The reading brain: kids need good teachers (that includes you)!

Hopefully what you have gathered from this ultimate guide to how we learn to read is that there are plenty of really simple things you can do at home to help your child with reading. Yes, it’s the usual stuff everyone bangs on about – read to your child, talk to your child about anything and everything instead of plonking them in front of the TV (except when you absolutely need to – we’re all only human!), sing songs and nursery rhymes, play simple games and let them mess about with Play-Doh. You really don’t need to be in some kind of phonics bootcamp at age 3 in order to learn to read well at school.

But there are certain things that need to happen in order for a child to get the hang of reading. Children need to be able to hear the sounds in words (phonemic awareness) and understand that the sounds they hear can be represented by printed letters. Children’s brains are all different and will develop at different times so it’s important to be patient if your child isn’t ready to read yet.

At the same time, reading isn’t a natural process – it doesn’t just happen. So if you spot anything amiss don’t wait for it to right itself; talk to your child’s teacher or someone else at school that you trust to take your concerns seriously.

Learning to decode words using phonics is not something that happens overnight. You should certainly learn the basics so that you can support your child’s phonics learning at home, but effective phonics instruction requires a skilled professional in most cases, but especially if your child is showing signs of struggling. Don’t settle for wishy-washy phonics teaching. If you think your child isn’t getting to grips with the method, seek out a specialist tutor.

If you haven’t downloaded your free reading guide yet, please do check it out. It includes an introduction to phonics as well as plenty of reading activities that you can try today, whatever your child’s stage of reading.

Missed the beginning of the guide? Start here!