Talk to your children whenever you can! It’s true that in busy households it’s becoming more and more difficult for families to spend quality time talking in a reflective way about what everyone’s been doing. Mealtimes can often be the best time for families to get together like this.
Help your children to develop their vocabulary by suggesting better words they might have used in your conversations, in a constructive and friendly way!
Encourage them to take part in activities that involve presenting to an audience, such as a school assembly, parents’ evening, at a place of worship or community centre.
Discuss topical subjects of concern with them, for example, health issues such as diet, drugs and alcohol.
Provide the space and time for reading.
It’s important to build into your child’s routine 20 minutes of reading an evening. Make sure they have a quiet area to do this away from distractions.
Let your child choose what they want to read rather than you choosing for them.
Reading doesn’t just mean books!
Encourage your child to read magazines, articles on the Internet, bus timetables, menus etc.
Take an interest in what they are reading.
Ask your child what they are reading and if they enjoyed it. If it’s a school library book, encourage them to write a review for the library.
Be a reading role model!
Does your child see you reading? Share your likes and dislikes about things you have read
Read with your child.
You could read newspapers and magazines together, take it in turns to read pages of a book or even watch a film adaptation of a book your child has read.
Try some skimming and scanning together.
Skimming is when you read through a piece of text quickly to find out what the main idea is; scanning is glancing through a piece of text to find a specific piece of information.
Include books in gifts for birthdays and Christmas.
Let us know if you have any queries or concerns about your child’s reading.
Encourage your child to think about whether the word looks like another one they know or recognise?
If not, does it have any parts they recognise?
Read ahead – can they now work out what the word means?
Ask your child to think about whether they really need to read this word to understand the rest of the sentence. If not, make a note of it and come back to it later and use a dictionary to work out its meaning.
If stuck on the pronunciation of a word, encourage them to match a sound to each letter
Another strategy for working out the pronunciation of a word is to break the word into chunks (chunking)
Encourage your child to slow down!
Tell them to re-read the part of the text that they don’t understand. They may need to read this part more than once.
Encourage your child to go back to just before they were stuck and re-read the whole section. This might help them to understand what comes after.
Encourage them to use the pictures or diagrams as clues. Do they help them to understand the idea?
Turn what you don’t understand into a question and come back to it later.
Encourage your child to read – good readers are good
Look at your child’s homework planner to track when teachers are setting extended writing as homework. These will be set by all subjects not just the English department.
If your child has barriers to writing or has low self-esteem as a writer, praising the writing they do or have done is important.
Encourage your child to plan and draft their written work in advance of producing a final draft. Some children find it useful to talk through their ideas before putting pen to paper
Encourage your child to use the writing posters (copies in this booklet and your child’s planner) to help structure their writing.
Encourage your child to use any of the writing frames or VCOP (vocabulary/connectives/openers/punctuation) sheets their teachers may have given them to help support their writing.
Encourage your child to proofread their work to help eliminate errors. Proofreading backwards (start at the end and work back to the beginning) is a particularly effective strategy.
Encourage the use of a dictionary to check spelling.
Encourage your child to use a thesaurus to help improve the range of the vocabulary they use in their work.
Read through the weekly spelling list with your child. Check they understand all the meaning of all the words.
Ask your child if there are any words on the list they think they can spell. If they can spell those words correctly, concentrate on the words they feel they cannot spell.
Use the strategy LOOK – SAY – COVER – WRITE – CHECK to help your child remember the spelling of those words they cannot spell.
When your child checks and they correctly spell the word, ask them how they are going to remember how they spelt the word correctly.
If they are incorrect, underline the letters that are wrong, ask your child to study the word again and then encourage them to have another go using the strategy
LOOK – SAY – COVER – WRITE – CHECK