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Cam ‘writes’ every day and she thoroughly enjoys it.  Sometimes Cam’s writing is self-directed and other times I provide her with a variety of writing prompts or invitations. But mostly she just likes to spend time in the dedicated space we have set up for her to write. I often write about or share photos [...]

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An A-Z of Learning to Read: A Guide for Parents

An A to Z of Learning to Read. A guide for parents by My Little Bookcase

Welcome to An A to Z of Learning to Read, a series designed to guide parents through the ins and outs of learning to read. The series is not a structured program to follow that will lead to instant reading success; rather, with some helpful reading tips along the way, I’m aiming to help parents make sense of the reading terminology that floats about and understand what is involved in the reading process.


Many parents quickly become overwhelmed when they start looking into how to teach their child to read.  And, it IS overwhelming because learning to read is actually a very complex skill. Many educators can’t  agree on the best way to teach reading and that’s because there isn’t one single formula that every child should follow.

I think learning to read is a little like baking a cake. There are many types of cakes to bake and numerous recipes to follow. By choosing ingredients that work together with sound baking methods, they all have the potential to produce successful and beautiful results. But that success lies in the preparation and not the decorations. If you haven’t put time and effort into choosing quality ingredients and mixing a good cake, it will just collapse under your elaborate decorations.

While there are many different approaches to learning to read, there are particular understandings and skills that are necessary for a child to be able to read (I call them ingredients for reading). And, just like baking a cake, reading success lies in the preparation.  I’m an advocate for spending time developing strong foundations for children to build upon, by introducing games and activities that playfully incorporate these skills and understandings. With time and consistency, these ingredients (skills and understandings) start to interact and work together to generate an ability to read.


Ingredients for Reading_ My Little Bookcase

Each item listed on this cake is an important ingredient for reading (Please let me know if you think I’ve left any crucial ingredients off the list). They are the skills and understandings a child needs to grasp in order to read successfully.

Although each ingredient is interrelated, I’ve grouped them under focus areas for the purpose of this series, and each focus area is represented by a slice of cake. I suppose we could also look at them as steps in the recipe towards reading.


The first official post of the series will see a general definition of each ingredient for reading. Then, week by week we are going to explore each of the focus areas, discussing the terminology in more detail, outlining the purpose of each ingredient and providing some tips and activity ideas to develop these skills and understandings.

Please note: As mentioned earlier, there are many approaches to learning to read so these focus areas don’t need to be addressed sequentially in this order (although it does makes sense to develop some skills and understandings before others). Sometimes learning can take place holistically, in that a particular activity you undertake with your child might address a range of skills and understandings from different focus areas.

WEEK 1: Glossary of Reading Terms

WEEK 2: Print Awareness

WEEK 3: Alphabet

WEEK 4: Phonological Awareness

WEEK 5: Phonics

WEEK 6: Phonemic Awareness

WEEK 7: Whole Language

WEEK 8: Reading Strategies

Child.com.au for Language and Literacy Products

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About Jackie Small of My Little Bookcase

Activity Ideas for the Winter School Holidays

Visit My Little Bookcase for Winter Holiday Activity Ideas

Now that I’m a school mum, school holidays mean so much more than ever!

I’ve missed Cammy and I want to make up for things we no longer have time for during the school term. But, I also want to take inspiration from the much-loved book, Today We Have No Plans, spending slow days at home to give Cammy the opportunities again to play freely and without structure or time limitations.

I’m just a little worried that the winter weather might rain on our parade.

I’ve put together a few ideas we’ve featured at My Little Bookcase over the years for those of you like me, who are looking for inspiration to keep the kids happy, entertained and engaged on cold and rainy days.


10 Ideas for Playing with Books

Using Books to Create Small World Play Scenes

Archaeological Choc-Chip Dig

Office Play

Indoor Discovery Trail

Set up a Pretend Bookshop

Aussie Animal Fine and Gross Motor Games

Story Skittles


365+ Fun Ways to Write

Write to Fairies

Story Stones

Sticky Storyboard Telling

Shadow Puppet Show

DIY Puppet Theatre


Number Cookbook Play

Playdough Pavlova Mat

Sugar Plum Fairy Lolly Shop


Make your own Snuggle Pot and Cuddlepie

DIY Washi Tape

Make and care for your own Pretend Pets


Lamington Wombats

ANZAC Biscuits

An Invitiation to Cook


Bear Hunt Picnic

Mud Kitchen Recipe Book

Painting with Mud

Become Environmental Print Explorers

Kite Making and Flying


Hungry Caterpillar Necklace

Publish and Launch a Book

Dine with a Book Character

Magic Faraway Tree Afternoon Tea

Make a Recipe Journal

Like this post? Stay connected:

Be sure to join one of our communities for more literacy-based inspiration, or subscribe to our mailing list so you don’t miss out on future posts.

About Jackie Small of My Little Bookcase