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Pingu's English: Enjoying Reading in the Early Years

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“Enjoying Reading  in the Early Years” by Ms Rebecca Gilligan (MA, PGCE, BSc, Trinity TESOL), Head of Curriculum and Content – Pingu’s English, Linguaphone Group

How long have people been enjoying the habit of reading?

People have been reading for over 5,000 years. However, the art of reading was for the few to be enjoyed in the company of others. For centuries, the Europeans that were able to read, read aloud with an audience. It wasn’t until the 16th century when this custom began to change, and people started to read silently.

How do people read?

Neuroscientists were puzzled for centuries as to the processes that occur in the brain to aid reading. However, due to the changes in reading habits that occurred, they quickly discovered that reading aloud and reading silently used different areas of the brain. Reading activates the temporal and frontal lobe and the angular and supramarginal gyrus areas of the brain. Surprisingly, different areas of the brain are needed to process the skill of writing. There have been several documented cases of individuals that could read but not write and vice versa. How these skills are processed exactly is still undergoing much research around the globe. But we do know that in order to begin the skill of reading, children need phonemic awareness. This is the ability to map letters to sounds. Once children develop this awareness, they need a lot of practise decoding using their letter-sound knowledge. As these skills develop, they will learn to read more fluently and naturally.


How does the Pingu’s English curricula support children to read?

In second language acquisition, many studies suggest that reading and writing is more successful the more words, phrases and sentence patterns a learner is exposed to. To this end, when attempting to read and decode a new sentence a learner will be more successful if they have had exposure to the same content of words in a variety of contexts.

At Pingu’s English many of our learners achieve early success in reading as a result of the spiral curriculum.

In this type of curriculum structure, learners are exposed to words and concepts in many different contexts and sentence formations. This gives them a solid foundation on which to begin their reading journey. For example, if a child has been trained in sentences like, ‘Pingu plays at home with mommy.’ or ‘Pingu and Pinga walk to school with daddy.’ the brain of the early learner could then easily predict a sentence like ‘Mommy and daddy walk home.’ Such familiarity and repetition give children opportunities for maximum success in reading knowledge.

At Pingu’s English, the curriculum supports children’s learning by beginning to recognise all the letter sounds correspondences. These include individual, digraph and trigraph letter-sounds. To achieve this, children learn to recognise the sounds of letter combinations such as the sounds made by b, ph and air, respectively.

english for kidsOver the course of the three-year international kindergarten program children learn approximately 44 sounds (phonemes). These correspond to the 26 letters of the English alphabet. During this process they learn how to blend these letters by using the sounds to form familiar words at their stage of reading development. In order to be successful in early reading skills children need to identify all the letter-sound variations. Identifying letter-sound correspondences can be a challenging skill to master.

Many children will struggle as early readers. However, at Pingu’s English all practitioners have at their disposal, daily lesson plans with letter (year 1), phonics (year 2) and reading activities (year 3). All of this comes along with recommended book lists which match the topics being discovered in that stage of the curriculum. As children build on their letter-sound knowledge, reading fluency will develop.

While there isn’t a one-size-fits all method to developing reading fluency we are confident that all children can achieve the learning outcomes at each year group.

Practitioners and caregivers are already acutely aware that children all develop at different rates and reading is no exception to this rule. Some children may decode a word once and be able to automatically recognise that word from that day forward. However other children may need to be exposed to the same word for 10-20 times before it becomes consolidated in memory.

How can my child become a more proficient reader?

To become more proficient readers, children must learn other skills in addition to phoneme and phonic awareness. As part of the Pingu’s English language learning component children have fun with high frequency sight words (HFWs), syllable patterns, word roots, prefixes and suffixes. These aspects of language, in addition to children’s letter-sound awareness really equip children with the strategies they need to develop automaticity. This is the ability to recognise words quickly, effortlessly and accurately. Once automaticity is mastered then children can begin to become fluent readers. You can easily recognise a fluent reader by a child’s interest in reading independently at a good pace.

Does your child love to read?

If they do, that is fantastic! If they haven’t developed their interest yet, don’t worry! There are lots of effective ways to instil a love of reading. Try sharing picture books with your young learner. As you do this, talk about the images on the pages. Get into the habit of reading daily with your child. In fact, it is never too early to start reading, talking or singing to your child. Studies have shown that intellectual development can be enhanced as early as in the womb.

There is no doubt that there are proven benefits to reading from birth, such as language development and increased word recognition.

What’s more, reading can expose the listener to so many scenarios. This can lead to a greater understanding of the world and a child’s place in it. A 2012 study revealed that the brain acts as though it experiences first-hand the narrative of the story being read. Scientists monitored brain activity, and this accurately matched the events of the protagonist in the story.  For more tips on developing a passion for reading in your child, please read our latest blog here.


Pingu’s English is the global -school education brand offering first-class English enrichment programs and international kindergarten curricula for children in over twenty countries worldwide. Pingu’s English is owned and produced by the Linguaphone Group, a UK-based company with over 110 years of experience in the education market. For more information please contact or visit 

Pingu’s English supports World Book Day – celebrated on Thursday 5 March 2020. It is designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and marked in over 100 countries all over the world.


#worldbookday # pingusenglish


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We at the British Chamber of Commerce worked with Linguaphone Group to find them a new in-market partner for the Korean market. Throughout the engagement we had with Linguaphone Group, we found them to be passionate about education, supremely professional in their approach to business and both responsive and personable in their interactions with ourselves and Korean partners. Korean investors were attracted to the best-in-class program which Linguaphone Group offers, the strong reputation of the company and the heritage with which it is associated. These are qualities that resonate globally.

British Chamber Korea

 Sean Blakeley, BCCK CEO

Our Experience with Pingu’s English has been profitable and positive from the first year. We relied on their professionalism and heritage, their staff is always prompt to assist with the latest trends and ideas on the market. We were looking for a brand who can guarantee us quality and a solid method but at the same time would leave us the freedom and flexibility in order to succeed in our challenging and competitive market like the Italian one. We built Pingu’s English project in Italy by mixing their huge international experience in the English training with our knowledge of the Italian market. All this enabled us to do the right decision for our winning investment. Today we have over 40 Pingu’s English centres and thousands of happy children learning English.

Daniele Arboit

Pingu's English Master Franchisee Italy

From our first training session in London 2009- from the academic side to customer service -we felt confident and well equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to be successful Pingu’s English Master Licensees” At the moment, our services to all 23 networked schools across the country are effectively and efficiently backed by Pingu’s English.  No doubt that we see no limit to expand our business to cover 30,000+ schools in the near future!

Nipat Ungpakornkaew

Pingu's English Master Licensee Thailand

I knew about Pingu’s English School through a friend. After research about the school, I decided to enroll my daughter and it was one of the best things I could do to her. She loves studying at Pingu’s English and she cannot wait to the day of the class. I also love Pingu's English School, because there she learns by playing and I can see her progress day by day.

Léia Rodrigues

Pingu's English Student's mother / Brazil

Now she is studying at Pingu’s English School, my daughter only wants to talk to me in English and she is always singing the songs.

Cristiane Doimo

Pingu's English Student's mother /Brazil

Regarding the teaching method they use a figurative storytelling way of starting the lesson,  trying hard to involve the child and make the them curious about the situation. Tom is very happy to go to Pingu’s English because he perceives the School as a playful moment and not just as a learning moment while at the same time he is learning a new language


Pingu's English Student's Mother /Italy

We love Pingu’s English School because the school gives my son the opportunity to learn and develop different skills, especially English skills. He is excited every time to go to school and is always happy when he comes home.

Sapavoot Preedawipart

Pingu's English Student's Mother/ Thailand

Pingu’s English School is not just a school; it is as a second home for my kid. I like it when I see my kid growing and learning in a friendly and safe atmosphere. Most of all, I can see a lot of improvement in his English listening and speaking skills

Piyatida Tudteam

Pingu's English Student's Mother/Thailand

I have being running my own school for 15 years. When I met Pingu’s English, it was love at first sight. Now I am offering the best English Course available to my students and they are loving it as well as their parents. Thank you Pingu’s English!

Giedre Paula

Pingu’s English Unit Franchisee in State of Mato Grosso do Sul

Brazil is a huge Market and the preschool english education industry is growing very fast. All our franchisees are happy with the Pingu’s English methodology as well as the operational manuals Liguaphone offers to Unit Licensees. They feel very well assisted.

Ronaldo Vieira

Pingu's English Master Franchisee in State of Sao Paulo

Abbas always tells me that Pingu's English is the most fun he has all day. I am very glad that this place makes him feel that way and noticeably develop his language skills too


Pingu's English Student's Father/Bahrain

Our students are very enthusiastic in studying at Pingu’s English. They always tell us how much fun and how much they learn here. Parents also keep saying how proud they are with the knowledge and improvements their children are making.

Willian Veloso Rocha

Pingu’s English Unit Franchisee in State of São Paulo