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 Helping Your Child with Reading

Each week your child will bring home a selection of books to help develop your child’s reading skills. These books should always be kept safely in their book bag when not being used.

Your child will bring a Guided Reading book (chosen by the teacher) from the classroom once a week so that they can practise reading books with text at their own level. They may also bring a book from our ‘Special Collection’ which they have chosen.

There are many ‘Gold Stickered’ books in school which you are encouraged to choose with your child. Please share this book at least twice before selecting another one.

1. Keep it short (10 or 15 minutes) but often

2. Choose the right time (don’t compete with tiredness or television)

3. Always praise and encourage

4. Don’t get anxious or impatient, this becomes infectious

5. Don’t get hung up over one word, if your child is really stuck, say the word

6. With a long or challenging book, take turns reading a page each, to keep the flow of the story going

7. Enjoy reading together, it should be an enjoyable experience

8. How about a family reading time just before bedtime. It’s important that your child sees you reading too.

9. Encourage your child to talk about the story (e.g. discuss characters, what’s happened so far, predict what will happen next, etc)

10. Reading aloud to you is important but remember to encourage private reading also

Blending and segmenting are skills children use when reading and writing. More information on blending, segmenting, the sounds and how we teach it at Bramley Sunnyside Infant School can be found on our Read Write Inc page.

What is Blending?

Blending is the process of saying the individual sounds in a word then running them together to make a word. For example, sounding out d-o-g and making dog. It is a technique every child will need to learn and it improves with practice. To start with you should sound out the word and see if a child can hear it, give the answer if necessary. At school we call this ‘Sound Talking’ and we will often tell the children we will speak like a robot to sound talk our words! Some children take longer than others to hear this. The sounds must be said quickly to hear the word. It is easier if the first sound is said slightly louder. Try little and often with words like b-u-s, c-a-t and h-e-n.

Remember that some sounds (digraphs) are represented by two letters, such as sh. Children should sound out the digraph (sh), not the individual letters (s-h). With practice they will be able to blend the digraph as one sound in a word. So, a word like rain should be sounded out r-ai-n and feet as f-ee-t.

You will find it helpful to distinguish between a blend (such as st) and a digraph (such as sh). In a blend the two sounds, s and t can be heard. In a digraph this is not so. Compare mishap (where both the s and h are sounded) and bishop (which has the sound sh). When sounding out a blend, encourage children to say the two sounds as one unit, so fl-a-g not f-l-a-g. This will lead to greater fluency when reading.

What is Segmenting?

Segmenting is the process of taking words apart sound by sound into their phonemes in order to spell the word.

The easiest way to know how to spell a word is to listen for the sounds in that word. Start by having your child listen for the first sound in a word first. Games like I-Spy are idea for this. Next try listening for the end sounds as the middle sound of a word is the hardest to hear. Begin with simple three-letter words such as cat or hot. A good idea is to say a word and tap out the sounds onto your fingers. Three taps means three sounds. Say each sound as you tap. Take care with digraphs. The word fish, for example, has four letters but only three sounds, f-i-sh. Rhyming games and songs also help tune the ears to the sounds in words. Other games to play are: Add a sound: what do I get if I add a ‘p’ to the beginning of ink? Answer: pink. Take away a sound: what do I get if I take away ‘p’ from pink? Answer: ink.