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Early Reading

Why is Learning to Read Important?

Why is Learning to Read Important?

Here at Crookhill, we are extremely passionate about reading. Through using Read Write Inc, we ensure that children learn to read in an engaging and exciting way, in the hope that they develop a love for reading. By this, we mean that children will want to read, that they will choose to pick up a book and immerse themselves in it because they find it enjoyable. The children will experience reading both Fiction and Non-Fiction texts.

Reading books allows children to use their imagination like no other time in their lives. When watching television or playing on computer games the information, characters, colours, sounds are all provided for them but when reading a book, they use their own imagination to build the setting and characters etc. This also helps the children a lot when it comes to being young writers. 

There is a vast amount of research and strong evidence that links reading for pleasure to educational outcomes. The benefits of reading for pleasure throughout an individuals life are immeasurable.

Evidence states that the relationship between reading for pleasure and well-being is extremely strong. It shows it can lower levels of stress and depression as well as many other benefits later in life. 

If we can surround children with books at home and school and give them a positive start to their reading life, then the chances are, that they will go on to want to read for pleasure for the rest of their lives. 

What is Read Write Inc?

How we teach reading – answers for parents

The Read Write Inc. Phonics programme

We have written this for parents. It explains how we teach reading using the Read Write Inc. programme.

Learning to read is the most important thing your child will learn at our school. Everything else depends on it, so we put as much energy as we possibly can into making sure that every single child learns to read as quickly as possible.

We want your child to love reading – and to want to read for themselves. This is why we put our efforts into making sure they develop a love of books as well as simply learning to read.

How will my child be taught to read?

We start by teaching phonics to the children in the Reception class. This means that they learn how to ‘read’ the sounds in words and how those sounds can be written down. This is essential for reading, but it also helps children learn to spell well. We teach the children simple ways of remembering these sounds and letters. Ask them to show you what these are.

The children also practise reading (and spelling) what we call ‘tricky words’, such as ‘once,’ ‘have,’ ‘said’ and ‘where’.

The children practise their reading with books that match the phonics and the ‘tricky words’ they know. They start thinking that they can read and this does wonders for their confidence.

The teachers read to the children, too, so the children get to know all sorts of stories, poetry and information books. They learn many more words this way and it also helps their writing.

How will I know how well my child is doing?

We will always let you know how well your child is doing.

We use various ways to find out how the children are getting on in reading. We use the information to decide what reading group they should be in. Your child will work with children who are at the same reading level as him or her. Children will move to a different group if they are making faster progress than the others. Your child will have one-to-one support if we think he or she needs some extra help to keep up. 

We also use a reading test so that we can make sure that all our children are at the level that they should be for their age compared to all the children across the country.

In the summer term, the government asks us to do a phonics check of all the Year 1 children. That gives us extra information about their progress. We will talk to you about how well your child has done, and especially if we have any worries at all.

How long will it take to learn to read well?

By the end of Year 2, your child should be able to read aloud books that are at the right level for his or her age. In Year 3 we concentrate more on helping children to understand what they are reading, although this work begins very early on. This happens when the teacher reads to the children and also when the children read their own story book.

How do I know the teaching will be good?

All the staff have been trained to teach reading in the way we do it in this school. We believe that it is very important that all the teachers and teaching assistants work in the same way. Senior teachers watch other teachers teaching to make sure that the children are learning in the way we want them to learn.

If you are worried about the teaching or you have any questions, please come to school and talk to us.

What can I do to help? Is there anything that I shouldn’t do?

You will be invited to a meeting so that we can explain how we teach reading. Please come and support your child. We would very much like you to know how to help.

Your child will bring different sorts of books home from school. It helps if you know whether this is a book that your child can read on their own or whether this is a book that you should read to them. The teacher will have explained which is which. Please trust your child’s teacher to choose the book(s) that will help your child the most.

Help your child to sound out the letters in words and then to ‘push’ the sounds together to make a whole word. Try not to refer to the letters by their names. Help your child to focus on the sounds. You can hear how to say the sounds correctly at this link:

Sometimes your child might bring home a picture book that they know well. Please don’t say, ‘This is too easy.’ Instead, encourage your child to tell you the story out loud; ask them questions about things that happen or what they think about some of the characters in the story.

We know parents and carers are very busy people. But if you can find time to read to your child as much as possible, it helps him or her to learn about books and stories. They also learn new words and what they mean. Show that you are interested in reading yourself and talk about reading as a family. You can find out about good stories to read to your child here:

Does it matter if my child misses a lesson or two?

It matters a lot if your child misses school. The way we teach children to read is very well organised, so even one missed lesson means that your child has not learnt something that they need to know to be a good reader.

What if he or she finds it difficult to learn to read?

We want children to learn to read, however long it takes us to teach them. We will find out very quickly if your child is finding reading difficult. First, we move children to a different group, so that we can make sure that they have learnt what they need to know. If they still struggle, we give them extra time with an adult, on their own. These adults are specially trained to support these children. Your child will still be in the same group with the other children and won’t miss out on any of the class lessons.

If we have any serious worries about your child’s reading, we will talk to you about this.

Some children take a bit longer to learn to put sounds together to read a word, e.g. c-a-t to make the word ‘cat’. At our meeting, we will explain how you can help your child to do this.

What if my child turns out to be dyslexic?

The way we teach reading is especially helpful for children who might be dyslexic. This is because we use a very well-organised programme that has a strong focus on phonics. This is very important for children who find learning to read difficult. If you are worried about your child, please come and talk to us.

My child has difficulty pronouncing some sounds. Will this stop him learning to read through phonics?

This isn’t a problem for learning to read as long as we know what sound the child is trying to say. This is not something to worry about. Many children have a few sounds that they can hear clearly but find it difficult to say, particularly the l-sound, r-sound, w-sound, th-sound, s-sound, sh-sound and j-sound. Often they say a t-sound for the c-sound; “tttssh” for the s-sound; “w” for the r-sound and “r” for the l-sound. You can help your child by encouraging him or her to look at your mouth when you say the sound. Whatever you do, do not make your child feel a failure. They can easily learn to read, even if they find one or two sounds difficult to say.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any concerns. We are here to help.

Home Readers

Once children start to learn the first sounds in their reading journey, they will begin to read these sounds in books. To begin with they will read sound blending books. The sound blending books consist of CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) words and gradually progress through the sounds. The children will work their way through the sound blending books at the same pace that they learn the sounds in school. There are ten sound blending books.

The next stage is Red Ditty books. Again, the books that children bring home will be very closely matched to their current reading ability and will include sounds and red words that the children are learning in school at the same time. This means that the children should not see any new sounds or words whilst reading their home readers; the aim of this is to give the children confidence when reading at home.

Children will continue to move through the colour books as their reading ability progresses.

 The aim of the home reader is to consolidate the sounds and words that the children have learnt so far, their comprehension and expression but most importantly; to develop their fluency when reading. For this reason, books are given out once a week and kept for the whole week with the vision of them reading the same book over and over and over at home. The reason for this is that on the first read, the sounds and ‘red’ words may be fairly new to them and they will need to use ‘Fred Talk’ out loud to read the words E.g. ‘c-a-t, cat’. The more they read the book and the more familiar they become familiar with the words in it, we can encourage them to not ‘Fred Talk’ out loud but to ‘Fred in their Head’ and then read the word, eventually moving on to speedy reading.

 They may also now recognise the ‘red’ words that they’ve seen a few times before and therefore can be encouraged to just read them quickly. Hopefully, across the week the children’s reading will sound less ‘robotic’ and more fluent. We can show the children an example of this by Fred talking words/reading like a robot and then read fluently with expression as well and then ask the children if they can spot the difference. Which one sounds better? Why? 

In this reading section of the website, you will find 4 example videos of what reading at the beginning of the week may look like compared to what it may look like at the end of the week. I hope you find these useful.

Example Videos

Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 3

Stage 4


Sharing Stories

At Crookhill, all children get to choose a library book to bring home. The younger children can enjoy these books being read to them by: parents, older siblings or other family members. All children, of all ages enjoy sharing stories.

‘Sharing stories aloud is a fantastically fun way to celebrate the joys of books and spark young imaginations and reading together for just ten minutes a day can help create readers for life.’ Penguin Random House

Follow the link below to top tips on sharing stories-

Useful Links

Link to ‘Why read to your child?’

Link to ‘Why listen to your child read?’

Link to ‘How to say the sounds’

Link to ‘What is Read Write Inc?’