We are working together to help your child to become an enthusiastic and confident reader. We hope that you will find this useful in explaining our approach to reading and how you can help.

Why we ask you to help.

Sharing a book is a special experience, which you and your child can have together. Children need as much practice at reading as possible. Finding the time to share a book with a child shows them that you think reading is a valuable and important thing to do.

Why is it important to read to your child

  • Children learn to enjoy books and this encourages them to read themselves.
  • They are learning that the language which books use is different from the language we speak
  • As an adult we can model the exact way I which we use a book. This includes where the story begins, where the words and pictures are and the direction in which the print runs.
  • Reading aloud to your child is valuable for children at all stages of development, as it allows children the time to concentrate on other elements of language such as expression, story structures and description.

How to begin reading with your child.

  • Sit next to your child so that you are both comfortable and that you can see the text clearly
  • First look at the book together and talk about the story or pictures in the book.
  • Point to the words as you read them and share the pictures
  • Allow plenty of time for discussion before you turn the page. A valuable question is “What do you think will happen next?”
  • Start reading aloud together. Try to go at the pace of you child.
  • When your child wants you to drop out she/he will give you a nudge. You can then stop reading and your child can continue alone.
  • If your child makes a mistake, stops or loses fluency, you can join in until the child indicates that she/he wishes to continue alone.
  • Try to read with your child a little everyday.

How to help your child if they are a ‘reader’

  • Let your child read aloud to you and sometimes take turns to read a page.
  • Encourage your child to make intelligent guesses at any words she/he cannot read.
  • If your child is unable to read a word, suggest reading to the end of the sentence and then return to the unknown word. It is sometimes possible to guess correctly the appropriate word.
  • Tell your child the initial sound if she/he does not know. If this does not help you can model reading the sounds in the word to see if the child can work it out. If your child is still finding the word difficult, tell them the word and carry on. As your child grows in confidence and skills, you will find that she/he is reading more and more of the text to you.

Things to remember when reading with your child

  • Do build up confidence in your child through praise
  • Do make reading enjoyable by ensuring that the atmosphere is happy and relaxed
  • Do keep the session short (particularly for younger children.) Ten to fifteen minutes a day is plenty
  • Do give reading practice your undivided attention
  • Do encourage your child to make intelligent guesses.

Ideas for activities and games to help to develop your child’s reading skills

  • Put up an alphabet frieze in your child’s room. (This could be personalised with pictures for each sound, which are relevant to the child.)
  • Play ‘Spot the Letter’ when you’re out and about on signs, labels and packaging.
  • Share a variety of alphabet books.
  • Sing or recite familiar rhymes, songs, and poems. Try missing out a word from a familiar rhyme for the child to supply.
  • Tackle one letter sound at a time. It is a good idea to choose a letter sound for the day to focus on.
  • Make a ‘Sound bag’. Pin the chosen later to the front and put in objects, which begin with that letter.
  • Make a sound picture using old magazines and catalogues to search for pictures of objects, which begin with the same sounds.
  • Play ‘I spy’ with objects, which begin with that particular sound. This avoids confusion over words which have the same sound but are spelt differently e.g. giant and jam.
  • Look for letters in familiar shops and signs e.g. M in McDonalds and B in Boots
  • Make flash cards on pieces of card showing common words, letters of the alphabet, or character’s names from the reading scheme books.
  • Use flashcards, select about eight and make duplicates. Use them to play ‘Snap’ and ‘Pairs’
  • Select a common word and play ‘Find the word’ in comics and magazines.
  • Use magnetic letters on the fridge to make rhyming words.
  • Play ‘I hear with my little ear, something that rhymes with e.g. hen’.
  • As you read familiar stories, encourage your child to join in with favourite phrases, repetition or the last words in each sentence.

Remember that children develop their reading skills at varying rates and have different combinations of strengths and weaknesses. Try to build on your child’s strengths and praise them for their efforts. The most valuable help that you can give is the time to talk, listen and read with you child and enjoy the progress that you child makes as they learn to read.

The reading Log Book is a useful means of communication between the class teacher and you, the parent. Please initial the book when you have read with your child so that it is clear to see if books need changing. We also encourage parents to make comments in the book to communicate their child’s progress at home.

Teachers will be more than happy to arrange a time to meet with you to discuss any queries you may have or to give you advice on your child’s reading.

View our curriculum statement on Reading here