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Reading: Age 6–7 (Year 2)

Children age 6–7 will continue to build up a range of reading skills. They should have strong phonics skills and growing comprehension skills, which will help them develop confidence in reading more broadly and fluently.

There are a variety of simple things you can do at home to support your child’s developing reading skills.

What your child will learn

Follow the links below to find out more about learning to read, with lots of information and support:

Learning to read in Year 2

In Year 2, your child will develop their word-reading until they are fluent word readers. They will still use phonics to decode unfamiliar words. Phonics focuses on building words from sounds. For example, once they know the individual sounds for ‘s’, ‘a’ and ‘t’, they can blend them together to form the word ‘sat’. Once they have learned all the sound and letter combinations, they will be able to try to read any unfamiliar words.

By now, there will probably be a range of tricky words, such as ‘the’ and ‘said’, that your child recognises on sight. These are words in which the sounds and letters do not match with what has been taught so far.

Your child will also routinely bring home a book to read aloud to you. This could be a levelled reading scheme book, although later in the year they may have free choice of the book they take home.

Find out more about learning to read in Year 2> 

Reading comprehension in Year 2

As well as building on their phonics skills, your child will also develop their comprehension skills.

Comprehension is the ability to read a text or listen to a text and understand its meaning. Your child will develop their comprehension skills through reading, listening to, and talking about different stories and texts.

Find out more about reading comprehension in Year 2 > 

Reading assessment in Year 2

In Year 2, your child’s reading will be assessed by a national assessment task (commonly called SATs), as well as by the teacher against a set of criteria from the National Curriculum.

Year 2 Reading Test

The reading test may include fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. Children answer comprehension questions to show their understanding of the texts.

There will be a mixture of question types. In some, your child will need to choose an answer (selected responses). For others, they will need to write their own answer (short and extended responses).

Find out more about the Year 2 Key Stage 1 SATs >

Teacher assessment

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 readersFor 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:

How to help at home

There are plenty of simple and effective ways you can help your child with reading in Year 2. Here are our top tips:

1. Read to your child

While your child will learn about how language works from speaking and listening, the type of language we use in writing is often different from that in speech. Reading regularly to your child, especially books that they cannot yet read on their own yet, is a great way of improving their understanding of language.

Talking about books is also a really useful habit to get into. Talk about the characters and what happens in a story, or what specific bit of information was most useful, but also get them to give you their opinions too. Let them tell you if (and why) they don’t like a book. Part of growing as a reader is learning that it’s okay not to like some books or to prefer reading on-screen sometimes!

For books to read with your child, take a look at our free eBook library.

2. Practise phonics

Phonics is the main way your child will learn to read, write, and spell at the start of primary school.

You can help your child to read using phonics by encouraging them to break any word they are unsure of into individual sounds, and then to blend those sounds together to make the word. For example, they could split and sound out the letters ‘f’, ‘r’, ‘o’, and ‘g’ to make ‘frog’. This is called blending.

Take a look at our phonics page to find out more, or watch our video for an introduction to phonics:


Video: What is phonics?

Get a definition of phonics and understand the key aspects of reading with phonics. Learn more about key terms such as ‘phonemes’, ‘blending’, and ‘tricky words’.

Copyright Oxford University Press 2020