn off the television and concentrate on enjoying the book.
  • Try audio books that the children can listen to in the car together on journeys, on tablets or phones.

 How often should I read to my child, and how long for?

 Be guided by how long your child will listen for. For younger children, this may be quite short periods of time, while slightly older children may  be readier to listen for longer. As children become older, they should be able to read independently for longer periods. We advise that this is around 20 minutes per day. 

Many experts suggest that a routine helps to support reading. A bedtime story can be a nice way for you to spend a small amount of time together and wind down after a busy day.


 How can I choose books at the right level for my child?

 At Bolsover Church of England Junior School, we use Accelerated Reader to assess our pupils and help them choose their reading books to read at home. Further information about Accelerated Reader can be found here: Accelerated Reader.


Reading Books In School - Accelerated Reader

Each half term, our pupils take a STAR reader test using the Accelerated Reader software. Through this test, it provides the children with a ZPD threshold, reading age and reading level. Using this ZPD (Zone of Proximal Development) range, the children then can choose appropriate reading books out of our school library that will be best suited to develop their reading ability and comprehension. To enable children to easily find accessible books, books in the library are labelled and shelved into areas which refer to the ZPD range. The ranges are as follows:

  • 0 – 1.9
  • 0 – 2.9
  • 0 – 3.9
  • 0 – 4.9
  • 0 – 5.9
  • 6.0+

Most children will be provided with a ZPD range that will span across a wide variety of books. A child’s ZPD range could change during the year depending on their ‘Star Reading’ assessment which will be undertaken every half term. Every pupil has been given a sticker in their reading record with their individual login to the scheme and their ZPD for that term.

Once they have completed their book, they can then take a quiz all about it on the Accelerated Reader website here. In our library, there are also reading books they may chose to read for pleasure.

Further information about Accelerated Reader can be found here: Accelerated Reader. 

Phonetic Reading Books

For those pupils who still require development of their phonetic skills, they will have two reading books that they use for home reading:

1. A phonics reading book that is linked to the sounds that they are learning in their Read Write Inc sessions. These books are chosen from the Read Write Inc Book Bag Books that enable the children to embed and practise the sounds they have been learning. More information about these can be found here: Read Write Inc. Phonics Book Bag Books : Primary: Oxford University Press ( For pupils in Year 5 and 6, they will also make use of the RWInc Anthology booklets - each week they will bring home a print out of some relevant texts that link to the module booklets they use in school. These are to be used as the child's reading book along with their library book.

2. A reading book from our school library that links to their ZPD and is chosen for pleasure.



Please check out the following documents that explains the progressions of our reading book system in school (if your child also brings home a phonic reading book):


Read Write Inc List of Reading Books

Book Bag Books - Sounds and Phonics Overview


Helpful websites to support with reading at home: