• Sounding out. Each individual letter or combination of letters is represented by a sound ( phoneme).
  • Gives children the skill of attacking a new word.
  • Links with spelling.
  • Beginning (initial) and end ( final ) sounds are very useful.
    • Middle sounds are very difficult to hear.
    • Many words can’t be sounded out.
    • Hinders the flow of reading and therefore the understanding of meaning.
    • Very frustrating for all concerned.


Look and Say

  • Teaches the whole word as a unit.
  • Sight vocabulary / flashcards / visual recognition
  • Builds up a bank of common words.
  • Useful for signs / notices.
    • Sounds of letters are not developed.
    • Reading single words in isolation does not help to read a whole sentence and therefore there is little understanding.


Experiencing Language

  • Teaching reading by listening to / reading lots of stories and becoming familiar with how they work.
  • Encourages guessing of unknown words in context.
  • Enjoyable
    • Children need to experience lots of books.


Supporting your Child at Home

  • Show them that reading is important!
  • Library visits.
  • Books as presents.
  • Adults as readers.
  • Spend regular quality time together – 10 minutes a day sharing a book
  • P P P - Pause, Prompt, Praise.
  • Spot letters they recognise e.g. the letters in their name.
  • Read words on food packets.
  • Sing nursery rhymes and songs together.
  • Learning stories off by heart.
  • Read the same books repeatedly.
  • Comics and magazines.
  • Encourage self-correction. Wait until the end of the line before correcting mistakes. This will give time for self correction. If your child doesn’t know a word, get them to guess what it means from the other words around, read on and back to help.
  • Long words can be made easier by ‘ chunking ‘ e.g. an-i-mal, luck-y.

The Stages of Reading Development

Stage 1 : An Emerging Reader

  • Children enjoy a variety of books. They listen to stories, talk about books, look at pictures and can re-tell simple stories.
  • Children know that print on a page means something. Some words and letters will be familiar to them.
  • Children still need someone to read the text to them


Stage 2: Making a Start at Reading

  • Children will have favourite books and will know them so well they can read from memory.
  • Children recognise and name letters of the alphabet.
  • Children will follow the print on the page with their finger in the right direction ( left to right ).


Stage 3: Moving On

  • Children know by sight common words e.g. the, and, that, he, she.
  • Children start to tackle unknown words using a variety of methods, e.g. using picture cues, using the initial letter, using knowledge of the whole sentence.
  • Children can read familiar stories/poems with confidence.


Stage 4: Becoming Confident and Fluent

  • Children will read a wider range of books, even unknown ones.
  • Children will make their reading voice interesting to listen to, using expression and pauses.
  • When reading non-fiction books children will use their knowledge of the alphabet to find information.


Stage 5 : Fluent

  • Children can read for longer periods of time.
  • Children understand fully what they are reading and can talk about the story.
  • Children can make opinions about the books they read.



Reading Session

How to make more of a book.

Choose a time when you can both relax and enjoy the activity.

Make sure you handle the book correctly.

Before you start to read you can talk to the child about the book:

  • Look at the cover together. Ask the child “ What do you think the story is going to be about?”
  • Point to the author’s name ( and illustrator’s name ), make sure the child knows what these words mean. Discuss whether you have read books by this author before.


While you are reading the book occasionally ask questions. You might ask:

  • “What do you think will happen next/”
  • “What do you think about that/” ( about something which has happened in the story which might arouse emotions ).
  • Make comments about similar situations/characters in other books you have read together.


When you have finished the book ask the child for their opinion – “which was your favourite part?” for example.


You will need to be aware of the child’s mood. Sometimes he/she will respond to questions. At other times it’s best to allow the child to just listen.


Give the child time to ask and answer questions.


*Older / confident readers – It is good to ask a child to read to you, but encourage them to tell you about their reading.



Stage 1

In this stage readers show an interest in books and the print they see around them. They imitate the things they see adult readers doing such as holding the book carefully, turning the pages and talking out loud as they do so. They often retell stories they have heard as they pretend to read.


How can I Help?

  • Read to your child as often as you can
  • Talk about the books you read and the people. Things and animals in them.
  • Draw attention to the illustrations when reading to your child.
  • Select books such as fairy tales and fantasy stories.
  • Make sure your child sees members of the family reading.
  • Keep audio tapes of favourite stories and songs in the car to play on long journeys.
  • Teach your child nursery rhymes and songs.
  • Place labels around the home, e.g. ‘ These are Kim’s favourite books’.
  • Let the child hold the book and turn the pages.
  • Encourage the child to join in and ‘read’ too.
  • Help your child to tell the story from the pictures in the book.
  • Talk about everyday print, e.g. “we are going in here to get a hamburger. See the sign. It says MacDonald’s.”
  • Before beginning to read, settle your child down and talk a little about the book, e.g. ‘This looks as if it’s going to be a funny story.’
  • Accept and praise your child’s attempts to read.
  • Visit the local book shop / library.


Stage 2

In this stage the child has memorised familiar stories and can match some spoken and written words. The reader realises that the words of print always stay the same and begins pointing to words.


How Can I Help?

  • Read to your child whenever you can.
  • Help your child to tell stories from pictures in the book.
  • Talk about the characters, plots and settings of stories.
  • Talk about reading the newspaper, magazines and books.
  • Read books of children’s poetry with your child.
  • Compare events and people in the books with your own lives.
  • Talk about the pictures when reading to your child.
  • Draw attention to print on packages, jars, e.g. ‘ Here is the ReadyBrek. This says ReadyBrek. Point to the print.
  • Let your child ‘read’ to you and to anyone who is willing to listen e.g. grandparents.
  • Encourage the child to join in when reading familiar stories.
  • Point out interesting or long words in books.
  • Accept your child’s efforts without criticism. Always encourage and praise his or her efforts.
  • Write shopping lists in front of your child and talk about what you are doing.
  • Set up a home message board and write a message everyday, e.g. ‘Today we are going to Grandma’s.’
  • Leave plenty of scrap paper, pencils and crayons on the child’s table or desk. Give him/her old diaries or inexpensive notebooks.
  • Encourage your child to write messages for different family members.
  • Encourage your child to find words that begin with the same letter as his/her name.
  • Recognise letters on car number plates.
  • Encourage your child to look at the title and cover of a book and guess what it may be about.


Stage 3

In this stage children may read slowly and deliberately as they try to read exactly what is on the page, rather than concentrate on the meaning. They are beginning to realise that it is good to comment on books they have read or listened to.


How Can I Help?

  • Continue to read to your child every day. Vary the type of books read, e.g. short or longer stories, poems. Also look at cookery books or travel books together.
  • Encourage your child to take risks and ‘have a go’ at the word.
  • De-emphasise the need to get 100% accuracy and try strategies other than sounding out.
  • When reading to your child stop sometimes and ask ‘what do you think might happen next?. Accept the child’s answers even though they may not seem right.
  • Occasionally ask some ‘why’ questions about the story, e.g. ‘Why do you think the author put that bit in the story?.
  • Talk about books your child has read at school.
  • Take your child to any story telling sessions that are advertised i.e. in the local library.
  • Talk about the things you read – newspapers, magazines, books etc.
  • Talk about books you are reading together. Compare characters with real people.
  • Point out the author’s name before reading a book and encourage your child to read other books by the same author.
  • If your child makes a mistake when he or she is reading aloud, allow time for self-correction. If the mistake makes sense, ignore it.
  • Share letters and postcards from friends with the whole family.
  • Encourage children to retell stories. Involve the family in swapping stories, e.g. ‘ I’ll tell you a story if you tell me one’.