Reading in Year 1

Year 1 is an exciting time in your child’s reading development and during this year we hope that they will become increasingly confident and independent readers. Regular reading at home with an adult is vitally important in order to practice and develop key reading skills, and your continued support in this area is greatly appreciated.

We recommend that you take time to sit down and read with your child everyday. The more they read, the easier and more enjoyable it will become. Remember, reading with your child should be a pleasure for you both. Short, frequent sessions, without undue pressure, will keep it fun and fresh.

Using the Reading Diary

Please use the reading diary to record when your child reads at home. A comment may be about successes or difficulties decoding the text, strategies they used or comments from your child about what they have read. Whilst your child has been provided a colour-levelled reading book from school, please feel free to encourage them to also read any other reading material that interests them such as books from home, books from the library, magazines, menus, road signs, cereal boxes…the list goes on!

When writing in the reading diary, please record the date, the name of the book and a short comment about how your child read. For example, you may comment one of the following:

  • Phonemes (sounds) and words they have successfully decoded.
  • Phonemes they struggled with (for example: ‘ch’ or ‘ay’)
  • Comments or predictions your child made about story
  • Your child’s level of confidence
  • Your child’s enjoyment of the book

Your child’s teacher will look at their reading diary and reward them with a stamp for every five entries in the reading diary.

Progression through reading stages

As our children continue to develop their reading skills and read longer and more challenging books, they may remain on one colour band for longer than during the earlier stages. It is important that they continue to explore, enjoy and re-read the text whilst also developing their fluency, expression and comprehension skills. Please have a look at the advice on the reverse of this letter for ideas for how to help your child during reading at home.

 Advice for reading with your child at home

We hope that the notes below will be helpful to you when you hear your child read at home. Please remember that they are only a very general guide. Do not hesitate to ask your child’s class teacher.

Getting Started

Find a time that suits you and your child and make sure your child is sitting comfortably beside you.

Discuss the book with your child before asking him/her to read. Look at the cover. If the book is new to the child, discuss what the book appears to be about. If the book has already been started, review the story so far and possibly predict what could happen next.

While Reading

  • Your child may benefit from using a finger or a card to follow the text until they become a competent, fluent reader.
  • Remind the child to use his/her phonic knowledge to sound out the word.
  • Encourage them to break down tricky words into manageable phonic segments.
  • If your child misreads a word, give them time to self-correct.
  • Give regular, short positive praise as they read.
  • Take turns to read a page each or demonstrate reading using the punctuation or expression.
  • Please encourage your child to re-read a book a second time to help develop their fluency and comprehension skills.

Ending the Session

  • Praise your child for trying hard and reading so well.
  • Ask your child to reflect on the text by asking a few appropriate questions, for example:

– Which part of the story did you like best?

– Did you find anything funny / sad / particularly interesting in the story?

– Who was your favourite character? Why?

– What do you think will happen next?

Reading Tips

1. Choose a quiet time

Set aside a quiet time with no distractions. Ten to fifteen minutes is usually long enough.

2. Make reading enjoyable

Make reading an enjoyable experience. Sit with your child. Try not to pressurise if he or she is reluctant. If your child loses interest then do something else.

3. Maintain the flow

If your child mispronounces a word do not interrupt immediately. Instead allow opportunity for self-correction. It is better to tell a child some unknown words to maintain the flow rather than insisting on trying to build them all up from the sounds of the letters. If your child does try to ‘sound out’ words, encourage the use of letter sounds rather than ‘alphabet names’.

4. Be positive

If your child says something nearly right to start with that is fine. Don’t say ‘No. That’s wrong,’ but ‘Let’s read it together’ and point to the words as you say them. Boost your child’s confidence with constant praise for even the smallest achievement.

5. Success is the key

Parents anxious for a child to progress can mistakenly give a child a book that is too difficult. This can have the opposite effect to the one they are wanting. Remember ‘Nothing succeeds like success’. Until your child has built up his or her confidence, it is better to keep to easier books. Struggling with a book with many unknown words is pointless. Flow is lost, text cannot be understood and children can easily become reluctant readers.

6. Visit the Library

Encourage your child to use the public library regularly.

7. Regular practice

Try to read with your child on most school days. ‘Little and often’ is best. Teachers have limited time to help your child with reading.

8. Communicate

Your child will most likely have a reading diary from school. Try to communicate regularly with positive comments and any concerns. Your child will then know that you are interested in their progress and that you value reading.

9. Talk about the books

There is more to being a good reader than just being able to read the words accurately. Just as important is being able to understand what has been read. Always talk to your child about the book; about the pictures, the characters, how they think the story will end, their favourite part. You will then be able to see how well they have understood and you will help them to develop good comprehension skills.

10. Variety is important

Remember children need to experience a variety of reading materials eg. picture books, hard backs, comics, magazines, poems, and information books.