Should by daughter be starting phonics and bringing reading books home from nursery? How do I help her?

This can be a controversial issue and many educators differ on when and how to start learning to read. Practice will vary widely in the expectations of pre-school nurseries but any good setting will encourage a love of reading and enjoyment of books. Some girls embrace the idea of phonics – others need to wait a little longer. Your daughter may have been given ‘homework’ because the pre-school leaders felt that she was showing an interest in learning to read. I would strongly recommend that you make an appointment to speak with the teacher and seek advice on how they envisage you supporting her at home.

If you are worried about how to help there are a wealth of websites and apps which allow you to hear the correct sound, and for you and your daughter to try out together. Here are just a few:

Phonics games
Mumsnet – What is Phonics
Jolly Phonics

Ladybird: I’m ready for phonics
ABC pocket phonics

When she starts school they will revisit all the sounds that she has learned to date – she will have plenty of exposure to phonics ahead of her.  Most importantly, make sure she is enjoying the time she spends ‘reading’ with you, extend her range of books beyond phonic scheme books – talking about pictures, predicting what is going to happen and so on are all strategies she will need as much as phonics knowledge. It is much better that she starts the next stage of her education eager to learn and seeing reading as a positive happy activity.

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