Learning to Read
“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.”
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
How does my child learn to read at The Cambridge Primary School?
- Phonics lessons - your child learns the sounds the letters make, how to blend them together and the tricky words that are read by sight. Our phonics programme is Little Wandle Letters and Sounds Revised. Further Phonics information.
- Reading practice sessions - your child works in a small group with an adult three times weekly. They read the same book (called a Phonics Reader) in each session. This book contains the sounds and tricky words they have been learning in phonics lessons. Your child focuses on a different skill each time: decoding (saying the letter sounds), prosody (expression and intonation) and comprehension (understanding what is read). Further Reading information.
- Reading for pleasure – our aim is to enthuse your child to be excited about books and motivated to read for pleasure. Books inspire our learning and there is a daily story time. There are activities such as virtual bedtime stories, book buddies and mystery readers whilst Chatter Books gives the children the chance to talk about books and share what they enjoy reading.
- Reading at home – your child brings home letter sounds and tricky words to learn and the Phonics Reader book they have read in the reading practice sessions. They keep the book for a few days but also have access to it as an online e-book. There is the expectation that they read it daily to develop fluency. There will be guidance from your child’s teacher in their reading record.
They will also bring home a Family Reader book that they can change more frequently. In order to encourage your child to become a lifelong reader, it is important that they learn to read for pleasure. The Family Reader is a book they have chosen for you to enjoy together. Please remember that you should not expect your child to read this alone. Read it to or with them. Discuss the pictures, enjoy the story, predict what might happen next, use different voices for the characters, explore the facts in a non-fiction book. The main thing is that you have fun. Children can also read books from home or the library as a family reader. Further guidance.
- Make reading time fun! Play games with the letter sounds and tricky words. Find unusual places to read or make a reading den. Read to a pet or favourite toy. Remember to give them lots of praise!
- Read little and often. We recommend 10 minutes daily.
- Your child should be able to read their Phonics Reader book with ease, which will help them to develop confidence, fluency and see themselves as ‘a reader’. Read the book to your child if they are tired or find it challenging.
- Encourage your child to decode unknown words using their phonic knowledge and not by guessing words or looking at the pictures. After identifying the sounds in order, run your finger under the sounds to encourage blending them together.
- Encourage your child to learn and recognise any tricky words as they read. These are words such as ‘the’, ‘said’ and ‘what’.
- Talk about the book together. Ask your child to tell you what happened. You could draw pictures or a comic strip to retell the story, make stick puppets, use toys or dress up and act it out.
- Help your child understand the purpose of reading. Read recipe books, instructions for games, leaflets from day trips, comics, magazines, or a newspaper article about a favourite football team. Let your child see you reading.
- Join the local library and encourage your child to talk about the books they are interested in.
- Make books about things your child is interested in by cutting pictures out of magazines together. You could make up stories about your child, about when you were little, or about your child’s favourite toy.
- Don’t forget to read to your child. It has been reported that reading to children 3-5 days per week (compared to 2 or less) has the same effect on the child’s reading skills at age 4-5 as being six months older. Reading to them 6-7 days per week has the same effect as being almost 12 months older!1
“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.”
1 This research is a result of a partnership arrangement between the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research.