Children aged around 3-5 years old tend to go through an experimental reading phase where they memorise whole chunks, or even the entire story. They may be able to pick out some familiar sight words but tend to rely on their memory to ‘read’ the story.
Sight words are words that children should know automatically ‘at sight’ such as ‘the’, ‘where’ and ‘here’. A lot of these words just have to be learnt at sight as they are very tricky to sound out.
Early readers often rely heavily on illustrations in books to give them clues. If your child is bringing home a home reader and appears to have learnt the entire book by rote, try pointing to individual sight words and ask your child to tell you what that word is. Alternatively try covering up the illustrations so that your child is relying on written clues rather than visual ones.
While pointing out sight words is helpful as they are trickier for early readers, next time you read a book to your child, even try pointing at every word as you read it. This will help your child understand that the word being spoken is the word they see. Give this a try and tell us how you go.
Another great way to develop your child’s reading skills is by encouraging them to make their own books. Let them draw or cut out pictures to fill up the pages. Ask your child to tell you what is happening as you scribe for them. Re-reading the book regularly with your child lets them know that you value their work.
Visit www.readingeggs.com to see how your child can learn to read while having fun with Reading Eggs!