Get reading-ready!

Learning to read can seem like a difficult task when children are starting school for the first time. Where to start?

With the right preparation, what could be a daunting activity can become a new adventure!

Read our tips below from Sheila Wood, Chartered Librarian and Senior Book Buyer at Scholastic. How can you start to encourage your child to read? How do you keep it fun and light-hearted?

Struggling with the prospect of phonics? Download our activity sheets to find a fun way to introduce phonics to your child!


5 tips to help your child get ready for reading

When it comes to getting ready for reading there are some simple – and really effective – things you can do before school starts to help learning to read –and everyone can have fun too….

Try some of the ideas below during those weeks before school starts for real….

Don’t push anything if your child isn’t interested or ready for any of these activities –simply enjoy the pleasure of sharing a book together.


  1. Together you can explore how a book works – hold it correctly, turn the pages, understand the words go from left to right, look at the cover and talk about what it shows
  2. Read as often as possible with your child – Introduce the title, point to the words in the book as you read with them

    Show the signs that are all around us in everyday life… on a yogurt pot, at the bus stop, in the shops, on our roads – anywhere and everywhere – Words are all around us!

  3. Children need to develop their listening skills before they can begin to read:

    See if they can re-tell a familiar story in their own words

    Talk about the story as you read it – and ask questions about the story as you go along

    Invite them to talk about the pictures and the story …. ‘Why did he say that do you think?’, ‘ I wish I could …’

    Play ‘Let’s Pretend’ – it can be linked to a story you have read or an event in everyday life

  4. Build awareness of Letters and Sounds – Start with the child’s name

    Read alphabet books

    Play simple alphabet games

    Rhyming books are great fun – children can build an idea of sounds, rhythm, repetition, syllables

  5. Let children see the value of reading – let them see you using a recipe, reading a magazine, emails, and letters, following instructions, and so on

And, most importantly of course, have fun!

Want some books to get them started? Why not browse our lists below, or our Younger readers reading list?


See more Get ready for phonics

Get ready for phonics

See more Starting school

Starting school

See more New school skills

New school skills

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