I don’t think I have ever really written much here about our approach to learning to read. I think that may be because I am quite relaxed about it and whilst I am keen for the children to learn to read, I am confident it WILL happen.
I think that in a home as literature rich as ours is, it’s almost impossible for the children to not learn to read. Books have always (and continue to) form such a central part of our day to day routines that they can’t help but learn to read. It’s a daily occurrence for me to find Mr D and Miss E surrounded by a pile of books they are slowly working through and Mr H is now starting to join them. They are drawn into books and despite the number that we read, they never tire of reading.
Our approach to learning to read is to just encourage their curiosity and help them as they begin to recognise words. We have done a few activities on letter recognition and they both play now and then on reading eggs which had been a good and useful tool for helping them with some of the phonics sounds and for demonstrating their knowledge.
We have a range of ‘early readers’ books that help build the children’s’ confidence when they access them and can read them. A more recent thing we are doing is to build a ‘word wall’ using some bits from Twinkl. This makes use of those tricky, or high-frequency words that can’t really be sounded phonetically. We have some of these sheets printed off and a couple of times a week I have given a couple to Mr D. He traces the word with his finger, writes the word, makes the word using wooden letters and generally works through the sheet. When he has done that we then add the word to our word wall (we have these printed out) and Mr D reads them a couple of times a day as we walk past.
Another thing that we are really excited about is a new addition to our approach – Post from Panda. This is a really neat idea and it is one that already is proving to be a big hit with Mr D. The idea is pretty simple – Panda sends your child a weekly letter, one that your child will be able to read. We have had the first couple of letters and Mr D is so excited to see them when they arrive and more importantly, he is able to read them independently.
It’s sometimes a bit like pulling teeth getting Mr D to practise his reading, and often he will pretend he doesn’t know a word. With the post from Panda, he is so excited to see it on the doormat that he can’t help but read it! It’s a great way to build his confidence as he works through the letter.
If you want to take a look at Post from Panda you can sign up for a free trial (sign up by 30 November) by visiting the Post from Panda site. I’ve been impressed so far – the whole set up is really well thought out, from the first letter to the ‘grown-up’ which explains all about Panda to the letters to the child which feature their name prominently on the envelope as well as their name being the first thing they will see on the letter. The letters are bright and engaging and I look forward to reading more about Panda in the coming weeks. It’s certainly got Mr D (and in turn Miss E) excited. It follows the phonics scheme so will fit perfectly for reception age children.
How do you approach learning to read? Are there any other fab resources out there that we should be taking a look at?
I have been provided with a free subscription to Post from Panda. All words and opinions are my own.