Yellow Level – learning to read
Your child has loved having you read to them, and now the next rewarding challenge for them is to learn to read storybooks for themselves. This is such an exciting milestone in your child’s life, so it’s important to make their first steps into literacy as fun, exciting and engaging as possible. With your help and enthusiasm, your child can discover the exciting world of books, and you can help nurture a lifetime love of reading.
By this Yellow Level (3-5 years), your child is likely to
• Know to read sentences from left to right and be aware to take a pause at a full stop.
• Be familiar with the shape of letters and the sounds they make; starting to learn additional phonics rules, such as the different spelling patterns of long vowel sounds (see below for list).
The learning curve
Reading requires so many skills – recognising words, understanding the meaning, and achieving fluency and interest. For children at this early stage, it also requires a high level of adult participation and encouragement to make it both fun and easier. Here are a few ways you can help to raise a keen reader, starting at the Yellow Level.
1. Kick-start their interest
Give your child their very own Yellow Level Readers, full of wonderful images to fire their imagination – from farm animals and fish, to big bad dinosaurs. Share your child’s excitement at owning a book – it’s theirs to keep. Begin by spending time together looking through the book; a child will love to sit next to you while you do this, knowing that if they spot interesting things, they can chat to you about them.
As you chat with your child, use the words that are on the page and point to the words in the labels, the bottom bar and in the main text. This will make the next step of reading the words feel familiar and less daunting.
2. Let’s read!
Having given them a taste of what’s to come, they’ll want to read the book to find out more. As your child reads, move your finger along under each word, helping them to focus and not lose their place. For unfamiliar words, join with your child in sounding out the letters, then flowing the sounds together to form the word. Doing this together makes this tricky stage of learning to read much more fun.
If an unfamiliar word appears in a label or along the bottom bar of the Reader, move your finger to show the match, and encourage your child to use the context of the pictures to work out the word.
3. Praise and encouragement
Your child will love you to listen out for the successes and give praise. What counts as a success depends on your child’s ability – it might just be one or two words they’ve recognised without needing to sound them out, or they may be further advanced and be able read a whole sentence.
Whatever their ability, give some encouragement before turning the page, as this will boost their confidence. Don’t forget to fill out the Certificate of Reading once they’ve finished the book – or better still encourage them to do if for themselves, they’ll be very proud of their achievement and you can even reward them with the free stickers.
A few additional tips
* Point out question marks and exclamation marks. After your child has read, show them how the question or exclamation can be read with expression.
* Try to read together every day. Little and often is best. After 10 minutes, only keep going if your child wants to read on.
* Read other books to your child, just for enjoyment.
Find out more about the next reading level - Green