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My son loves books but has just started school and is learning to sound out words. What should I do at home to help him?

You are right to ensure that your child makes a good start at learning to read. The early stages of reading are very important but they have often started long before the sounding out of words. I expect that you have always read to him and talked about the pictures in books. You may have introduced him to favourites (such as: DoggerWhere the Wild Things Are or Thomas the Tank Engine). These experiences have not only prepared him for learning to read, but will continue to support him as he grapples with new skills. So my first advice is to continue all your familiar sharing of books, trips to the library and comforting bedtime stories. This will constantly remind him of the pleasure reading will bring when he can do it for himself.

As his ability to read develops he may begin to read simple books but he will still benefit enormously from being read to. Now will be the time to read children’s books suitable for his age but beyond his ability, for example: Flat StanleyCharlotte’s Web and Just So Stories. He will also enjoy information books, poetry and picture books. Whatever you choose to share, the pleasure of snuggling up with a good book will remain long after ‘sounding out’ has been grasped.

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