Reading with Your Child

Reading with Your Child

Following the recent KS1 and KS2 Reading and SPaG meetings please find copies of the presentations here:


Getting Started

Sharing books – Always remember that we teach phonics to help our children learn to read and write and in order to do this successfully they need to love books! The best way to help your child is to read as many books as possible. Read anything that your child is interested in (including magazines, menus, etc). You don’t have to read all (or any) of the words each time. Remember to use silly voices, make sound effects, pull faces, act things out, talk about what you can see, talk about what you both think and feel and have fun!

Unofficial homework – Encourage your child to tell you what they have done at school today. Sharing new songs and rhymes is something that you can easily do when you are busy with something else e.g. cooking, cleaning, driving in the car.

Give everything a name – Build your child’s vocabulary talking about interesting words and objects. For example, “Look at that aeroplane! Those are the wings of the plane. Why do you think they are called wings?”

General tips to support reading

Once is never enough! – Encourage your child to re-read favourite books and poems as well as their school reading scheme book. Re-reading helps children read more quickly and accurately.

Dig deeper into the story – ask your child questions about the story you’ve just read. Say something like, “Why do you think he did that?”

Take control of the television – it’s difficult for reading to compete with TV and video games. Encourage reading as a distraction free activity.

Be patient – when your child is trying to sound out an unfamiliar word, give him or her time to do so. Remind to child to look closely at the first letter or letters of the word.

Pick books that are at the right level – help your child pick books that are not too difficult. The aim is to give your child lots of successful reading experiences.

I read to you, you read to me – take turns reading aloud at bedtime. Kids enjoy this special time with their parents.

One more time with feeling – when your child has sounded out an unfamiliar word, have him or her re-read that sentence. Often, children are so busy figuring out a word they lose the meaning of what they’ve just read.

Games to play with your Nursery child

Toy sounds – When your child is playing with their toys encourage them to make the right sounds. Farm animals, train sets, vehicles, dolls etc are great for this. Help your child to notice these sounds around and about. E.g. Listen to the sound that cars, trucks and fire engines make in the street. Practice making these noises, then use them with car, truck and fire engine toys.

Big ears – Cup your hands around your ears and listen to sounds all around. Talk about what sounds you can hear. Try doing this in the house, in the street, in the park, on the beach etc. Talk about the sounds: Are they loud or
quiet? Are they short or long? Can you make a similar sound with your voice?

Shake it all about – Make simple shakers by filling plastic bottles or tubs with rice, pasta, pebbles etc. Play with them and talk about the sounds that they make. Are the sounds soft, sharp, smooth, jiggly, scratchy?

Tap it out – Use the shakers above or use drums (pots and pans and wooden spoons are perfect) to play along with songs, rhymes and the radio. Try making the loudest sounds that you can then the quietest sounds that you can. Tap out simple rhythms. Can your child repeat the rhythm back to you?

Interesting instruments – If you see or hear instruments being played either in real life or on TV, talk about the sounds that the instrument makes. Which instruments does your child like the sound of best? Can they tell you why? Can they imitate the sound with their voice?

Song time – Sing your child’s favourite songs, ones they have learnt at school, songs you remember from childhood or songs on CDs you have at home. Encourage children to use their bodies to make sounds to go along with their singing – stamping, clapping, patting knees etc.

Sound effects – Read stories and encourage children to make sound effects with their body – stomping, knocking, clapping, scratching etc.

Rhyming books – When children are really familiar with a particular book, try pausing before the rhyming word. Encourage your child to fill in the missing word.

Clap it out – Encourage children to think about the rhythms in words. Say simple nursery rhymes and clap along with one clap for each syllable. Repeat with knee taps, head pats or stamps.

Talking about toys – Talk about your child’s toys and say something about them that alliterates. It doesn’t have to make much sense. Thomas the train travels on the tracks. Lion likes to lick lollies. Can your child make suggestions? This is a tricky skill and it will take time. Praise them for trying and making suggestions even if they don’t alliterate.

Quick draw – When drawing together, try drawing a snake and a sock. Point out that these things both begin with a ‘s’ sound. Make the hissing s sound. Add some more ‘s’ pictures e.g. snail, spider etc. Your child may be able to suggest some ideas as well.
Voice play – Encourage your child to use their voice to make a wide range of
sounds. E.g. At the park:
Going up a ladder – clunk, clunk, clunk
Coming down a slide – whoosh
On a roundabout – wheee
Bouncing a ball – boing

Pulling faces – Play around with moving your mouth in different ways e.g waggling your tongue, opening as wide as possible, smiling wide, frowning, blowing lips etc. You may want to do this to music or it can be a fun bath time game. Make a range of sounds, ee, sh, th. Exaggerate your mouth shape while you are doing this to encourage your child to copy your mouth shape. It can be fun to do this while you are both looking in a mirror.


Games to play with your Reception/Key Stage One child

Oral Blending Games

Robotic talking – Words are made up from sounds and children need to be able to hear these sounds individually. Sometimes when you are playing you can say words as if you were a robot (saying the sounds separately) and see if your child can work out what you are saying. Stick to short simple words that only have a few sounds in them. Make sure you are saying the letter sounds (p-i-g) not the letter names (peeeye- gee). E.g. Pass that p-i-g to me.
Sit d-ow-n. Point to your t-ee-th. Hop like a f-r-o-g.
As your child becomes familiar with this robot talking, see if they can say words in robot talk themselves?

I spy – Say the rhyme ‘I spy with my little eye something beginning with ______’ allow your child plenty of opportunities to guess what you have chosen, for example, ‘something beginning with t’ could be a tree, toy, tent or train. Point out print everywhere – Talk about the written words you see in the world around you. Ask your child to find familiar words on each outing such as ‘McDonald’s’ or ‘Coke’

Playing with words – Encourage your child to sound out the word as you change it from mat to fat to sat; from sat to sag to sap; and from sap to sip.

Phoneme Recognition Games

Looking for letter – Ask your child to look for letters whilst you are out and about. Can they find letters from their own name, letters they have learnt in school or letters that specific words begin with?

Fast letter sorting – You will need: A large piece of paper with three hoops drawn on. 12 small pieces of card with letters written on (4 sets of 3 letters). Choose 3 sets of letters – 2 which the child knows and one new one. Spread the letter tiles out on the table making sure they are all the correct way up. Encourage your child to sort the letters into the correct hoop using both hands, saying each letter as they move it.

Letter discrimination – You will need: A 3×3 grid. Write the letter you are learning with your child onto half of the spaces (for example c). Fill the rest with other letters. Ask your child to cover all the c’s with a counter as quick as they can.

Ladder letters – You will need: A ladder template. Make a pile of letter tiles (use a mixture of known and new letters). Place a counter at the bottom of the ladder and move up a rung for every letter they can read correctly. This game can be changed to covering spots on a ladybird, petals on a flower – go with your child’s interests if possible.

Letter sound bingo – You will need: A 3×3 grid for each player and counters or coins. Write some of the letters into the spaces on each card, making each card slightly different. The ‘bingo caller’ says each letter in turn and the players cover the letter up. The winner is first to fill their board. To make this game easier for new readers, show them the letter for them to match.

Tricky Word Games

Bingo – You will need: A board for each player (see example) and counters or coins. The list of words your child is currently learning, for example any phonics/spelling words sent home.
Write some of the words into the spaces on each card, making each card slightly different. The ‘bingo caller’ says each word in turn and the players cover the words up. The winner is first to fill their board. To make this game easier for new readers, show them the word for them to match.

Matching pairs – You will need: small pieces of card or paper with the words your child is currently learning written on each. Each word will need to be written twice so you can search for a matching pair. Turn all the cards face down on the table. And take turns to turn over two. When a matching pair is found that player can keep them. The winner is the person with the most pairs at the end of the game.

Snap – Make a set of cards with words your child is learning written on. Ensure that each word is written ion two separate cards. Shuffle up the cards and share them out. Each player takes turns to turn over their card, put it down and read the word. If it matches the previous card played, the first person to notice shouts ‘snap!’ and wins the pile. This game is best used to practise words your child knows fairly well, rather than new ones, as it’s quite fast-paced. Once your child knows a word reliably, you can take it out of the current pack of cards and bring in a new word. Every so often, play a game with the ‘old’ cards, so that your child doesn’t forget them. It’s a good idea to try and discard a known word and add a new word every day, once your child is getting the hang of learning new words.

Further ideas…

Be your child’s #1 fan – Ask your child to read aloud what he or she has written at school or for their homework. Be an enthusiastic listener.

Create a book together – Fold pieces of paper in half and staple them to make a book. Ask your child to write sentences on each page and add his or her own illustrations.

Make up stories on the go – Take turns adding to a story the two of you make up while riding in a car or bus. Try making the story funny or spooky.

KS2 reading prompts

Parents often wonder how they can help to develop the reading skills of children who are already fluent readers. The best way is to continue to share books with your child, regularly listening to them read, sometimes reading to or with them, but also discussing books read in increasing depth. To become good readers children need to develop skills in seven key areas and it can be useful to think about these when reading with your child.

Decoding – this is the skill that parents are generally most familiar with, and deals with the varying strategies used by children to make sense of the words on the page. Even fluent readers can be stumped by an unfamiliar word, and it is useful at these times to discuss the range of strategies used to make a sensible guess.

Retrieval and recall – early readers need to develop this skill, in order to locate important information and to retell stories and describe events. Inference: reading between the lines. Encouraging children to make inferences based on clues in the text and their understanding of the context of the book will help them to develop this important skill.

Structure and organisation – as children read a wider range of text types, they need to be able to comment on the features of each and how they are organised. Discussing the presentation of the text, e.g. the use of subtitles to assist reading of a non-fiction text, and the author’s reason for organising the text in this way, will support children’s development in this area. Making links between the purpose of the text and its organisation is a useful place to start.

Language – specifically, thinking about the language choices made by writers, their possible reasons for making those choices and the effect the choices have on the reader. Discussing alternative choices and their effects can be a good way to begin discussion about the author’s language and an opportunity to develop vocabulary generally.

Purpose and viewpoint – Who is the narrator of this story? What does the writer of this biography feel about his/her subject? Children need to understand that writers write for a purpose, and to be able to recognise that this will have an impact on the way a text is written. Newspapers and advertisements are perfect examples of this and can lead to lots of lively discussions.

Making links – as adults, we are constantly making links between ideas and experiences. Good readers connect the book they are reading with real life experiences; with other books read and stories heard; with films; and with the context in which they were written. A child reading ‘Goodnight Mister Tom’, for example, will need to place the story within the context that it was written to fully understand it. They might also link it with other stories read, such as ‘Friend or Foe’ or ‘Carrie’s War’.

Questions to ask your child when you are reading with them (or to them!)

Here are some questions linked to the given points, which I hope you will find useful. It is not necessary to ask every question each time your child reads, of course, but they may prove to be useful prompts to start a more focused discussion.


• What has happened in the story so far? What do you think will happen next?
• Who is your favourite character? Why?
• Who is the character you like least? Why?
• Do you think the author intended you to like / dislike this character? How do you know?
• Does your opinion of this character change during the story? How? Why?
• Find two things the author wrote about this character that made him / her likeable?
• If you met one of the characters from the story, what would you say to him / her?
• Which part of the story is your favourite / least favourite? Why?
• Would you change any part of the story? How? Would you change any of the characters? How?
• Which part of the story was the funniest/scariest/ saddest/ happiest? Find some evidence in the text to support your opinion.
• Pick three favourite words or phrases from this chapter. Can you explain why you chose them?
• Did this book make you laugh? Can you explain what was funny and why?
• Have you read anything else by this author? Is anything similar?
• Does this book remind you of anything else? How?
• When do you think this book was written? How do you know? Does it matter?
• What would it be like if it was written now?
• Do you think the title of the book is appropriate? What would you have called it?
• What is the genre of the book: sci-fi, mystery, historical, fantasy, adventure, horror, comedy? What are the features that make you think this?
• Find two sentences which describe the setting.
• Is the plot fast or slow moving? Find some evidence in the text, which supports your view.
• If the author had included another paragraph before the story started what do you think it would say?
• Would you like to read another book by this author? Why/ why not?


• What is the contents page used for? Can you show me?
• What is the index page used for? Can you show me?
• How do I find out what certain words mean? Is there somewhere in the book that tells me? Can you show me?
• What is the purpose of this book? How do you know?
• Why is this page laid out in this way? Could you improve it?
• Why are there captions next to pictures/diagrams?
• Why are pictures/diagrams/tables etc used?
• Which piece of information have you found the most interesting? Why?

If you would like further help regarding reading please feel free to contact us or speak to your child’s teacher directly.