Helping Your Child Learn to Read

Children learn best when given plenty of encouragement to enjoy reading and books. You play a very important part in helping with this! Here are a few simple things you can do to help your child learn to read:

  • Try to make time to read with your child every day. Grandparents and older brothers or sisters can help, too.

  • Ask your child’s teacher about which letters and sounds the class is covering that week. They will also be able to suggest books with the right level for your child. These books are often called “decodable readers” because the story is written with words made up of the just the letters your child has learnt. Your child will be able to work out new words from their letters and sounds, rather than just guessing.

  • When reading books together, encourage your child to “sound out” words they don’t know and blend the sounds together instead of relying on the pictures. Once your child has read an unfamiliar word you can talk about what it means and help him or her to follow the story. Keep a track of these new words by creating Starwords flashcards, and practice them later on to reinforce learning.

  • Word games like “I spy” can also be an enjoyable way of teaching children about sounds and letters. You can also encourage your child to read words from your shopping list or road signs to practice.

  • Most schools use “book bags” and a reading record, which is a great way for teachers and parents to communicate about what children have read. The reading record can tell you whether your child has enjoyed a particular book and shows problems or successes he or she has had, either at home or at school.

(Adapted from Learning to Read through Phonics: Information for parents by UK Department for Education.)

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