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Reading: Age 8–9 (Year 4)

In Year 4, your child will be developing into an increasingly fluent reader. The focus will now be on building comprehension, but it is still important that children use phonics skills to tackle new words.

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:

Reading skills in Year 4

By Year 4, your child will probably be a fluent reader. They will still use phonics as a first strategy to decode any unfamiliar words they come across in their reading. They will continue to develop their comprehension skills and build the habits that make a confident and enthusiastic reader.

In Year 4, they will still benefit from reading widely and having a wide range of books read to them.

Get more tips for developing reading skills in Year 4 >

Reading comprehension in Year 4

In Year 4, your child will be continuing to develop their comprehension skills. Reading lessons in Year 4 give your child the chance to talk about the books that they read and that are read to them. They will be encouraged to check they understand a text, to predict what might happen and to read between the lines.

Your child will be given the opportunity to read a wide range of different texts including poems and play scripts, which they may read aloud.

Find out more about reading comprehension in Year 4 >

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 4. 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. Encourage your child to read to you

Making time to hear your child read isn’t just good for their reading. Seeing words in print helps them to understand the words, to spell them, and to see how grammar and punctuation are used to make meaning.

When your child is reading, occasionally talk about why the author has decided to include something and how they written it. For example:

‘I wonder why the author has chosen to describe the castle as “gloomy”? I wonder what that tells us about what might happen there?’

Copyright Oxford University Press 2020