Good afternoon all,
Many thanks for those who came to chat about English; it was great to see so many of you there supporting once again.
Additionally to what I talked about on the day, please have a look at the following ideas to help with English at home:
- Don’t close off from reading more difficult books with your child just because they aren’t at their level. Carrying on a book together alongside one they read themselves really helps them explore language and ideas.
- Don’t try and read for too long each day – particularly for reluctant readers. 10 minutes of quality reading with a bit of discussion is all you need.
- If it gets stressful, try finding a different place to read. Sometimes a change of scenery is enough.
- Make sure whoever is reading holds the book! It’s a small thing but it’s important.
- Try to turn off all electronic devices while you read. Show how important the time is to both of you.
- Encourage independent reading with a nightlight or similar.
- Try not to interrupt while they read. Unless absolutely needed, let them read for 10 minutes then go back over anything they’re unsure of. This will help their confidence.
- Try not to just say, ‘good’ or ‘getting better’. Picking out something they did well is more likely to help them develop. Try to say things like, ‘Well done for pausing at that comma,’ or, ‘You pronounced the word gregarious really well.
- Show yourself to be interested in reading. Even if you have to fake it, make it seem important to you.
- Encourage children to write, write, write! Provide many opportunities such as writing the shopping list, sending letters and cards to friends and relations, writing emails, keeping a diary, publishing personal stories, labelling photos in the family album, and leaving notes. Locating writing apps such as Book Creator. Writing should be relevant and meaningful rather than writing for the sake of writing.
- Give children opportunities to read their stories aloud (while you sit back and listen). Listen with a focus on the message they express. Be clear about how you comment – don’t just say ‘good.’
- Draw children’s attention to how writing is presented, for example, on brochures, billboards, books, and electronic media — these are models of writing for real purposes.
- Try and write together. Provide a quiet place for writing with lots of writing materials. Leave notes for each other, write poems for your children, and send messages in lunch containers. Play writing games, for example, one person writes the beginning, another the middle and the other the end of a family story. Write together.
- Try different ways to correct writing. Try to focus on one skill to improve, such as full stops, and look at other things another time – remember the child has often tried their hardest on a piece of writing.
- If your child hates the thought of their work being written on, try placing it inside a plastic pocket or similar and writing on top of that instead.
- Talk about words you notice in the environment.
- Play games with spelling. Play games like Scrabble, crosswords, making words from number plates, letters in your names, words that can be spelled the same forward and backwards. Look for spelling apps that you can play together, for example, Boggle.
- Play word games like thinking of rhyming words, opposites, or words that sound like their meanings. The Internet has many fun and free spelling activities.
- Point out unusual words in the books you read together.
- Show that you care about spelling. Ask: ‘Who knows how to spell …’ Say that you will write it down and take a look at it to see if it looks right.
- Children learn to spell by writing and noticing words when they read. Make reading and writing an integral part of your child’s day.
Above all, talk and communicate as often as possible. Children build their understanding of language from a young age through conversation; it’s important to try to keep discussing the world around them wherever you are.
A couple more tips:
Types of reading to try:
Echo reading: You read – they repeat.
Shared reading: You take turns to read sections.
Neurological Impress Method (NIM): They follow along as you read a few words after you.
Paired reading: You read at the same time.
And there’s a great amount that they can learn from, ‘I don’t know.’ Admitting to your child that you’re not sure is a positive role model for them. Take the opportunity to look up answers together.
Many thanks and please make sure you pop in if you ever need any more tips/ advice,