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Reading: Age 9–10 (Year 5)

In Year 5, your child will be encouraged to read widely. This way, they will become familiar with many different types of language and writing. They will talk about and explore their understanding of a wide range of books including stories, non-fiction, poetry, and play-scripts.

 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 5

In Year 5, some children’s enthusiasm for reading begins to dip, especially as there are many other activities competing for their time. They may need encouragement to keep them reading. Starting with their interests – football, dancing, animals, and so on – can be an effective way to hook your child back into reading.

At school, your child will read and listen to a wide range of books, poems and stories. This will help them to develop a feel for the types of things that they like to read.

Get more tips for developing reading skills in Year 5 > 

Reading comprehension in Year 5

During Year 5, your child will learn to think more deeply about what they read; to make connections, predictions and read between the lines. To develop their comprehension skills and understanding, your child will read and hear lots of different types of books and talk what they’ve read.

Find out more about reading comprehension in Year 5 >

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:

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 5. 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, and 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, especially if the books you read are a bit above their current reading level. Take a look at our free eBook library for ideas for older readers.

Our free eBook library has lots of books perfect for developing readers.

2. Read for a purpose

As well as reading for pure pleasure, your child is likely to need to read for particular purposes too. They read to find information, to learn about something or even in order to answer questions. Practising this can be useful for success at school.

Your child may be asked to investigate a topic or find answers to questions set in class. You can help them with their research skills by talking about where to look to find the answers, although you may need to remind them to look in books and use the library as well as the internet. Children can struggle with information overload so they need your help to ‘search and sift’ sites and books to make decisions.

3. Listen to your child read

Even though your child is likely to be an independent reader by Year 5, it’s still helpful to listen to them read. It means you can help them with unfamiliar words and talk together to make sure that they understand the book.

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 all help to develop their reading. 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.

Copyright Oxford University Press 2020