Expert / 17 February, 2020 / My Baba

Teaching Your Child To Read The Smarter Way (Plus 5 Free Bedtime Stories)

Cast your mind back.

You may just be able to picture—although if you’re anything like me it’ll be a little hazy—a 4-year-old you sitting in your primary class. Confused. Maybe a little sweaty from playtime. Staring up as your teacher tap tap tapped on the board with her trusty meter stick.

It went something like this for me.

‘Settle down children,’ bellowed out Mrs Burgess—a spindly old lady with hair like straw noodles.


We all jumped. The meter stick slapped the black board and the class fell silent.

‘Now.. repeat after me.’ she said—the meter stick now hovering under a few strange looking chalky squiggles.

‘Cat.’ She boomed.

‘Caaaat,’ we droned back.

‘Colin Robertson! I cannot hear you. Please remove your tie from your mouth and let us try that again… cat.’

‘Caaaaat,’ we repeated—this time including a reluctant Colin.

‘Very good. Now.. dog.’


You get the idea.

We learned to read by rote. And— although we probably don’t remember it very clearly—when we start to think about how we might help teach or support our child’s reading those distant classroom memories start to come creeping back. Or we just google it.

Either way, a lot has changed in the school curriculum since we learned to read. This understandably creates real uncertainty for parents. And, ultimately, this is where the problem lies.

Many parents and nurseries do not understand the concept of phonics

We asked Dee Hinton, an experienced Primary School Teacher and Mother of 5, the main difficulty she faces when teaching children to read.  Dee said, ‘the main issue is really that parents and a lot of nurseries don’t understand phonics or how to teach them effectively.’

For those of us new to the topic, phonics is the new, smarter way to teach reading. And the method that your child’s school will almost certainly be using (if they are attending a primary school in the UK at least).

So instead of slapping a chalky blackboard with a meter stick until the words have been drummed in, the smarter phonics method breaks words down into blocks of sounds—44 sounds to be precise.

But the important thing to remember here—as our resident teaching expert Dee said—is that there are still right and wrong ways to teach these sounds to our children.

Introducing the Get Kids Reading campaign.

This campaign helps parents understand how best to teach and support their children’s journey to becoming super confident little readers— and, importantly, doing this in line with the current school curriculum. Simply head on over and check out the teacher-verified resources. It’s all completely free.

The campaign itself runs deeper.

A recent landmark study of 11,000 children by University College London (UCL), found that heavy social media consumption is now being linked to lower literacy[1]. As literacy is fundamental to our child’s brain development[2], and social media is here to stay, modern families are being presented with a significant challenge.

Access a free online library for kids

And that’s where Sooper Books comes in. They have created a free online children’s library to help bridge the gap between our children’s fascination with technology and our need to get them reading. A fast-growing selection of award-winning short children’s stories for the busy, modern family.

Here are 5 of their top bedtime stories:

Article by Simon Hood, Get Kids Reading

[1] The Telegraph; August, 2018
[2] Harvard Medical School;

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