Summer 1: Dragons and Dinosaurs
During this half term we use books and stories about Dragons and Dinosaurs as the starting point for lots of our work. This is a fascinating and motivating topic and some of our children are already dinosaur experts.
Our key focus is reading, and just as we can discuss similarities and differences between dinosaurs and fictional dragons, we can discuss the similarities and differences between non-fiction, fact or information books and fictional stories.
We are working towards the Early Learning Goal for Reading: Children read and understand simple sentences. They use phonic knowledge to decode regular words and read them aloud accurately. They also read some common irregular words. They demonstrate understanding when talking with others about what they have read.
Although the main skill we focus on when teaching young children to read is using phonic knowledge to blend to read words, as you can see from the goal, some words, such as ‘was’ cannot be read in this way, and children have to build up a sight vocabulary of these irregular words. Playing bingo games or pairs games with these irregular words can help the children to remember them. Our phonics work is split into phases, and at each parents /carers’ meeting we will tell you what phase your child is working in and give you an overview of the phase and a letter mat. The overviews are also available on line.
You can find detailed information at
There are games and resources at
The best way to help young children to understand what they have read is to talk about it. You can mix information retrieval type questions, for example ‘Where was the dog hiding?’ with ones where the children have to use inference, for example ‘How do you know that the boy was feeling sad?”. You can talk about what words mean, think of different words with the same meaning and even make a list of wow words that your child can use in their writing to make it even better. Check too for the spelling of individual words, looking out for word families, groups of words that follow the same spelling pattern. You can also talk about children’s opinions of the book, the part they enjoyed most, which character they would like to be their friend, and what they would do together.
Some children will enjoy stories, others will be more motivated by information books. In school we try to encourage children to read a range of books and to try different genre and styles but the main thing is to encourage children to read any and everything. They can read street signs and the writing on the back of cornflakes packets, the important thing is they read. You can get ideas for different types of books, favourite authors etc at
There are more ideas for busy families at
If you are worried about your child’s progress, please do talk to any of the Reception staff and we will do our best to help, or point you in the direction of someone who can. More ideas and support for reluctant or struggling readers at
It is important to keep reading with your child, even as their own skills increases. You can read children books that they would not be able to read themselves. You can also enjoy old favourites, creating that cosy bedtime feeling. You are showing that reading is something important and that you value and enjoy it. Audio books are a great way of passing a long journey, and are better than the blue light emitted from tv / computers if your child needs something to help them to drop off to sleep.
All our school families are invited to our book-swap events, and in Reception we are trialing moving the day and time of our Reading Cafes around, to make it possible for as many families as possible to attend at least one.
Information about Liverpool libraries and reading projects can be found at
Finally if you would like to improve your own English skills, the Adult Learning Service run a variety of courses at their Park Road centre:
We hope from all the information we’ve given, you can see how important we think reading is, and how much we value it.