Reading can be so tricky to master for some children. There are so many barriers to reading and every child learns at their own pace, which should be embraced and nurtured.
(Check out the book bands for school age children)
(Or - What to expect at school age reading)
Ways to help your child to begin to learn to read:
* Ensure your children have access to a range of reading material - Personally, I LOVE books! Always have, always will. So, my home is full of books for my children, both borrowed library books and bought ones. Therefore, from a young age my children have been immersed in picture books, story books, magazines, catalogues, brochures, you name it, we've read it!!
* Read their name - Your child will see their name everywhere in school - their peg, their drawer, their lunchbox, their clothes - it would be so useful to get them used to what it looks like before they start school. Just write it on paper - tell them it's their name - hide it, can they find it? Mix it with different names - your family names (Mummy, Daddy) - which one is their name? Draw attention to the shape and size of their name - how many letters? What letter does it start with? (Some children in school may have the same first names, so it's always worth showing the first letter of their second name too)
* Find their letter name - How many places can you spot the initial letter of your childs name? Go on a letter hunt. (My son's name begins with M and he loves seeing the Morrisons lorries!!) This hunt can be self-made if you want - hide pieces of paper with their letter sound on around the house/garden - how many can they find? This can be extended to word building when they are at school and learning their phonics sounds, e.g.: they have to find c-a-t for cat.
* Make up your own stories - Children love hearing your voice and they find it fascinating when your voice changes. Children learn so much through story. It can be used to deal with the most difficult situations because it doesn't feel like it is happening to them - the story of the boy who didn't eat his dinner/hit his siblings/always said no/threw his toys/etc. You can use pictures as a guide if you feel more comfortable with this - a simple picture of a boy or a family is a good story starter, it doesn't need to be complicated, just a trigger for imagination, and, remember, it's your story so it can never be wrong - allow them to interject parts if you want and lead the story in a different direction. We love using a bag of random objects, collected from around the house and making up a story with them!
* Explore words - Words are everywhere in our world. On signs, packets, games, toys... The first word books you can get for your baby/toddler are great because they show a word and a matching picture to aid understanding, so from a young age they are making a visual match. Pictures play an important role when first learning to read (see FAQs) so it is a good starting point.