Before formal instruction can begin in school, children need to have established certain concepts about words and reading, drawn from their experience of texts in the environment, home and community. The orchestration of reading combines semantic cues (searching for meaning), syntactic cues (sentence grammar and punctuation) and graphophonic cues (the relationship between phonics and graphic representation). There are debates about the most effective – or ‘right’ – way to teach phonicswhich need to be related to the wider processes of teaching early reading including teaching reading strategies and behaviours in order to support children readingfluently with expression and intonation. To overcome possible barriers to children becoming successful readers, it is important to establish a rich reading environment and a balanced approach in the early years. Home and community experience of literacyare crucial in supporting children’s school-based readingand teachers need to find out about and build on children’s experience of texts at home, particularly those related to on-screen reading.