Beginning to read using REAL words.




Children love to mimic adults and read books. It is wonderful to see children flipping pages of a book and telling the story from the pictures. Even if it is Hairy Maclary lived at Old McDonald’s Farm rather than Donaldson’s Dairy. 

The next stage of reading can be frustrating for children, when they realise the letters on the page mean something.  I hope to provide a few helpful tips to make it easier for both your child and you.

Most children learn how to read by recognising the letters of the alphabet and then connecting that letter to the sounds they make.  This is particularly hard in the English language as take for example the letter c, it can make a k sound as in cat or a s sound as it circle. But for beginning readers we won’t confuse them and only look at the sound the letter makes the majority of the time. Here is a list below.

a as in apple, b as in bat, c as in cat, d as in dog, e as in egg, f as in fox, g as in good, h as in hat, I as in itch, j as in jelly, k as in king, l as in like, m as in mat, n as in no, o as in octopus, p as in pat, q as in queen, r as in rat, s as in snake, t as in time, u as in up, v as in very, w as in water, x as in box, y as in yellow, z as in zoo.

It often helps when giving children examples to use words familiar to them, family or friends names, activities they enjoy doing and/or places they visit.

Once children begin to recognise the letters and relate that to the sound they make they can begin to read. They don’t need to recognise all letter names and sounds to begin reading.

I always like starting with the word at. It is a great confidence booster for children.

 Write the letter a and t on individual cards and place cards about 10 cm apart. Ask your child to say the sound of each letter. Keep moving the cards in closer together asking your child to say the individual sounds until they are touching and your child has blended the sounds a and t together to say at.

Once they get the idea of blending the two sounds together to make at then add the letter m and do the same as above placing the three letters on individual cards, m, a, t.

If you child is still happy to be involved in the activity try making the following words using the process above.

Cat, rat, sat, hat, fat, bat, pat,

You may even like to venture towards reading a sentence.

A cat sat on a mat.                            A cat sat on a hat.                        A cat sat on a rat.

From here, once your child is able to recognise all the letters and know the sounds they make they can read any word which can be sounded out. Once again in the English Language there are many, many words which are not able to be sounded out, but we will get to those slowly.

Good luck, happy reading


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