Reading: Age 10–11 (Year 6)
By Year 6, your child will hopefully be reading independently at home and school for lots of different reasons. Some children may still be reluctant to read adventurously and can get stuck on one author, series, or type of book. Having favourites is great, but Year 6 is also a good time to push the boundaries and read new genres and forms.
It’s important at this age that your child is encouraged to develop a love of reading. This will help to build a strong foundation for learning when they go to secondary school and for later life.
Reading skills in Year 6
In Year 6, developing a love of reading will really help your child to prepare for secondary school. At this stage, it’s about reading as widely and frequently as possible.
As well as books, this can include newspapers, magazines, websites, and so on. This way children will experience a wide range of writing and language, reading for different purposes and seeing how reading can help you follow your interests.
Reading comprehension in Year 6
At school, your child will keep exploring their understanding of texts by reading widely and talking about what they have read. They will be encouraged to make connections between texts and within texts, to read between the lines, and to back up their assumptions using evidence from the text.
Reading assessments in Year 6
In Year 6, children’s reading is assessed by a national assessment test (commonly called SATs) and also by a teacher assessment.
Year 6 Reading Test
There is one paper in the reading test. The paper will cover a selection of texts including fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. Children will be given a reading booklet and a separate answer booklet containing comprehension questions about each text. The test will last one hour.
There will be a mixture of question types including 1-mark, 2-mark and 3-mark questions. In some questions, your child will need to choose an answer (selected responses) by ticking, drawing lines or circling. For some, they will need to write their own answer (short or extended constructed responses). The length of the answer expected will be shown by the space given for the answer.
Find out more about the KS2 SATs Reading test >
Over the course of the year, teachers will use the reading that children do in school to inform their teacher assessment. Teachers will assess your child’s word reading and their comprehension.
Common reading issues
Lots of parents worry about their children’s reading. Fortunately, help is at hand!
Some children can read the words quite well – it’s just that they don’t want to. We call this group of children reluctant readers. For some other children, it is difficult to remember common words or the sounds of the letters from one day to the next. Reading is a slow and painful struggle, distressing for your child and for you. These children can be called struggling readers.
Read our expert advice on how to support your child with common reading issues:
If you are concerned about your child’s reading progress, then pop into school to talk to their teacher. Lots of people can help with reading issues, like teachers, librarians, and booksellers.
How to help at home
There are plenty of simple and effective ways you can help your child with reading in Year 6. Here are our top tips:
1. Read a wide variety of books
Encourage your child to choose texts with a wide variety of formats and layouts. Lots of children have favourite authors and genres, but it can be helpful to expand into new types of books every so often – and be sure not to neglect non-fiction texts, such as magazine articles, brochures, adverts, newspaper columns, signs, and notices.
Showing your child lots of kinds of texts will give them experience reading in a real-world context. It will also prepare them for national assessments where they are expected to engage with a wide variety of text types. Make sure you talk together about how the texts are presented – the writing may look different depending on what kind of text you are looking at.
Your child may now be reading more independently, but reading to your child can still be very useful. Take a look at our free eBook library for ideas for older readers.
2. … but value your child’s choices too!
Your child might want to read something that everyone is reading at school, an old favourite they’ve read a hundred times before, or something you wouldn’t pick yourself: another book about ponies or the biography of a footballer you’ve never heard of. Giving your child free choice of the book is a great way of building excitement about reading.
If your child tends to want to read the same books over and over again, it can be difficult to balance encouraging your child to read outside the box with letting them choose their own books. The best course is to aim for a mix of old favourites and exciting new ideas. Don’t ban your child from reading a book they have read several times before – but do be sure to point out new titles that might appeal.
Our free eBook library has lots of books perfect for developing readers.
3. Carry on reading aloud
Your child may already be a fluent reader, but there are still lots of advantages to reading aloud to your child. Reading to your child gives them the chance to listen to books that they might not be able to read independently. This includes books that are too long for their current level of reading stamina, books with tricky vocabulary, or books that introduce concepts that benefit from discussion with an adult.
It also gives you lots of chances to talk about books with your child, and safeguards some shared time together. Read more about reading aloud to older children in James Clements’ blog post, Carry on reading aloud.
4. Use pictures to talk about stories
For younger children, pictures provide an excellent opportunity to practise comprehension skills. This can also be true of children as they grow older and become more confident readers – take a look at our blog post on Picture books for older readers.
Talking about what is happening in a picture, what the characters might be thinking, or what might happen next. You might use a photo or picture on its own, or an illustration from a picture book, non-fiction book, or comic strip. Many popular books for children feature illustrations as part of the story.