The 5 Ps of Reading

The 5 Ps of reading, I know normally you hear about the 3 Rs but to teach your child to read at home what you really need is

  • Phonics
  • Perserverance
  • Patience
  • Practice
  • Participation


Pook will not learn to read in English at school, in Luxembourg they do not learn to read until they are nearly 7 and then it is German. So I have made the decision to teach her to read in English myself. It is vital that she has fluency in her home language, as well as all the new languages she will experience over the next coming years being in the local school system. I do not want her or Meemoo to become ‘jack of all and a master of none’ in terms of language acquisition. It was my job , teaching the young to read before we moved so, experience is, fingers crossed, on my side.


Teaching a child to read is a complicated process which, requires lots of skills to come together at the same time. Ideally all teachers would wait until a child has a real yearning to understand what the print on the page, road signs and advertisements means. The first of these skills is also the first P.


I am planning to follow the same Letters and Sounds order that children in England use. I have chosen this because I know it well and it will quickly give Pook the ability to build and segment words. An important concrete skill required for learning.


It takes time and dedication to learn, a child needs to not only learn their phonics but to learn a 100 key words that do not follow any simple phonic rules. This takes perseverance to keep learning them.


Patience is for the adult, not to jump in and help your child each time they are stumbling over a word, encourage them to use their phonics, try to recall their key words. We as adults need patience to listen to them everyday because at times it is painstakingly slow and feels like it is never going to stick. Just keep going.


Kinda obvious really but this is something that needs to be practised everyday. A little everyday helps it stick, helps children recall any new learning in phonics from school that day.



Just because your child is learning to read does not mean that you would stop sharing stories and nursery rhymes. It is important that children continue to listen to language, how it flows and how we use it. Also children need to see adults actively reading and enjoying it, even if  it is a glossy magazine.

So there you have it my 5 Ps of reading.

Starting School – 3 quick fun phonic games

Here are my top 3 phonic games, that are easy to set up and play at home or on holiday. If it helps I use the time when Meemoo is napping to play with Pook without 18 month old destruction!

  • Object sort

This is really very simple to set up and make use of all those odd bits of toys that you accumulate all the time.  I used our box of odd toys.  P1030437Have a quick scan at the selection of toys and pick the ones that have the clearest initial phoneme. They are taught in a specific order at school, focusing on the most prevalent first. Write the phonemes each on a separate piece of paper. Sort the toys to match. I would start off with no more than 3 phonemes. Play the game together a couple of times and then leave out for your child to play by themselves. In a few days add more toys and new phonemes to recognise.

  • Word building

This is a great game once your child has begun to recognise a at least 3 letters. You can use the phonemes cards you made for the previous game. Use them to build a simple cvc word like sat. Say the phonemes as you make the word and then say the whole word. Repeat a couple of times with different words and then invite your child to make a word. Don’t panic if they make a non word, just read it together and have a giggle. In a few days you can add more phonemes to play with.

  • Grab and go

This a great game for those who like to be on the move. Place some of the phoneme cards you have made previously, around the garden or inside. Say the name of the phoneme and ask your child to run to that phoneme and grab the flashcard. There are hundreds of variations of this, vary your voice, whisper, squeak or how your child has to move tip toe, jump, hop.

Have fun!

You can read more from starting school series

What really happens in the classroom? 

I just played all day – What this really means?

Phonics – A parents game