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YEAR 5: Supporting your child's learning - suggestions on how YOU can help


We understand that as parents you will be keen to do all you can to support your child’s learning in Year 5.  For some of you, this will be particularly important as we move into the last year before the entrance exams.  In answer to the question, “What can I do to help my child?” here are some suggestions:



  • Reading is very important! Listen to your child read out loud, at least a few pages three or four times a week.  At the same time, watch that they are reading EXACTLY what it says as some children have developed a habit of skipping words or generally misreading.  Hearing them read will enable you to question their comprehension of the text, check their understanding of vocabulary, correct any mispronunciation, and discuss things such as the style and language used by the author and the effects these create for the reader.  As well as being a vital skill in itself, regular reading directly supports the knowledge needed for the Verbal Reasoning exam.
  • Read to them!  There is so much to be gained from this activity.  You will be able to stretch their vocabulary and general knowledge by choosing texts that are slightly harder than they might tackle themselves, and they may absorb more easily some of the patterns and structures of effective writing and then reproduce them in their own work.  It’s great fun for all concerned, too!
  • Encourage reading – frequent visits to the library and a spending allowance at the local bookshop would be very welcome, we’re sure!  Reading a series of books can be very rewarding but suggest they try different authors and genres – and remember, non-fiction counts too! If you’re stuck for ideas even after looking at our suggested lists on the website, try ‘The Ultimate Book Guide’ (A & C Black) for inspiration.  Fiction is more useful than non-fiction for vocabulary development and older texts tend to be more stretching in terms of both comprehension and vocabulary.
  • Expand your children’s vocabulary.  Look for opportunities to introduce them to new and unusual words and give examples of their use in context.  Newspapers and non-fiction books are often particularly good sources for such words.  Explore groups and families of words (for example, musical instruments, professions, clothing, animals…).



  • Please monitor all homework carefully, discussing the tasks, quizzing them on their weekly spellings, prompting and helping a little where necessary, and checking any finished work.  If your child has made errors in the maths, please help them as much as necessary, asking them to write the corrections by the side.  This kind of 1:1 support is invaluable at this stage.  If you help a lot, write a short note so the teacher can see and go over this in class.
  • In particular, please work closely with your child when they do the comprehension homework.  It is through discussion with you that they will really develop an understanding of how to ‘infer’ and generally ‘read beyond the text’.  Ensure that they include all the relevant details in answers, referring to the text when appropriate to ‘back up’ answers.



  • If your child is to sit entrance exams, we would encourage you to introduce regular verbal and non-verbal reasoning ‘tests’ at this stage, if you are not already doing so.  Resources to support your child in exam preparation are available from all good book retailers and most of it is very helpful – you could choose either GL 11+ multiple choice papers or CEM 11+ papers (multiple choice) for example (check online for the types of papers suggested by the school in regards to the entrance exam as they vary).  These will offer your child repetitive practice of exam-style questions but please note that they will not teach them the necessary skills or enhance their vocabulary.  The latter can only be achieved through reading high-quality word-rich texts and by completing dedicated spelling and vocabulary activities.
  • Although the ‘ten-minute tests’ are great for practising skills, full–length tests at the start of the New Year are appropriate as some children need to develop the skill of maintaining focus for longer periods.  Also, by about March, we suggest that these tests be done in the stated time, as ‘timing’ can let many children down.  However, please do not overdo all this.  You do not want to add a huge burden onto a child who is already working hard at school, and you do not want to develop negative reactions.  Maybe set one test a week, alternating between verbal, non-verbal, and maths/comprehension, supplemented by one or two of the ‘ten-minute’ tests?  We cannot be exact about this as it will depend on your child’s needs - and their reactions!  However, without meaning to state the obvious, please remember that the MOST critical and important part of these tests is the thorough and careful ‘going through’ afterwards, where the child learns where they have gone wrong - so they can hopefully avoid such mistakes in the future!  (Just ‘doing’ the tests without this support is of very little, if any, value).
  • To support this further, please encourage an interest in ‘literacy’ and ‘numeracy’ pastimes: ‘Wordsearches’, crosswords, anagrams, number games, Sudoku, counting games, card games, board games … Discount bookshops often have cheap puzzle books with many of these sorts of activities in.  These are ‘fun’ ways of developing key reasoning skills and are very helpful!


  • If your child struggles with Maths – or simply needs more practice for confidence - you could consider a good revision guide for Maths.  There are many available but one child-friendly book that we would recommend is: ‘KS2 Maths Study Book Year Six’ (CGP).  (Choose the Year Five version if your child needs a little more maths support).
  • Go online.  Of course, there are hundreds of websites that offer a wide range of support to the primary school pupil.  For English and Maths, we would particularly recommend: BBC Schools (, NRICH ( or Oak Academy (
  • If your child is still unsure, please encourage them to keep on learning their times tables (TTRS battle each week between the classes)!  A sound knowledge of these is fundamental to so much of the Maths curriculum and children need to be able to answer any multiplication question – and the related division questions – within a few seconds.  They should be familiar with the many ways in which problems can be posed and the language that might be used (E.G. What is the product of 9 and 7? 21 shared between 3 is…?)  To help them learn, consider books, CD’s, websites, oral quizzes, rote learning, focussing on one number a week, chanting together, family competitions, wall posters…


We hope this information is helpful.  We will, of course, be happy to discuss any worries you may have and the needs of your own child at Parents’ Evening.

Mrs. Pope, Mr. Haygarth, Mrs. Byrne & Mrs. Thompson