Phonics and Reading
For parents: reading stories to children
Your child will bring home two books:
- One is for your child to read to you. It has been carefully chosen so that they can work out all the words.
- The other book has words your child may not be able to read yet. It is for you to read to your child and talk about together.
How to read a story to your child
If you can find the time beforehand, read the read-aloud book to yourself first, so you can think about how you're going to read it to your child.
On the first reading:
- Make reading aloud feel like a treat. Make it a special quiet time and cuddle up so you can both see the book.
- Show curiosity about what you're going to read: 'This book looks interesting. It's about an angry child, I wonder how angry he gets...'
- Read through the whole story the first time without stopping too much. Let the story weave its own magic.
- Read with enjoyment. If you're not enjoying it, your child won't.
Read favourite stories over and over again. On later readings:
- Let your child pause, think about and comment on the pictures.
- If you think your child did not understand something, try to explain: 'Oh! I think what's happening here is that...'
- Chat about the story and pictures: 'I wonder why she did that?'; 'Oh no, I hope she's not going to ...'; 'I wouldn't have done that, would you?'
- Link the stories to your own family experiences: 'This reminds me of when...'
- Link stories to others that your child knows: 'Ah! Do you remember the dragon in ...? Do you remember what happened to him?'
- Encourage your child to join in with the bits they know.
- Avoid asking questions to test what your child remembers.
- Avoid telling children that reading stories is good for them.