Parental involvement in reading programmes is the key to pupils achieving high levels of literacy, according to the head of Halstow primary school in Greenwich, south-east London, David Marley writes.
Mary Whitehead invites all parents to attend a session at the school to learn about their role in developing their children's reading ability. They are told about the mechanics of phonics so that they can practise with their children, and are given a take-home pack containing exercises and information.
For the past two years, key stage 2 pupils at Halstow have achieved 100 per cent in level 4 reading assessments.
"We go through the process carefully with parents of how they should work with their children," said Mrs Whitehead. "They know it's a partnership between them and the school. They learn about the mechanics, but we also encourage discussion of the books and stories.
"The first national literacy strategy called for group and shared reading, not one-to-one reading. But we have kept a strong emphasis on one-to-one reading in our school.
"It's very important that children read every day if they can. Little and often is the best way."
Mrs Whitehead said she agreed with the findings of the study that children develop more quickly when they read rather than being read to.
"We would never say a parent should not read to a child," she said, "but they must hand over the responsibility to the child when the child can handle it."