Learning To Read

Learning To Read

We are passionate about reading and helping children to love books, to learn from their reading and to read as much as they can!  We teach our pupils to read using a range of different strategies. 'De-coding' words is know as phonics; our pupils are taught daily phonics sessions from when they join us in the nursery. At our school, we teach both phonics and whole word reading alongside whole class reading and whole class story time. Our mission is to develop our pupils into confident, enthusiastic and knowledgeable readers who are ready and equipped to move onto the next stage of their education. 


How can I support my child at home?

One of the most important things you can do as a parent at home is read to your child.

Loving stories is important because children who love stories want to read stories for themselves. Children who read a lot become better readers.

Here are some top tips for story time:

  1. Make it a treat – introduce each new book with excitement
  2. Make it a special quiet time – cuddle up!
  3. Show curiosity in what you’re going to read
  4. Read the story once without stopping so they can enjoy the whole story. If you think your child might not understand something say something like ‘Oh I think what’s happening here is that…”
  5. Chat about the story e.g. I wonder why he did that? Oh no, I hope she’s not going to…
  6. Avoid asking questions to check what they remember
  7. Link to other stories and experiences you have shared e.g. this reminds me of…
  8. Read favourite stories over and over again – encourage your child to join with the bits they know. Avoid saying ‘not that story again!’
  9. Use different voices – be enthusiastic!
  10. Love the book – read with enjoyment



Synthetic phonics is a way of teaching reading. Your child will be taught two crucial things when they are learning to read using synthetic phonics:

  1. How sounds are represented by written letters. For example, they will be taught that the letter ‘m’ represents an mmm sound.
  2. How sounds can be blended together to make words. For example, they will be taught that the sounds of the letters ‘c-a-t’ blend together to make the word ‘cat’.

Your child will be taught to read letters or groups of letters by saying the sound (or sounds) they represent. For example, they will be taught that the letter ‘l’ sounds like lllll when we say it. Your child will then start reading by blending the sounds together to make words. Another word for this kind of blending is synthesising.

At school, you will probably hear teachers and pupils talking about blending, but you might also hear them talk about sounding out or Fred Talk, all these terms refer to the same idea: synthesising sounds.











For further information, help and guidance on how we teach phonics, click here


Reading with my child

To begin with, your child will receive a story book for you to share together. See our information page for some tips on reading together. Following on from this and as your child begins to learn sounds, they will receive some sound and word cards to read at home. This will give them an opportunity to practise their sounds and blending them together to create a word. 

Once your child knows some sounds, they will receive a storybook matched to the sounds and words they know – a decodable book – so they should be able to read all the words. Your child should be reading at home as often as they can  and where possible they can practise reading their book aloud to a parent or carer, to a sibling, to themselves or even to their favourite toy!

Please avoid saying, “This book is too easy for you!” but instead say “I love how well you can read this book!”

To move your child on once they can read the words fluently, begin to ask your child questions about what they have read to support their comprehension of the book. You could discuss the plot, the characters the setting or the pictures and what you find out from them. 


‘Special Friends’, ‘Fred Talk’, read the word

Remind your child to read words using ‘Special Friends, Fred Talk, read the word’ (see glossary for further guidance).

For example ‘ship’: spot the ‘sh’, then Fred Talk and blend to read the word e.g. sh, sh-i-p, ship.

Red Words

Red Words are also known as common exception or tricky words. They occur in stories regularly (said, what, where) but have unusual letter combinations (‘ai’ in the word ‘said’ makes the sound ‘e’).

Remind your child not to use Fred Talk to read Red Words but instead to ‘stop and think’.

Tell them the word if you need to.

Read the same book again and again

Children love reading the same book again and again. Their reading becomes speedier and they understand what they are reading.

  • Encourage your child to read words using ‘Fred in your head’ (see glossary)
  • Show your child how to read the story in a storyteller voice
  • Share your enjoyment of the story when they read it again and again.


How else can I develop my child’s language?

Children will have a large vocabulary if they are part of a ‘talk-a-lot’ family:

  • Use every opportunity to talk with your child throughout the day – meal times, playing together, bath time
  • Use new and ambitious vocabulary e.g. miserable instead of sad, stroll instead of walk
  • Speak to your child in complete sentences
  • Make up stories together - there’s no need to write it down.


For further information or guidance, please click here or speak to your child's teacher.