Helping children learn to read

Keep reading to your child.

Many children are afraid that once they can read they will lose that precious snuggle up bedtime reading session. Make it clear that this will not happen!

Read when they are ready.

Find a time that works for your child and keep the sessions short and sweet. If they are tired, they will find it more difficult, get frustrated and give up. Once they hit a brick wall, it is difficult to get over it.

Enjoy the book!

Reading scheme books are highly illustrated. Talk about the pictures, make predictions, wonder out loud about characters, connect these reading sessions to other books you have read together.

Sound it out?

If your child comes across a word they cannot read help them sound it out. Not by each letter but by each sound (also called phoneme). The sounds that make up the word that can be represented by more than one letter e.g. sh, th and ng. So ‘shark’ would be sh-ar-k.

Tricky words?

Some words cannot be easily sounded out and are often known as ‘tricky words’. They often appear in children’s reading books because they are common words which children need to know and they will very quickly learn to read them by sight rather than sounding them out. When you come across an unknown ‘tricky word’, sound out the parts that can be sounded out and then model saying the ‘tricky bit.’ So, ‘said’ would be ‘s’- ‘ai’ says e (that’s a tricky bit) - ‘d’.

Be a reading role-model.

If your child sees that you value books and reading then they will want to emulate you!

Open their eyes to the reading environment.

Children will learn to read by reading everything around them, not just reading books. When you are out and about talk about number plates, road signs, menus. It all helps.

Use the notes.

Most reading schemes provide notes on the inside cover of their book with ideas that enhance reading sessions as well as telling you which sounds (phonemes) or tricky words are covered in the book.

Don’t push it!

Your child should be reading books with 90% accuracy (9 out of 10 words read correctly) in order to get the most from them. Reading scheme books are carefully levelled books so that children can read enough of the words to be able to enjoy the book without getting so frustrated that they lose interest and give up.

Do what works for your child.

Some children love reading and that is enough to get them going, whilst others are more reluctant and may need rewarding for what they consider to be ‘hard work.’ Read together, alternate pages, alternate sentences, share the reading load so that your child engages happily. You do not have to read the same book again and again until they can read it perfectly. If it isn’t working MOVE ON!

Keep in contact.

Children should move up a reading level when they are ready, not just when they have read every book available at that level. Your child’s teacher should monitor their reading level closely, but if you think that your child is ready to move up a reading level, then don’t be afraid to mention it or write a note in their reading record book. However, it doesn’t do children any good to move up a reading level if they aren’t ready for it, as they could lose confidence and make less progress.

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