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:
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 (https://home.oxfordowl.co.uk/),as well in the documents provided below.
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