How did I teach my children to read?

A frequent question I get asked is what resources/books do you use to teach your children to read.

From day one read to your child as much as possible as this will train their ear to the sounds of speech. In a study at Brown University School of Medicine in Providence, Rhode Island, 18-25 month olds whose parents said they had been reading to them regularly for a year could say and understand more words than those parents that hadn't. So I read to my eldest as much as I could when she was a baby and by my fourth and fifth their older siblings would read to them. Especially as part of their bedtime routine,

The Alphabet

Then as soon as they were ready they learnt the letter sounds of the alphabet (not the names of the letters). The Jolly Phonics scheme is great as they learn a group of letters at a time. The first group is (s,a,t,i,p,n) as from there they can start reading simple CVC words such as sat, pit, tin etc.

As they progress through the groups they learn all the sounds of the alphabet and sing along to the alphabet song which then teaches the names.

Digraphs & Blends

They are then ready for the digraphs such as CH, SH, TH, AI etc and then the blends BL, PL, ST etc.

I usually teach one sound at a time and prepare an activity to go along with each.For example the 'ai' sound we made a cloud mobile and attached raindrops with 'ai' words written on. Other ideas and pics can be found on our Instagram @ theworldistheirclassroom so please check out!

I love love the Letters and Sounds book which I was able to receive a free copy of many years ago, still available to download at:

Along the way I have supplemented the learning of these sounds with activities such as drawing out the letter they are learning and they can stick things onto it like craft materials.lentils etc. which you can find on my Instagram account.

I also printed booklets and worksheets for the sounds here:

As they get ready to read CVC, CVCC words they can actually start reading simple words in books such as those from The Book People.

The Oxford Reading Tree is also really good, some books you can read online here:

Books can be reserved at your local library, ours is free and there is a bookstart bear scheme for your child to earn stickers, certificates and prizes along the way. In the Summer there is also a reading scheme for 4-12 year olds to take part in where they have to read 6 books through the summer.

A favourite amongst Home educators is the Reading Eggs Scheme which all chidren seem to enjoy on their reading journey. Check it out here we have used it in the past along with the free apps.

Sight Words & High Frequency words

Some children can easily pick up new words and remember them through books and other words around them (signs, street names etc.) A couple of my children have found this stage a bit trickier. One of my boys used to ride along our hallway on his bike and read & collect sight words from the wall as he went. He was a bit reluctant to sit and read them from a list or flashcards.  Today my 5 year old wanted to play catch with his beach ball so I just wrote them on the ball and turned it into a game.

This game can be played in a number of ways. If the child cannot read they can point to a word for you to read out aloud and they can repeat. If they are reading have them read a word out aloud as they catch or make a short sentence with a number of words.

High Frequency word lists can be downloaded online. I have q few packs of flashcards which can also be used in a number of games.
Key Words: Flash Cards - Hardback - 9781409302766 - LadybirdRead with Biff, Chip & Kipper Phonics Cards: Word Games - Other - 9780198486633 - Roderick Hunt


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