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Garth Hill College

Literacy and Reading

At Garth Hill College, literacy is in everything we do: our ability to read, write and talk helps our learning in every subject.  We all work to improve students’ literacy skills.

Here you will find a variety of resources to support your child’s literacy progress across the curriculum, as well as information and celebrations of words, in all their glorious forms.

"No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world"

John Keating


Reading Fluently Support Guide

Fluency is defined as the ability to read with speed, accuracy, and expression. In order to understand what they read, children must be able to read fluently whether they are reading aloud or silently. When reading aloud, fluent readers read in phrases and add intonation appropriately. Their reading is smooth and has expression.


Why is fluency important to your child's progress?

Children learn to read in three stages: Decoding - Recalling - Fluency

Fluency is the final and most important stage in developing the skills needed to be able to understand meanings of words in context when reading. At GCSE the word count has significantly increased in recent years, with Maths exams containing over 1000 words! Students therefore, need to be able to read accurately and at speed in order to be successful in their exams. Students also need to have a reading age of 15 years or more to access the questions. If students increase their reading speed and understanding of language, the gains in time to process and respond to questions can be enormous. On the exam papers analysed, the average gain would be approximately 5m 30s, with the maximum gain (English Literature) being 12m 15s. Chemistry, Biology, Physics and Maths papers would be significantly impacted, particularly students sitting the Foundation Tier papers, which in almost all cases have a significantly higher word count than the Higher Tier papers. So, the message is clear, if your child's fluency improves so will their grades!


How can I tell if my child needs help with the reading fluency?

Below are some indications of what you and your child may experience when their reading fluency needs developing.

A child's perspective:

What I feel: Here are some ways students may describe what they feel when reading:

  • I hate reading.  This book is stupid.
  • I get stuck when I try to read a lot of words at once.  I cannot remember what I just read.
  • It takes so long to read something and makes me tired.  I can't even think about what this means.

A parent's perspective:

What I see at home Here are some clues for parents that a child may have problems with fluency:

  • They know how to read words but seem to take a long time to read a short book or passage silently. They read a book with no expression.
  • They stumble a lot and lose their place when reading something aloud.
  • They read aloud very slowly.
  • They move their mouth when reading silently (subvocalizing).


So how can you and your child develop reading fluency?

Here are some ways we can improve reading fluency at home:

Paired or "Buddy" Reading

The easiest and best way to help your child develop fluency is to sit with your child and read aloud! Read together every day which is often called paired or buddy reading. To use paired reading, simply take turns reading aloud. You go first, as your reading provides a model of what good fluent reading sounds like. Then, ask your child to re-read the same page you just read. You'll notice that your child's reading will start to sound more and more like yours. Do this for several pages. Once your child is comfortable enough, and familiar enough with the book, take turns reading page for page.

Re-read Favourite Books

Another way you can help develop fluency is to build a tall stack of books that your child can read quickly and easily. Encourage your child to re-read favourite books over and over again. With each reading, you may notice your child reading a bit easier, a bit faster, and with more confidence and expression.

Record It

A fun way to practice reading and build fluency is to have your child create their own audio books. This can be done simply with a tape recorder or audio recording feature or app (like Audioboo) on your phone. Or, use something more sophisticated like StoryKit, where a usercan create an electronic storybook and record audio to accompany it. Regardless of the method you choose, your child will be practicing reading and that reading practice is critical in improving fluency. Sharing your audio recordings with family and friends is a great motivator too!

These activities are easy and require very few materials. Doing these activities with your child will help build fluency — a skill which will last a lifetime.


Further support can be found at:

10 top tips for parents to support children to read - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Parents and families | National Literacy Trust


Recommended Reading Lists


key stage 3 reading list 2023.pdf


key stage 4 reading list 2023.pdf