Hathershaw College



“Children who are supported in their reading at home are more likely to enjoy reading and tend to achieve more highly at school”  - Department for Education (DfE) (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/284286/reading_for_pleasure.pdf)

At The Hathershaw College we firmly believe that reading is the key to every student’s future success.  Research has proven that students whose parents read regularly out loud to them regularly hear between hundreds of thousands to over one million more words than their classmates who are not read to. Reading to children improves their cognitive development and ability to think and understand.  (https://uapbnews.wordpress.com/2020/01/09/learning-to-read-helps-ensure-childrens-future-success/)

Some of the many benefits of reading are:

  • Readers have broader vocabularies
  • Reading can boost maths scores
  • Reading can reduce stress
  • Reading improves self-confidence
  • Fiction readers are more empathetic
  • Good readers earn more 

The Hathershaw College recognises that as parents you want the best for your children, but that work and everyday life can sometimes make our best intentions difficult to implement. So we have provided some strategies that fit easily into your home life that allow us to work together to provide reading opportunities for your children and ultimately improve their life chances.

Read to your child(ren):

Reading to children exposes them to richer vocabulary than they usually hear from the adults who speak to them, and can have positive impacts on their language, intelligence, and later literacy achievement. What should you read to them? There are so many wonderful children’s books. Visit your local library, and you can get an armful of adventure. If a parent or caregiver can’t read or can’t read English, there are alternatives, such as using audiobooks; but for those who can, reading a book or story to a child is a great, easy way to advance literacy skills. 

Listen to your child read

When your child starts bringing books home from school, have them read to you. If it doesn’t sound good (there are mistakes, reading sounds 'choppy'), have them read it again. Alternatively, read it to them to model how it should sound and then have them try to copy the way it sounds. Studies show that this kind of repeated oral reading makes students better readers, even when it is done at home.

Ask questions

When your child reads, encourage them to retell you the story or information. If it’s a story, ask who it was about and what happened. If it’s an informational text, have your child explain what it was about and how it was organised, or what its parts were. Reading is not just sounding out words, but thinking about and remembering ideas and events. Improving reading comprehension skills early will prepare your child for feeling confident when reading more difficult texts.

Make reading a regular activity in your home

Make reading a part of your daily life, something you do together and children will learn to enjoy it. Set aside some time when the family can come together, when nobody is watching television or using a device, and just read. Make it fun, too. If you finish reading a book that has been made into a film, watch the film together.  


The DfES have also produced the booklet: ‘Help your children to learn: A GUIDE TO SUPPORTING READING FOR PARENTS OF SECONDARY SCHOOL CHILDREN’ which can be found at:   http://www.wecanandmustdobetter.org/files/8114/2779/6463/Supporting_childrens_reading_secondary.pdf

This provides further information on the benefits of encouraging and helping your child to read, along with easy to implement and useful strategies.

Support your child to choose books they will love

Children are much more likely to enjoy reading if they are able to find books which are both accessible to their reading level and appeal to their interests. Our librarian at Hathershaw can recommend books, but you can also access the expertise and books stock of your local library:


Sometimes it can be daunting knowing which books to choose, but fortunately there are always recommendations available. ‘The School Reading List’ provides information about a whole range of books, organised by age and genre:


For students who are not natural readers, who may struggle to find books they can access which are still interesting for them, the English and Media Centre has put together a list of 60 books for reluctant readers: 



As well as the web links provided, staff at The Hathershaw College are always available to discuss any concerns you may have about supporting your child’s reading at home.

Happy reading!