Reading is an exciting escape for many people, a magical transportation into other fascinating worlds, situations and experiences. It is a necessary skill that parents and carers want to promote in their child’s life due to its transformative and educational benefits in both their academic and personal life.

But, how can you help your child feel confident and encouraged to read at the beginning of their reading journey? We take a look at some fun ways to support your child!

Our blog may be especially helpful for infants or children in pre-school education. However, it is essential to remember that children develop reading skills at various rates, and some of these tips could help those who are slightly older too!

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Learning the Alphabet

Before reading words, young children need to become familiar with the sounds of letters and hearing rhyming words. Below, we offer some fun ideas for children who are just starting to learn the alphabet!

A sheep in a field

Recognising Animal Noises

Understanding noises and the different sounds of letters is essential when first learning to read. A fun way to practise sounds is to imitate those that animals create.

There are plenty of ways to have fun with this. You could name and animal and ask, ‘What noise does a sheep make?’, for example.

Or, you could go one step further and imitate the animal through actions and behaviours. You can also name the animal and use pictures too or, if on a visit to the park, farm or zoo (when it is safe to do so), point out an animal, name it and ask what noise it makes!

Rhyming Games

Another fundamental part of learning to read is to understand rhyming words. For pre-schoolers, it is best to start with one-syllable words, such as ‘mat’. Ask them if they know another word that rhymes with your initial word. Being young, they may not necessarily know real words.

This exercise is more to help them recognise similar sounds and rhymes, so it is okay for them to copy the rhyme using a made-up word as opposed to a real one.

Students reading at St Peter's Prep with a teacher

Get Creative

Introducing children to books at any age is significant for their learning. A great way to help them transform what they see into retained information is to write and copy. A fantastic way to do this is to create an alphabet scrapbook.

Here, you can create each letter using related pictures and words. Not only is this fun and imaginative, but it is educational too!

Knowing the Alphabet

If your child is familiar with the alphabet and is starting to read, there are some fun ways to help them recognise words and sounds, as we explore below!

Page Hunt

A simple way to recognise words and letters is to hunt them down! When reading with your child, take the time to look for specific letters or words on a page. For example, you might ask them ‘can you see which words start with the letter ‘p’. Get them to find them and point them out on the page!

Ask Questions

A great way to resonate with text is to help your child to relate to the reading material. You may want to ask questions as you go, such as:

• ‘What is your favourite food?’
• ‘Have you ever been to the beach?’
• ‘What do you think the cat will do?’
• ‘Do you remember when we went to the supermarket?’

You may also want to think your thoughts out loud for your child to interact with. This could be things such as:

• ‘This reminds me of when…’
• ‘I wonder why the little puppy was excited?’

A pile of kids’ books

Encourage!

One of the biggest motivators is to encourage your child to read as much as possible. Wherever they go, inspire them to take a book with them. By doing this, it will be difficult for them to get bored as they will always have their trusty book by their side!

However you choose to help your child read, merely dedicating time to them to read, look at pictures and turning off surrounding distractions will allow them to see the fun of reading!

What tips have you picked up along the way? Why not share them with our parental community on our social media channels?

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