Reading, along with writing, makes up literacy, one of the four specific areas of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS). Reading's Early Learning Goal is:
Children read and understand simple sentences. They use phonic knowledge to decode regular words and read them aloud accurately. They also read some common irregular words. They demonstrate understanding when talking with others about what they have read.
Early reading experiences
To be ready to start reading, children need to have a variety of skills in place. These early reading skills include matching, rhyming, awareness of phonics and the skills associated with language development such as listening, attention, alliteration and sound discrimination.
Children enjoy cuddling up, looking at books and listening to stories.
You could use a range of reading materials: picture books, magazines, e-books, the telling of many well-known stories can also be found on youtube.
Rhyming helps children to break words down and to hear the sounds that make up words in preparation for reading and writing. So why not sing songs and have a rhyme time with your child every day?
Try making up your own songs and rhymes. Use rhymes with actions to support multi-sensory learning and draw children's attention to alliteration and rhyming words.
Stories and story sacks
Read to children and tell stories at least once a session. But don't just read! Think about your voice, gestures and facial expressions. Use silly voices to draw the children into the story.
Creating stories with children, asking them to predict what's going to happen next and helping them to make up their own endings to familiar stories, encourages them to think more critically and become more creative.
Make story sacks with lots of things related to a story that capture children's imaginations and extend their learning. Put in items/props and make simple puppets that will help children retell the story.
Why not help children to make their own books? It could be about absolutely anything! They could include their own drawings, photos or pictures cut from magazines and you could help with the text.
It is so important for children to be able to use their phonics knowledge when learning to read and write. Children need to be able to hear the sounds in isolation and hear them within words. Robot talking is a great, fun way to develop this skill: eg put your h-a-n-d on your kn-ee!
A great website you could use is www.phonicsplay.co.uk
High Frequency Words (HFW)
These are equally as important. High frequency words are the building blocks to reading. Children need to be able to recognise and read these by sight so that they can concentrate on sounding out the content words. Reading will be a chore if your child needs to work out every word and the meaning then will be lost.
Keep practising reading the HFWs -play games with them. Write them on post-it notes and hide them around the room, Can you find ‘said’? How quickly can your child find the correct word. You could make and play simple games such as snap or pairs with them. Keep persevering!
Most importantly enjoy books together!