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How did you learn to read?

Can you cast your mind back and remember how you learnt to read? How does it compare with how your children have learnt to read? In most UK schools children are taught to read using a phonics system (decoding words by sounds) but the debate about whether this is the best method continues to rumble on.

Alison,  our MD recalls how she learnt to read…”I remember being read bedtime stories , my mum thought I could read but then worked out I’d memorised the stories! Then I just remember reading lots books  alone. I can’t really remember any school input though do remember lots of copying [but think that was handwriting lessons!]”. There’s a great opinion piece here on the best way to teach children to read and we thought we’d share some top tips from our tutors who have helped hundreds of primary and secondary children improve their reading skills.

  • Phonics might feel very foreign, especially if you didn’t learn to read that way but it’s worth improving your own knowledge (buy a basic phonics book or ask your child’s class teacher) as it’s a great way for most children to learn the basics of words and reading.
  • A word of caution about phonics – it doesn’t work for all children, some really struggle and if your child doesn’t seem to grasp the basics then it’s time to sit down with their teacher (and possibly a one to one tutor) to develop different learining to read strategies so they don’t lose confidence and fall behind.
  • Make sure that you instill that reading is fun. There may be important school books to read but magazines  and websites are just as good. Your child is more likely to want to learn if they are enjoying themselves.

Our last tip would be to give your child access to reading books, whether that’s buying them or using your local library or charity shops. If you think your child needs support with reading then we can help – call 121 Home Tutors and chat to us about reading support at primary and secondary level across Manchester and Cheshire (Heaton Mersey, Northenden, Cheadle, Alderley Edge).


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