Supporting Reading at Home
Our approach to reading
Rather than following one reading scheme, our children have access to a wide range of reading books which are matched to each phase in our phonics programme. Phonetically decodable books are carefully matched to a child’s phonic knowledge so they only include sounds and “tricky words” that they have learnt so far. This means that they can use their phonic knowledge and skills to be successful and read independently. If they encounter a word they find hard, they can sound it out and then blend the sounds. Research has shown that this method creates more rapid progress and more engaged readers. The books that children bring home are all decodable but we also strongly believe that children should have access to as many different books as possible to develop vocabulary, improve reading skills and develop a genuine love of reading.
Books will be changed once a week on a Monday. Your child will be given a book that matches the phonic sounds they have learnt (the number of sounds is dependent on your child’s ability and stage of learning). They will be able to read every word in the book but will only sound out the ones they get stuck on. Please hear them read it three times and sign in your child’s reading record before it is changed. This repeated reading and practice is really important not only to help children learn and be successful but also to improve their reading fluency. By the third time they read the book, they should be reading most of the words without having to sound out so their sentences will flow and they will understand and remember what they are reading and be able to read with some expression.
Learning to read is about listening and understanding as well as working out print. Through hearing stories, children are exposed to a rich and wide vocabulary. This helps them build their own vocabulary and improve their understanding when they listen, which is vital as they start to read. It’s important for them to understand how stories work as well. Even if your child doesn’t understand every word, they’ll hear new sounds, words and phrases which they can then try out, copying what they have heard. As children start to learn to read at school, you can play an important role in helping to keep them interested in books, finding out what interests them and helping them to find books that will be engaging and fun for them.
What should I do if my child is not at the reading level they’re expected to be at?
Don’t panic and don’t make your child stressed about reading. It may be the case that your child is young for their year group, or not developmentally ready for reading. Also, most children don’t progress in a straight line as they learn to read: they may have periods of fast progress followed by periods of consolidation. Children who start of behind for any reason tend to take a little while to catch up. It can be very worrying if you think your child is falling behind. Make an appointment to discuss your concerns with your child’s class teacher.
What do I do if my child doesn’t enjoy reading?
Make sure your child isn’t tired, hungry or desperate to watch their favourite TV programme when you read to them. Sit with them for a short time every day and read a book with them on a subject that interests them, whether that’s cars, animals or sports. Don’t expect them to read it for themselves. Just show them how interesting it is to be able to read so that they want to do it for themselves.
For many children, especially boys as they get older, non-fiction books are more interesting than fiction, so it may be as simple as changing the type of books you are reading together. Talk to your teacher to see what books are available that match your child’s interests.
Give plenty of praise. Let your child know how pleased you are when he or she looks at a book. Show interest in what they have chosen. Children really do develop at their own rates when it comes to reading.
Why is reading so important?
Evidence suggests that children who read for enjoyment every day not only perform better in reading tests than those who don’t, but also develop a broader vocabulary, increased general knowledge and a better understanding of other cultures. In fact, there’s evidence to suggest that reading for pleasure is more likely to determine whether a child does well at school than their social or economic background.
Parents are by far the most important educators in a child’s life and it’s never too young for a child to start, even if you’re only reading with your child for a few minutes a day. Before they’re born, babies learn to recognise their parents’ voices. Reading to your baby from the time they’re born gives them the comfort of your voice and increases their exposure to language.
Top 10 tips to help children enjoy reading
Make books part of your family life – Always have books around so that you and your children are ready to read whenever there’s a chance.
Join your local library – Get your child a library card. Allow them to pick their own books, encouraging their own interests.
Match their interests – Help them find the right book - it doesn’t matter if it’s fiction, poetry, comic books or non-fiction.
All reading is good – Don’t discount non-fiction, comics, graphic novels, magazines and leaflets. Reading is reading and it is all good.
Get comfortable! – Snuggle up somewhere warm and cosy with your child, either in bed, on a beanbag or on the sofa, or make sure they have somewhere comfy when reading alone.
Ask questions – To keep them interested in the story, ask your child questions as you read such as, ‘What do you think will happen next?’ or ‘Where did we get to last night? Can you remember what had happened already?’
Read whenever you get the chance – Bring along a book or magazine for any time your child has to wait, such as at a doctor’s surgery.
Read again and again – Encourage your child to re-read favourite books and poems. Re-reading helps to build up fluency and confidence.
Bedtime stories – Regularly read with your child or children at bedtime. It’s a great way to end the day and to spend valuable time with your child.
Rhyme and repetition – Books and poems which include rhyme and repetition are great for encouraging your child or children to join in and remember the words.