Home Reading Expectations and 'Strive for 5' Initiative

Home Reading

At Whitby Heath, we rely on parental support with reading at home and believe we need to work in partnership with parents towards this common goal of ensuring children learn effectively and quickly to read. To get children off to a strongest start with reading, support at home must begin early when the children enter EYFS and begin learning their letter sounds.  Reinforcement of these letter sounds at home, using resources such as flash cards sent home by the EYFS team, will help your child learn to recognise and read their letter sounds confidently and quickly, so they can move onto practising the important skill of 'blending' to begin reading words.  Our aim is to get to get children to this point swiftly to get them off to the strongest start and this can best be achieved by working together, ensuring there is regular practise of reading skills both in school and at home with an adult.

Regular practise of reading skills at home and repeated reading of the same words, using flashcards and decodable phonics books sent home is essential for children to:

                            * become confident and quick in recognising their letter sounds

                            * become confident in 'Fred talking' to blend sounds and read words

                            * begin to recognise words on-sight and build some speed in reading words

                            * become fluent readers, that read with speed, expression and a good understanding

Flashcards and other resources will be sent home while children are learning their letter sounds and letter formation and when they are learning to blend sounds to read words using 'Fred Talk'.  When children can independently blend sounds to read words using 'Fred Talk', they then begin to bring home books.  These begin with single, simple words to practise their blending skills and as the children get more confident and speedy with their blending, they progress to books with simple words in simple sentences.  As the children begin to read longer words and recognise some words on-sight, the amount of sentences within books and complexity of them increases.  Children are regularly assessed at Whitby Heath, to ensure phonics lessons, as well as books read in school and at home are matched to their phonics knowledge and their reading ability.  In lessons, they continue to learn new sounds and read new words containing those sounds, with an emphasis on building up speed in reading particular sets of words, but books read at school and at home contain sounds that the children have become recently secure in, to ensure they can read them with confidence, enjoyment, understanding and build up speed, fluency and expression in their reading.  At times, when a child faces a particular barrier identified with their reading, the class teacher, may send home particular sets of flashcards, to allow for additional practise in reading these words or sounds, or to help children build up speed with their reading.  Printable sets of flashcards, for both sounds and green words, can be found in the 'RWI Resources to Support at Home' page for anyone wishing to utilise these to support with reading at home.  If unsure, which flashcards would be most beneficial to use at home with your child, please consult your child's class teacher for advice.  

What reading books will my child be bringing home?

All children who are still accessing our phonics program, Read Write Inc (RWI), will bring home a decodable RWI book and a reading for pleasure book.

If your child is no longer accessing our RWI program, children will bring home a book closely matched to their current reading level as identified by benchmarking assessments.


How can I support my child reading at home?

As a parent, you play a significant role in your child’s early reading development. Parents who engage their children in books prepare them to become committed and enthusiastic readers. You can transform your child’s attitudes towards reading. Your child will learn to focus and share the enjoyment for the story, they learn how stories start and finish, and how a plot unravels and is solved; they learn that books can transport them elsewhere. Without this, children cannot experience ‘the exquisite joys of immersion in the reading life’.



It is expected that all children will read at home at least five times each week. This can be a mixture of reading with support from an adult and independent reading. It can be their home reader, a magazine, newspaper, library book, or any other book that your child would enjoy reading. All home reading should be recorded in home-school diaries, this can be as simple as individual date and signature and the book that has been read as well as comment about how your child has read.


All children at Whitby Heath read daily in class whether it be on a 1:1 basis or working within group. As a school, we aim for ‘Strive for Five’. Using our Dojo reward system to celebrate this achievement. As a result, parents will receive a notification of this via the Dojo app as well as children receiving a stamp in their Reading Record indicating their total number of reads each week. 


Each child has an allocated day that their book/s will be changed, linked to their house teams.


Donaldson- Monday

Seuss- Tuesday

Dahl- Wednesday

Rowling- Thursday


In school, we use children’s Reading Records to keep a record of what the children are reading rather than a dialogue between parents and school. We love to see parent comments about how they have got on if you have listened to them reading aloud or have asked them some questions about what they have read. We look forward to catching up with parents about children's reading progress in our parent’s evenings.