Reading and storytelling with your child promotes their imagination, stimulates curiosity, broadens their language and teaches them about emotions. When reading, encourage your child to look at the pictures, and ask them questions about what is happening in the story. Children learn to read using phonics where they learn to blend the sounds together to read the words.


Reading Party

Set up a reading party for your child’s favourite toys.

  1. Get out a blanket and cushions and make it comfortable.
  2. Choose books that they know well so that they can retell the story to their toys without much support.

Reciting a Story

Research shows that children acquire many skills from retelling stories. Faith Polk, an educational consultant quotes, “When retelling stories children’s oral language skills – vocabulary and narrative skills are enhanced. In addition children learn about sequencing and story elements.”

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt has been read over and over again so we acted the story out using actions in the garden. If your child knows any story well, retell it and act it out.

If you have older children, you could change or add different characters or change the setting of the story. Instead of a Bear Hunt, it could be a Lion Hunt!

Missing Words

This activity is perfect for when your child knows are few sounds, and is ready to start to blend the sounds together.

  1. You will need: flashcards of sounds that they know and one of their favourite books.
  2. Before you start this activity, lay out some sounds that they know on the ground.
  3. Open the book and explain that you need your child’s help because a few of the words have fallen out of the book and we need to put them back. The word ‘cat’ has gone missing. Quick, let’s find it.
  4. Go to where the sounds are and say “‘c’ can you find the ‘c’? (Make sure you say the sound, not the letter name). Yes, excellent.
  5. “Cat. We’ve found the ‘c’, now we need the ‘a’. Can you find the ‘a’?”
  6. “Cat. We’ve found the ‘c’ and the ‘a’ and now we need the ‘t’. Can you find the ‘t’?” If you have an older child, they might be able to hear all of the sounds themselves when you say the word.
  7. Take the sounds back to the book and put them on the right page. Phew! They are back. Now read the word a few times, by saying the sound when you touch it.
  8. Repeat with other words.

Blending Sounds

Once your child is comfortable with the sounds and recognises them and can hear the first sound you can start to blend. When reading, you always use the letter sounds, not the letter names.

  1. You will need: A CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) object, sound flashcards and 3 small pieces of paper.
  2. Make sure that the CVC object is using sounds that they already know.
  3. Have the sound flashcards in the wrong order. As this is an introduction to blending, only use the 3 sounds that are needed for the object.
  4. Ask your child what the object is.
  5. “What does cup start with?” Say the word a few times so that they can hear.
  6. “Can you find the ‘c’ and place it on the first piece of orange paper?”
  7. “What is the next sound in cup?” You might need to prompt your child here and break down the sounds for them. Yes u.
  8. “Can you find the ‘u’ and place it on the second piece of orange paper?”
  9. Repeat for the ‘p’.
  10. Once they have done all 3 sounds, touch each flashcard and say the sound and then say the word at the end – cup. Repeat this a few times so they can hear the blending of the sounds.

Changing Sounds

For this activity, only use sounds that your child already knows. They will be reading CVC (consonant, vowel, consonant) words.

  1. You will need magnetic letters or flashcards of the sounds, a piece of paper or a whiteboard with three lines for where the sounds go.
  2. Have the second and third sounds already there like in the photo: ‘a-t’.
  3. Ask your child to make the word ‘mat’. Over exaggerate the ‘m’ so that they can hear the first sound.
  4. Your child finds the ‘m’ and puts it in the right place.
  5. Touch each of the sounds and say “m-a-t, mat” and repeat a couple of times.
  6. Time to make a new word. Now ask your child to make the word ‘sat’. Over exaggerate the ‘s’ so that they can hear the first sound.
  7. Keep the ‘a-t’ where it is and change the ‘m’ to ‘s’.
  8. Touch each of the sounds and say “s-a-t, sat” and repeat a couple of times.
  9. Repeat with each of the other sounds making and reading the new words ‘bat, hat, cat, rat.’
  1. Once they are confident, create a game out of it. Your child closes their eyes or leaves the room and you change the first letter and they blend the sounds together to read the word.
  2. Then you swap. You close your eyes or leave the room and your child changes the first sound to make a new word. You then sound it out to read it. And repeat with the other sounds.

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