Reading is one of the most important skills that your child will ever learn, and while a big focus in placed on learning to read in school, much can be done at home to support the process and help your child become a confident and fluent reader.  
For a quick guide on how to support reading at home, see the '7 Top Tips' guide at the bottom of this page. 
What do I need to know to support my child?

Reading can be a complicated business, but it can help if we think about learning to read being made up of two closely-related parts.

The first part is word-reading. This just means recognising the little squiggles on the page or screen. When they are first learning to read, children recognise some words as whole words (often starting with their name). Rather than being taught lots of individual words, children will be taught the word-reading part of reading through phonics.  

Phonics involves building words from sounds. A sound might be represented by an individual letter (such as ‘b’ or ‘t’) or a group of letters (like ‘sh’ or ‘air’). At school, children will start by learning the letters and the sounds those letters represent, and then learn how to blend them together to read simple words. For example, once they know the individual sounds for ‘c’, ‘a’, and ‘t’, they can blend them together to form the word ‘cat’.


More information on phonics is available here:


Watch this fun animation to find out about phonics and understand the key aspects of learning to read using phonics.
With practice, children become quicker at recognising words and blending together sounds in unfamiliar words until they are fluent readers.


The second part of reading is comprehension. This just means being able to understand the meaning of the words on the page. Comprehension is about understanding all language, not just the words that children can read themselves.   


Lots of advice on supporting reading and building comprehension skills can be found on the the Oxford Owl site (,as well in the documents provided below.