FAQs about children's reading age seven to 11

 

Should I still read aloud to my child?

The short answer is: yes. Even the best reader enjoys being read aloud to. Your child will develop reading behaviours and responses to reading which are well beyond what they can achieve when part of their mind is still focusing on reading the words.

When you read, your child's mind can focus entirely on enjoying the books, searching for meaning, replaying words and phrases in their heads, asking questions and so on.

As importantly, continuing to read aloud creates regular close times between you and your child, where you can talk about books, about school and about any worries they have.

Girl reading bookMy child wants to read on their own

Wanting to go it alone is a common thread as children go through Key Stage 2. They're growing up and want to take more responsibility for their own learning. Which is good.

On the other hand, children often can't make progress when they try to do it without adult help.

Can you come to a compromise? This may mean that you are less 'hands-on' than you would like to be, but it does mean that you can still monitor progress. And if they get stuck, you'll be able to spot it quickly and they will understand why you need to be more involved for a while.

My child wants to read silently

Reading silently is an important skill to develop. Many people prefer to read silently because: it's quicker and it's more private, you can read at your own speed, checking and rechecking things you didn't get first time. These are all good reasons for children wanting to read silently.

Bad reasons for wanting to read silently include:

  • So no-one knows whether I've done the reading or not.
  • I can quickly skim-read the passage and get the gist. It doesn't really matter.
  • I don't have a clue what's going on and if I say I'm reading silently then no-one will ever know.

You can be guided by how well you know your child to decide whether their reasons are good or bad. But either way, it's worth setting up a system so that you check how well they're doing.

For example, you can suggest that your child reads silently every day, but reads aloud once or twice a week, beginning each time with a summary of what's happened in between.

My child isn't reading as accurately as they used to

This is a common issue which tends to occur at some point in Key Stage 2.

It's often because your child is becoming a better reader. When you, as an expert reader, read aloud, your eyes are generally searching slightly ahead of your voice so you can see what's coming. This enables you to make sure that you're using expression and pace appropriately.

If your child is still enjoying reading and making good progress, it could simply be that they're developing this skill but that everything isn't yet coordinated. It often takes a little while for the coordination to develop.

Whatever the reason for the lack of accuracy, it's a good idea to increase the number of times you hear your child read aloud. Increased practice will help with coordination, if that's the problem, and the inaccuracies will soon disappear.

If there's a different problem - like sight - then the inaccuracies will continue and you will need to talk to the teacher and have your child's eyesight checked.

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Last updated: 28-Jun-2012 at 5:11 PM