How can I help my child's READING DEVELOPMENT at home?

Top strategies to support your child learning to read

Reading at home can be such a special time for you and your child to share, but it’s all about picking the ‘right’ moment. This can prove very difficult when presented with tired and emotional children and busy family schedules. It is essential that reading time is purely uninterrupted and quality time. If you have other children too it is lovely to often share books altogether. However, it is also necessary, at times, for your child to have one-on-one reading time with you. From personal Mummy experience I know how tricky this can be to find, but believe me your child will find it incredibly special; he/she will feel valued and develop a sense of importance and confidence when he/she reads or shares books.   I cannot advise on a specific and ultimate time of day as all families and individuals are different, but what I would say is that shorter (5-10 minutes in length) and more frequent reading sessions are far more effective at Pre-school/Reception age than longer, extended reading periods. Furthermore, it is important to pick your times around your child and never attempt to ask them to read if they are overly tired and fractious; there will be absolutely no benefit to either of you.  

Reading during the early years is all about developing positive reading habits and attitudes to carry through life; love books and enjoy reading and children will be set up to access the world! You can help by providing access to a wide range of reading materials around the home (Eg. magazines, poems, comics, recipes, newspapers, signs, audio books, games, shopping lists, information books, story books) for your children to either pick up individually to explore/read by themselves or to have read to them.


Your child is likely to be bringing regular reading books home from school. You’ve now picked your ‘right’ time to read together. It is important to note that the purpose of reading isn’t to solely decode the words. It is also about understanding and interpreting what is happening in the books. Here are some ideas of how you can promote and develop reading skills with your Reception child:

Before reading...

Ask your child some questions before opening the book...Where is the title? What does it say? What do you think the story might be about? What makes you think that? What does the blurb on the back tell us? Who is this? (Pointing to author/illustrator’s name) What is their job?

During reading...

Questions that could be asked throughout reading... What is happening in this picture? What do you think might happen next? What makes you think that? What has happened so far? Did you think that would happen? What sort of character is...? How do you think ... might be feeling? How do you think this story might end?

Children during their Reception year will be sounding out many words they read, applying their expanding phonics skills. However, unfortunately not all words can be deciphered easily (due to irregularities and if the sound has not yet been learnt). There are some common tricky words that your child might struggle to sound out (Eg. the, I, my, by, into, you, said, for, of, she, are etc...) but they will be learning many of them throughout the school year and you can support them in reading these words at home.

If your child begins to decode a word and becomes stuck you could prompt them with questions such as....Does that make sense? Is there anything in the picture that will give you a clue? Does it look right? Additional techniques you might wish to employ may include telling your child it’s a tricky word if he/she comes to one, perhaps read the tricky word to your child to avoid losing enthusiasm and momentum, help your child break words up and look for chunks in words to read separately before putting them back together again (eg. help...ed - helped), and help your child sounding out words (using sounds and NOT letter names)...What is the first sound? Middle? End? For example,   ‘l       e       g’   then saying sounds more quickly and closer together (blending them together)   ‘l   e   g   -   l e g   -   l e g   -   leg’.

After reading...

Some ideas of additional questions you could ask your child after reading a book...Which character did you like best in the story? Why? How did this book make you feel? Is this a happy, sad, scary etc... book? What made you think this? Does this story remind you of anything about you or something that has happened to you? What was your favourite part? Why? Why do you think the character... did .... in the story? Have you read any books similar to this one before? Can you retell the story in your own words (perhaps to a sibling)? These questions at the end will help you to establish how much of the book your child has absorbed and understood; subsequently giving you an indicator of your child’s growing reading comprehension skills.

There are many more ideas and curriculum information I could give you and adapt to suit the needs of your individual child so get in touch if I can help further ( or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and look at the services on offer In addition, you can follow Bounce on Pinterest for an expanding supply of early years’ ideas and information or sign up to Bounce’s FREE monthly newsletter to get offers, news and updates.

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