English Help Guides

In order for your children to make good progress and do well (at school and in life in general), they need to be proficient communicators who can read and write effectively. This page will provide some support and guidance to help you as parents understand the curriculum better and enable you to support your child with their home learning tasks.


Reading is not merely the decoding of words on a page, it is paramount that children understand what they have read and that they understand what is inferred and suggested—especially those things that are not directly said.  Please read to or listen to your child read every day as this supports not only their reading but it also develops them as writers and across other curriculum areas too. 

Even if your child is an able reader, it is important to create opportunities to read to them, question and talk with them about what they have read.  A high level of engagement with a text will make them stronger readers, and help them to develop a love for reading!


The questions/sentence starters below are based upon the levels of questioning developed by Bloom and Anderson which are used across the school.  They will develop your child’s comprehension and can be asked about characters, settings and actions.  These ensure children think about learning at a variety of levels ranging from the retrieval of information at level 1 (Knowledge) to generating new ideas  at level 6 (Create).

The use of Higher Order Questioning (HOQ) helps to engage and challenge children by:

  • building on their prior knowledge and understanding in order to create new understanding and meaning
  • focusing children’s thinking on key concepts and issues
  • helping them to extend their thinking from the concrete and factual to the analytical and evaluative.
  • promote reasoning, problem solving, evaluation and the formulation of hypotheses
  • to promote pupils’ thinking about the way they have learned.


What is …?
How is …?
Where is …?
When did __ happen?
How would you explain …?
Why did …?
How would you describe …?
Can you recall …?
Can you select …?
Who (what) were the main …? 

2. COMPREHENSION (Understanding)

How would you classify the type of …? How would you compare /contrast…? How would you rephrase the meaning …? What is the main idea of …?
Which statements support …?
Can you explain what is meant …?
What can you say about …?
Which is the best answer …?
How would you summarize …? 



How would you use …?
What examples can you find to…
How would you solve __ using what you have learned …?
How would you show your understanding of …?
 How would you apply what you learned to develop …?
What other way would you plan to …? What would result if …?
What elements would you choose to change …?
What facts would you select to show …? What questions would you ask in an interview with …?


What are the parts or features of …? How is __ related to …?
Why do you think …?
What is the theme …?
What motive is there …?
What conclusions can you draw …?
How would you classify …?
What evidence can you find …?
What is the relationship between …?
Can you make a distinction between …?
What ideas justify …?


Do you agree with the actions?
Do you agree with the outcomes?
What is your opinion of …?
How would you prove …? Disprove…?
Can you assess the value or importance of ..?
What would you recommend …?
How would you rate or evaluate the …? 


What changes would you make to solve …?
How would you improve …?
What would happen if …?
Can you elaborate on the reason …?
Can you propose an alternative …?
Can you invent …?
How would you adapt ...to create a different…?
How could you change the plot (plan) …?
What could be combined to improve (change) …?

Hillcross Primary School, Ashridge Way, Morden, Surrey, SM4 4EE

020 8542 6936