Hearing your child read.

When children read aloud to adults they need to succeed. They should feel that they are reading for pleasure, rather than to demonstrate their decoding skills.

Talk about the book before they start to read.

‘This looks interesting. What do you think it’s going to be about?’ ‘I like books about: France / music / gardening / films / tennis.  Do you like those sorts of book?’ ‘Do you like stories about cooking / history / animals / football?’

Support reading for meaning.

  • When the child comes across an unfamiliar word, try to help them guess the word. Ask questions: ‘What word might make sense there?’ ‘Can you think of what word it might be?’
  • Encouraged the child to use their phonic knowledge: ‘What letter does the word begin with?’ ‘What sound does the word end with?’ ‘What do you think the beginning of the word will sound like?’
  • Encourage them to look at word parts. ‘Can you see any smaller words inside the word?’, (wind/mill, stop/watch, dish/wash/er, car/pen/ter) ‘The word looks a bit like night or fight, I think it might be right’
  • Suggest missing the unknown word out and reading on. ‘Let’s see if we can work it out at the end of this next bit.’ Then read the sentence to show how to use context. ‘I’ll read it from the beginning and see if we can work out what it might be.’ It will help to read the sentence with exaggerated expression.
  • Point out any pictorial clues. ‘Can you see what is the girl jumping over in the picture?’


  • Praise them when they work a word out correctly. If they say: ‘Is it ……….?’ and the word is correct, say, ‘Let’s see if that would make sense. Yes, well done, you got it!’, or ‘Does that sound right? Yes, well done, that was tricky.’
  • If they are wrong, acknowledge their effort and make light of the error. ‘That would be a good word and make sense too, but this word is …’
  • If a child can’t attempt a word after prompting, simply supply the word and move on.
  • It is important to respond to content. If there’s a joke in a story, laugh. If there is new information, discuss it, preferably giving the child the chance to share their own knowledge. Express an interest in what might happen next.

When finishing reading.

  • Always end reading on a positive note. ‘I liked that book. The bit about …… was interesting. I didn’t know that until now.’ ‘I liked the joke about ….., you’ll have to remember that one to tell Uncle Paul.’

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