Thursday, 23 November 2017

Getting the most out of your reading book

Each Friday, reception children are given a new reading book for the week. The level of book they are given is linked to their Leapfrog group at school.

Here are a few guidance notes to help you get the most out of each reading book.
Use pictures to gain understanding of the text. On some occasions, your child may bring home a book with no words. These books are designed to support a new reader's understanding of story structure. For these books, encourage your child to tell their own story using the pictures to guide them. Encourage story language (such as "once upon a time") and wonder what might happen next at each turn of the page.

Use initial sounds and accompanying pictures in the book to build a bridge between the words and the story. Early word books often comprise of repetition or even just single words per page. For these books, encourage your child to identify the initial sound of the words and use the picture to help them further. Repetition books are often easy for your child to memorise and will help them to become more confident readers.

Use "Fred Talk", or in other words, sound it out. Children are learning how to Fred Talk in leapfrog lessons. Encourage your child to have a go, and if they don't quite get it right, see if they can hear you sound the word out and blend it together first. When a child has mastered hearing these sounds, they will become increasingly more able to blend independently.

When children are able to use Fred Talk efficiently, the next step would be "Fred in Your Head", or in other words, sounding it out silently. You may see your child nodding along to each sound they are saying in their heads. This is a helpful technique to keep them focused on their goal.

Speedy reading, or developing fluency is next. After Fred in Your Head, developing speed when reading each word will really transform your child's reading. To achieve this, a child will Fred in their heads speedily at first, to the point where it becomes so fast that they only need a slight pause before reading each word. Soon the whole sentence will become achievable in one go.

Developing expression is the next step; a fun one too! When your child has read the sentence with fluency, you can repeat the sentence back to them with expression to enhance understanding of what is being read. Your child will then repeat this and soon will be experimenting with expression independently.

Comprehension is crucial when reading a text. Gaining meaning from each page is vital to support a child with their reading skills which will serve them later on in their school life. To see if your child has understood their book, ask simple questions about it. These questions could have answers that are in the text or picture (for instance, "what was the dog holding?") or the answers could be inferred (for instance, "how did Biff feel? Why do you think that?").

Word games are good fun to play with your child when they are familiar with their reading book. "Fastest finger finds..." is a game to support speedy reading of decodable words, words you can sound out. "Spot the red word!" is a game to support children in identifying those tricky words that you can't sound out (e.g. I, the, of, my, me... etc).

Ultimately, the aim of Leapfrog Club is to link reading with writing. Once your child knows their reading book inside out, see if they can write a word from their book using their Fred Fingers, or perhaps a short sentence.

Happy reading! We can feel some certificates coming on soon...!

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