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Reading books

31 Oct 2023

Hello, Friends!

This is quite a long post but an important one so please take some time to read it through.

We are delighted to be writing to you about reading books. The children have been making great progress in phonics and they are now ready to start taking home books for daily reading practise. Over the next couple of weeks, the children will start to bring home reading books and a new reading record. 

These books should not replace the reading of high quality and much loved stories that you do with your child. These books are written specifically to support progress in phonics and they should sit alongside other rich and stimulating books in your child's reading diet.

Reading books and homework are going to be a part of your child's learning throughout school, so it is worth taking time to establish a strong routine around reading books from the start. Try to choose a quiet place where you can sit with your child. They will be most motivated when they are receiving your full attention and support. Is there a time when you could put reading school books into your routine at the same time each day? Maybe at breakfast? When you get home from school? After dinner?

Children will start on reading books without words or with very few words. These are great for establishing a reading routine. Talk to your child about the different parts of a book. Where is the title? Who are the authors and illustrators? Where do we start reading? Talk about what happens on each page and make predictions about what might happen next.

As we progress with our phonics learning, the books will include increasingly complex words to read. We use our 'reading finger' to point to the word we are reading, tracing left to right across the page. Encourage your child to 'fred talk' (say the sounds like c-a-t). Then blend the sounds together to read the word (cat). If they are struggling with a word, fred talk and blend yourself, to model how it is done, then move on to the next word.

Some words are not phonically decodable (like 'the'), we call these tricky words. Your child will learn to recognise these words but if they get stuck on them, read them the word and move on. We want this to be a positive experience for the children and there is no need to push for every single word if they are struggling.

to begin with, the books might be a lot for your child. It's fine for you to read some pages to them, fred talking and blending some words aloud. Maybe you could take turns to read a page each.

It is easy to get lost in decoding the phonics and forget to check that your child actually understands what is happening in the book! Be sure to ask questions to check for understanding and practise predicting what might happen next. 'Why do you think they did/said/thought that?' is a great uestion to find out how much your child has understood.


Your child will take home two books each week and will get the most out of them if you read each one more than once. The skills they use on a second or third reading are differnet to those on a first reading. When you have read a book, please sign their reading record to let us know that they have read it. We will change their books once a week, on their book change day. If you would like to access more levelled reading books, you can sign up for an account to access ebooks here. 

What a lot of information!
As ever, if you have any questions come and chat to us!


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