Part 3: Reading (blending)

Introducing storybooks

During the first 8-9 weeks the aim is to prepare the children for reading books. Stories and poems are read to them, but the children are not expected to try and read books for themselves.

By teaching letter sounds, blending techniques and irregular keywords, the children understand, before being asked to read books for themselves, that there is a code to reading and that most words can be worked out.

Teachers and parents may find it difficult not to give the children books to read for themselves in the first few weeks. Spending this extra time devoted to letter work at the beginning means that the benefits from this programme can be greater – higher reading abilities and much lower levels of remedial help needed. The children gain in confidence and can enjoy story-books independently at an earlier stage.

Storybooks for children to read themselves are best introduced once the children can work out simple regular words for themselves, typically when they can read the words in the Word Boxes.

Nevertheless, should there be a child unable to read words from the Word Boxes after about 12 weeks of teaching, they should be started on a simple reading book, but also continue to be given extra blending practice.