Learning to read

Learning to read is a vital life skill and by giving children the knowledge building blocks of letters and sounds we are helping them on their first steps of their reading journey.

Building Confidence and Wellbeing

If we know something well having spent time nurturing it, whether it is getting to know a person or learning a skill, we become more relaxed and confident, conversing freely or practising that skill with ease.

Giving children a sense of confidence is a vital part of their development and wellbeing and we can help them with this. We can give them attainable goals, the right tools and skills and plenty of praise and encouragement.

By succeeding in what they do, children gain a sense of pride and confidence, boosting their self-esteem and encouraging them to do more.  Most importantly, it makes them happy!

Learning is fun!

Children are never too young to learn if you introduce topics to them in the right way. It needs to be fun, bright, clear and engaging and able to captivate a child’s imagination.

We developed Bear Beginnings as we wanted to give children something which would encompass all these qualities, while teaching them phonics, numbers, colours and shapes.

We were constantly amazed by the children at our schools who from the age of 3 remembered dinosaur names, sang French songs and delighted in reminding us of words such as sarcophagus which they had learned during our topic on Ancient Egypt!

Sequencing the Alphabet Helps With Reading

In our experience, children benefit enormously from initially learning the alphabet in sequence.  Not only is this a logical progression and a necessary skill to know, it is also encouraging the movement from left to right.  As children sequence the alphabet, either by physically placing letters in a row, or by calling out their names as they follow a line with their finger, they are working and looking from left to right – vital skills in reading and writing.

We have observed that children can really struggle in Reception class and beyond if they are not able to sequence the alphabet at this stage.  They can also struggle if they do not know the names and sounds of each letter of the alphabet.

It can be very confusing for them if letters and sounds are taught in groups of letters and out of sequence, which is often the case when they start school.  They are sometimes taught this group of letters first ‘s, a, t, p, i, n’ and then only by sound not by name.  So children may know the letter ‘s’ only as the sound ‘sss’ and be unaware of its position in the alphabet.

Phonics Is Key For Learning To Read

We feel it is important that when children first begin to learn the alphabet and the sounds associated with the letters (phonics), it must be taught in a very clear and logical way, so children develop a solid knowledge of this fundamental information – a vital building block in their education.

So from the beginning, teach your children the alphabet in the correct order. Introduce individual letters by telling them the name and then modelling the sound and asking them to repeat it. 

It is really important to model the correct letter sounds at this stage as learning these accurately will help children to blend sounds and read words.  Please see our Bear Beginnings Phonics Video which will help you with the pronunciation of individual letter sounds.

How Can Children Read Words?

Children only need to learn a few individual letters and sounds before they can begin to join them together to read words. So once they have reached ‘e’, they can already read the words ‘bed’ and ‘cab’, for example, simply by joining the individual sounds together. These simple three letter words are known as ‘cvc’ words – consonant, vowel, consonant.

Reading CVC words
Blending sounds to read
Reading cvc words
Learning to read

By using the Alphabet Bears from Bear Beginnings, children become familiar with the name and sound of the letters.  Simply place 3 bears next to each other to make words. It is amazing to see the expression on a child’s face when they realise they have read a word.  You can have great fun together moving the bears around to make other words.  It does not matter whether they are real or nonsense words.  You are encouraging concentration skills and confidence and above all, you and your child are having fun – the key element in learning!

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