Oxford Owl Learning Guide: Improve Your Children Reading Efficiency

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– Oxford Owl –

Oxford owl is an online site with a library of free graded readers available to anyone, once they’ve created an account. Also, oxford owl is to help youngsters learn at home and at school. See details below

Oxford Owl Learning Guide: Improve Your Children Reading Efficiency Oxford Owl Learning Guide: Improve Your Children Reading Efficiency

About Oxford Owl

Oxford Owl is an award-winning website produced by Oxford University Press to help youngsters learn at home and at school.

We all want the best for our children as parents and caregivers, but getting the correct guidance and resources may be difficult. 

Furthermore, the subjects that pupils are required to study and the manner in which they are taught have most likely changed significantly since you were in school, making navigating the educational system difficult.

Reasons for Oxford Owl

Oxford Owl Learning Guide: Improve Your Children Reading Efficiency Oxford Owl Learning Guide: Improve Your Children Reading Efficiency

It’s here to help you be as well-informed as you can be, ensuring you have everything you need to support your child on their journey through school.

Also, it is written specifically for parents and guardians by leading experts in education.

Oxford Owl gives all the crucial information you need, when you need it, from beginning to read to handling difficult maths, from the first day of school to the big transition up to secondary school.

What is Oxford Owl for School?

Oxford Owl for School is home to online teaching, learning and assessment resources, expert support and subscriptions for Primary Schools.

However, you can join over 200,000 teachers and start exploring thousands of free quality resources and tools, by clicking on Login

How to Create an Oxford Owl account

Follow the link below to create an oxford owl account

What are Oxford Levels and Book Bands?

Book Bands are used in UK schools to denote the reading level of each book across several reading systems. On each Oxford Reading Tree book, you’ll see our Oxford Levels next to the Book Band colours.

We also include Read with Oxford Stages on our home learning books because children require a different type of support at home.

By reading our descriptions and looking at sample pages from each Level, you can figure out which Oxford Levels, Book Bands, and Read with Oxford Stages are best for your child:

Choose the Most Appropriate Read with Oxford Stage for your Child

The Read with Oxford Stages is designed to help you choose the best books to help your child learn to read. They are suitable for children approximately 3–7 years old.

It can be tough to determine exactly what reading level your child is at, so we’ve prepared this short test to help you figure out which Read with Oxford Stage is right for them.

Once you’ve determined which Stage is best for your child, you may look into a variety of support and services that are tailored to their needs.

SEE ALSO:

Reading Schemes, Levels, and Stages About Oxford Owl for Schools and Home About Oxford Owl for Schools and Home

Learn about reading schemes (also known as reading programmes), Oxford Levels, and Stages, and find out how they’re used to help your child progress with reading at school.

A) Reading: Age 3–4 (Early years)

The early reading skills your child will learn at this age are an important foundation for starting school.

The focus at this age is on sharing stories, songs, and rhymes together and building talking and listening skills. Luckily, there are lots of fun and easy ways to encourage early reading success at home.

Reading at nurseryLinking sounds and lettersHelping tell a storySinging songs and rhymesGetting ready for reading at homeHow to Help at Home

There are lots of fun and easy ways to help your child get ready to read. See below for top ideas.

1. Talk about Books, Words, and Pictures

Before you begin reading a book, discuss the title and cover images (front and back). Inquire about your child’s interpretation of the story. After you’ve finished reading, ask your youngster what they thought of the story.

Try asking ‘how’ and ‘why’ questions about the story and the pictures. For example:

‘How did the bear get across the river?’

‘Why was the fox cross?’

2. Listen to (And Sing!) Songs and Rhymes

Singing songs and nursery rhymes to your child will help them hear the sounds in words and develop a repertoire of favourites. Make up random rhymes and play with words and sounds. Encourage them to participate.

See if your child can do the actions in time with this rhyme

More Tips to Help at Home

3. All Join In

When you’re reading to your child, ask them to join in on the bits that come up again and again.

‘Run, run, as fast as you can!’ for example. I’m the gingerbread man, therefore you can’t catch me!’ Repeated phrases are common in traditional stories, such as The Gingerbread Man, and children will enjoy imitating the voices!

4. Play Rhyming Games

Rhyming games are entertaining and will assist your youngster in learning to recognize and understand spoken sounds. When you’re out and about, play ‘I spy.’ Play around with rhyming words — can your youngster come up with a word that rhymes with the word “cat”?

In all games and activities, make sure you pronounce speech sounds clear. Try to make them as short as possible – for example, the letter m has a short /m/ sound, not a continuous /mmmmmmm/ sound.

Try not to add an extra sound onto the speech sound either (for example, the sound is /m/ and not /m-uh/).

B) Reading: Age 4–5

In Reception, your child will be taught phonics, a method of learning to read words. They learn to read letters by saying the sounds they represent.

They can then start to read words by blending individual sounds together to make words.

Your children will develop comprehension skills in addition to learning to decipher the words on the page.

This aids children in comprehending what the words say and the meaning of the text. These abilities will work together to help your child become a more enthusiastic and confident reader.

Read on to find out how your child will learn to read at school and how you can help at home.

What your child will learnLinking sounds and lettersBlending sounds to make wordsLearning tricky wordsHow to Help at Home

There are lots of ways you can help your child with reading in Reception. Here are our top ideas.

1. Read to your Child

For many children, learning to read can be difficult, so it’s crucial to maintain reading together. Listening to books and stories that your child is unable to read will also assist them.

Nonfiction books covering topics they are interested in or lengthier stories with more adventurous terminology are examples of this.

2. Listen to your Child Read

In Reception, your child will probably start bringing home books to read. Try to find time to hear them read every day.

It could be snuggled up on the sofa, at bedtime, or before school. Be sure to be patient and don’t forget to be impressed!

If your child gets stuck on a word, remind them to say the letter sounds individual and then blend them together quickly to hear the word. If your child still can’t work out the word, then tell them what it is and move on.

3. Play Rhyming Games

Say ‘into the pot goes’ while pretending to place objects that rhyme into a pot (for example, a bat, a hat, a cat, a mat). Do this with your child and then see if they can do it independently.

You can turn this into a game by throwing in words that don’t rhyme and asking your child to catch these ones out. For example, a cat, a hat, a bird – this last word shouldn’t go in the pot!

More Tips to Help at Home

4. Play Phonics Word Games

Play simple phonics word games based on the sounds your child is learning and has learned at school.

Start off using just the speech sounds and then immediately say the word. For example, you could say, ‘At the shop I will buy a /m/ /a/ /p/ – map, a /b/ /e/ /d/ – bed, a /d/ /u/ /ck/ – duck.’ Then, trying just

5. Say the Sounds Right

In all games and activities, make sure you pronounce speech sounds clear. Try to make them as short as possible – for example, the letter m has a short /m/ sound, not a continuous /mmmmmmm/ sound.

Try not to add an extra sound onto the speech sound either (for example, the sound is /m/ and not /m-uh/).

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C) Reading: Age 5–6

About Oxford Owl for Schools and Home About Oxford Owl for Schools and Home

Your kid will have a growing understanding of phonics and will be developing a variety of reading abilities in Year 1.

As kids become more confident and fluent readers, the emphasis is now on improving their phonics and comprehension skills.

In June, your child will take the phonics screening check to make sure they are reading at the expected level.

For information about the check, see the Phonics screening check page. 

Read on to find out how your child will learn to read at school and how you can help at home.

What your child will learnUse phonics skills to decode wordsBlend sounds in wordsRead common exception words (tricky words)Read words that have different endingsAlso, read words with contractionsRead books at the right level out loudRe-read books to build up fluency and confidence in word readingListen to and talk about a range of stories and textsLearn well-known stories, fairy stories, and traditional talesUnderstand the books they read and listen toCommon reading issuesHow to Help at Home

There are lots of ways you can help your child with reading in Year 1. They include;

1. Listen as your Child Reads

Books that your child brings home from school should be at the right level for them. The words should be readable for your child – we say they are levelled reading scheme books

They are written to ensure steady progress and success. Many of these books include helpful notes for parents inside the front and back covers.

Bear in mind that reading or listening to the same book more than once is no bad thing – in fact, it is really important for children.

Re-reading lets them see or hear words and phrases enough times to remember them, and also helps them to think again about the ideas in the book, perhaps noticing things they missed the first time.

2. Read to your Child

Reading to your child will help them to enjoy reading and will build up vital comprehension skills.

Children benefit from listening to books that they can’t read themselves yet, as they will see and hear adventurous language and ideas that they might not have found in their independent reading.

Non-fiction books about the things they’re interested in and longer stories are both great for expanding your child’s reading horizons.

3. Make Regular Time

Life is busy, but even ten minutes of listening to your child read each day is one of the best ways you can support their education and help them to become a strong reader.

 Finding a time and place that fits with your routine can help make sure reading is a regular activity. Try straight after school while they have a snack or while the bath is running.

4. Sound it Out

If your child gets stuck on a word, try phonics first. Get your child to say the letter sounds (e.g. ‘c’ ‘l’ ‘a’ ‘p’) and then blend them together to hear the whole word (clap); this is called blending.

If they are really stuck then it’s best to tell them the word and move on. If the book is at the right level then this should not happen too much.

More Tips to Help at Home

5. Get them Involved!

When you’re reading with your child, try to keep them actively involved in the words and the story.

Clap out syllables or chunks in words and names to help with reading longer words: pel-i-can! Sep-tem-ber! Or point out that some words are made up of two words (for example, wind and then mill makes windmill).

You can have lots of fun with a reading by making it an interactive experience. Encourage your child to join in with phrases, sound effects, and actions to make storytime a shared experience.

It’s great for bonding and talking, acting, and re-telling will all help to develop your child’s reading.

6. Choose a Wide Range of Books

A mix of fiction and non-fiction, real stories and magical stories, familiar characters and new experiences help to broaden your child’s interests and keep storytime fresh.

Sometimes you might choose the book, sometimes they might choose the book, and sometimes you might read both!

7. Talk about Books, Stories, Words and Pictures

Asking your child questions can help them to think about their reading. Try to ask open questions that begin with ‘how’ and ‘why’.

If you can, try to get your child to go back to the text and pictures to tell you how they know the answer.

Talking about what is happening in a picture, what the characters might be thinking, or what might happen next all help to develop early reading skills.

C) Reading: Age 7–8 (Year 3)

In Year 3, your child will hopefully be on the way to becoming a confident, independent reader. Many children who have got to grips with phonics and word-reading will shift their focus onto comprehension.

There are a variety of simple things you can do at home to support your child’s developing reading skills. Read on to find out how your child will learn to read at school and how you can help at home.

What your Child will Learn

Find out how your child will be learning to read in Year 3 (age 7–8):

Understand root words, prefixes, and suffixesRead more common exception words (tricky words)Read a wide range of books and retell stories orallyPerform poems and play scriptsTalk about interesting words and phrasesCheck that the text makes sense to themRead between the lines and justify thinking with evidence from the textPredict what might happen nextTalk about books and poemsUse dictionaries to check the meaning of wordsCommon reading issuesHow to Help At Home

There are plenty of simple and effective ways you can help your child with reading in Year 3. Here are our top tips.

1. Listen to your Child Read Regularly

By Year 3, your child will probably have a free choice of the book they read as their home-school reader. Although your child will probably be doing some reading on their own, listening to them read is still really helpful.

Making time to listen means that you can help with any unfamiliar words and talk to them about the book to make sure that they understand.

Seeing words in print is also good for your child’s other English skills – reading aloud helps them to understand the words, to spell them, and to see how grammar and punctuation are used to make meaning.

2. Continue Reading to your Child

Once your child can read on their own, it is tempting to leave them to get on with their own reading – but reading a book to them can be just as important as encouraging independent reading.

Reading to your child can help them develop language skills and comprehension. This is because it gives them access to books that they can’t yet read independently, such as longer novels.

It also provides a great opportunity to bond and can form part of a relaxing routine to help your child get ready for a good night’s sleep.

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

3. Don’t Give Up!

When your child reads more challenging books, there might be times when they struggle and want to stop. Help them through these patches by reading a bit with them to get them started or hooked into the next chapter.

Take it in turns to read a page or take on the role of particular characters or the narrator. Inventing different character voices is a great way to hook them in and distract them when they are feeling frustrated.

More Tips to Help at Home

4. Talk about Books, Stories, and Words

Talking about books is 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, and ask your child for 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 books sometimes!

Asking your child open questions that begin with ‘how’ and ‘why’ can help them to think about what they’re reading. Try to get your child to go back to the text and pictures to tell you how they know the answer.

When reading stories, good readers are always thinking ahead to start to work out what might happen next. You can help your child become better at this by asking key questions such as:

I wonder if … will happen?

Who do you think will…?

5. Make Use of Pictures to Discuss Stories

Talk about what is happening in a picture, what the characters might be thinking, or what might happen next.

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 of this age (often called ‘middle-grade books’) include illustrations as part of the story.

6. Explore Word Meanings Together

When your child comes across a new word in their reading, talk together about what the word might mean. Encourage them to use the other words and sentences around it to try to work out the meaning.

Talk about other ways you could use the word. Give them an example of another sentence using the new word and encourage your child to do the same.

D) 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 their 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. Read on to find out how your child will learn to read at school and how you can help at home.

What your Child will Learn

Find out how your child will be learning to read in Year 4 (age 8–9):

a. Understand Root Words, Prefixes, and Suffixes

A root word is a word that can stand on its own without prefixes or suffixes.

A prefix is a group of letters that is added to the beginning of a word. This makes a new word. For example, the prefix un- changes words so they mean the opposite.

For example, ‘happy’ becomes ‘unhappy’. In this example, ‘happy’ is the ‘root word’.

A suffix is a group of letters that is added to the end of a word.  For example, the suffix –ness turns a word into a noun. For example, ‘happy’ becomes ‘happiness’.

Your child will use their knowledge of root words, prefixes, and suffixes to work out the meaning of words. They will understand how prefixes and suffixes can change the meaning.

b. Read more Common Exception Words (tricky words)

Some words are trickier to sound out than others. This is usually because the sounds and letters do not match with what has been taught so far, or they are not spelt in a way that can be figured out using phonics.

In other words, they are not decodable. The National Curriculum calls these ‘common exception words, but they are often called tricky words in schools.

Your child is likely to meet words like these (for example, ‘said’ and ‘the’) in the books they read. Children are often taught to recognise these words by sight. Some schools send home lists of tricky words so that children can learn them off by heart.

c. Read a Wide Range of Books and Retell Stories Orally

In Year 4, your child will read and listen to many different books including fairy tales, myths, and legends. Retelling these stories helps your child to learn story language and to practise speaking to an audience.

You can find lots of books to read aloud with your child in our free eBook library.

d. Perform Poems and Play Scripts

Your child will study poems or play scripts in Year 4 and will have the chance to perform them to an audience. This helps them learn to read aloud with expression and shows the teacher that they understand the text.

Your child will also be expected to read aloud from their reading books.

e. Talk about Interesting Words and Phrases

Your child will talk about the language used in the different books they read. They will explore why the author has chosen certain words and think about why particular words and phrases work well.

This is useful for building their understanding of the texts they read. It is also useful when they come to write themselves.

f. Check that the Text makes Sense to Them

In Year 4, your child will be encouraged to become an independent reader, checking whether what they are reading makes sense to them. If it doesn’t make sense, it’s important they don’t just read on to try and finish the book.

They will be taught to re-read and to think about or look up the meaning of a word. Your child will also be encouraged to use the other words and phrases to work out the meaning.

They will be able to talk to you about their understanding of what they are reading.

More on What your Child will Learn

g. Read between the lines and justify thinking with evidence from the text

Sometimes the information in a text is very clear (for example, ‘It was raining’) and easy to understand. However, texts are often a bit more complicated and may require inference to properly understand.

The inference is where some information is left for the reader to read between the lines. They need to make sense of details that are not stated clearly. For example:

Instead of ‘It was raining’, the text might say, ‘Ally shook the water from her umbrella and carefully balanced her soaking coat on the radiator’.

Being able to make inferences is a key skill for comprehension so this is a focus for reading in Year 4.

h. Predict what Might Happen Next

In Year 4, your child will be taught to make predictions about the texts they read.

This could mean predicting what will happen next in the story or what a character might say or do. These predictions are a good way to check to understand.

i. Talk about Books and Poems

Reading lessons in Year 4 give your child a chance to talk about the books that they read and that are read to them. In these discussions, children show their understanding and learn that different people have different opinions about the things that they read.

Your child might talk about books as part of a small group or with the whole class. As well as developing their comprehension skills, these lessons are useful to practice for taking turns and listening to what others say.

j. Use Dictionaries to Check the Meaning of Words

In Year 4, your child will learn to use dictionaries to check the meaning of words they have read.

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.

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 4. Here are our top tips.

1. Listen to your Child Reading and Read to your Child

At this age, your child might prefer to read independently and it’s tempting to leave them to it. But listening to them read is still a worthwhile thing to do.

This way, you can help your child with any unfamiliar words and can talk to them about the book to make sure that they understand.

Reading to them is still important too. Reading to your child means that they will be able to hear books they might not yet be able to read themselves. Sharing and talking about books is also a lovely way to spend time together!

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

2. Value your Child’s Choices

It’s really important to value your child’s choices, even when a book looks too easy or too difficult. Children can often read books that initially appear to be too difficult (especially if it is a topic that interests them).

That said, you will probably need to guide them through tricky words, pictures, ideas, or even the layout of an information book.

At this age, children will often have strong enough word-reading skills to read most books they choose, but that doesn’t mean that they can always understand the text.

3. Open up the World of Reading

Help your child to read widely. Books, magazines, websites, and apps all show how reading can help you to follow your interests and get involved.

Show your child websites, books, and magazines that link to their hobbies – whether it’s swimming, football, dance, music, art, or something else entirely.

Always check that any websites children access are safe, and monitor their use of them.

More Tips to Help at Home

4. Make a Word Bookmark

Using a piece of paper as a bookmark, encourage your child to jot down words they don’t understand. They can do this when they read on their own or if you’re reading together and they don’t want to stop.

After reading, try looking up the words together in a dictionary and talk about what they mean.

5. Read for a Purpose

As well as reading for pleasure, your child is likely to need to read for particular purposes in Year 4. They will read to find information, to learn about something, or 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’ both sites and information to make decisions.

5. Don’t Give Up!

As your child reads read more difficult books, there might be times when they struggle and may be reluctant to continue.

You can help them through those patches by reading a bit with them to get them started or hooked into the next chapter. Always balance this with sensitivity and valuing their choice – it’s got to be fun!

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