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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.