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Learning to read

read; reading; sounds; phonics; letters; words; sentences;


Your parents and carers may need to help you with this topic.

Names and sounds of the letters

Do you know the names of the letters?

the Alphabet

Do you know the sounds of the letters?

learning to readSome words are easy:


  • Say the sound of each letter: c - a - t
  • Say the sounds quickly so that they run together to say the word 'cat'.

Some words are hard:

  K - n - o - w

  • The sounds won't run together to make a word.
  • You have to learn the shape of the word and the sound it makes.

Sometimes the sound of a letter can change when it is near to another letter,
eg.  t and h together are different: th

There are some rules to learn about this. Your teacher will help you.

What you can do

  1. Learn the sounds of letters. Use an alphabet chart which has pictures to help you work out the sound.
  2. Learn the shape of hard words.
  3. Learn the rules about letters.

   Keep trying hard and
   read, read,

  • Read to mum, dad or an older brother or sister every night.
  • learning to readRead to yourself when you go to bed.
  • Read with someone else - read all the words you can.
  • Look at books and 'read' the pictures to find out what the story is about so you can make good guesses at the words.
  • Read words you see or ask what they say.
  • Read to the teacher.
  • Join the local Library and borrow alphabet and reading games.
  • Get talking books from the library so you can read the book as you listen to the story.

When you need help

Sometimes kids have problems learning to read. They may not be able to see the letters clearly.

  • Maybe the letters look fuzzy.
  • Maybe the letters look too small.
  • Maybe the kid has to screw his eyes up to see well.
  • Maybe the kid has to put the book further away.
  • Maybe the letters seem to move about.
  • Maybe the letters don't show clearly against the page.

readingIf you or your friend is having one or more of these problems, then you need to tell someone about it.

  1. Tell the teacher, your mum, dad or whoever looks after you.
  2. You may need to tell a doctor or a special eye doctor.
  3. You may have a problem with your eyes, and if you have, that would make it very hard for you to learn to read.

What kids say

  • "I like reading chapters because they make me want to read more." Sera
  • "I like to read books." Gerhardt
  • "I read Bugs Bunny books and they are funny." Brooke
  • "I read to my mum. I am a good reader." Melissa
  • "I read to my teddy. Sometimes I read to Stephanie, sometimes to dad and sometimes to mum." Chloe
  • "I like reading my books to mum and I like reading to dad too." Jake
  • "I like reading a book called Delta Quest."
  • "I like reading with my mum. My favourite book is 'Where is Scruffy?'"
  • "I read library books if we go to the library."
  • "I can read my language and now I am learning to read English books too." 
  • "At night I read a book called Garfield. I read well. I am on level 14 at school."
    learning to read

Dr Kim says

Dr KimIf you are trying really hard to learn to read and you just don't seem to be getting very far, then ask your teacher for help. The sooner you get help the better.

Being able to read is really important for you to be able to join into your world through books, the internet, mobiles, work and ... all sorts of things.

Reading is fun too! 

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We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


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