Supporting your child’s learning
Children can achieve well at school when their family and friends take an interest in their school and schoolwork. Getting involved in your child’s education, even in the simplest way, shows that you care about their school life. Often, the more supported a child feels at home, the more effectively she or he will learn at school. Whatever your lifestyle, or family situation, it is never too soon (or too late) to start helping a child develop a positive attitude towards learning.
Supporting your child at home with his/her reading is invaluable. It should be an enjoyable experience for all involved, so please give your child lots of praise and encouragement.
The following guidelines should help your child’s reading skill:
- Find a quiet comfortable place to sit together (with the television switched off).
- Look at the cover. Discuss the picture. What does your child think the story will be about?
- Read the title to your child pointing to each word with your finger.
- Read the story to your child.
- Re-read the story (either immediately or at a later time whichever is appropriate) discussing the pictures and pointing to each word so that your child becomes aware of the voice print match (i.e. spoken word = written word).
- Ask your child questions about the story.
- Ask your child to read the story to you. It does not matter if they guess the sentence, use the pictures as clues, or have learnt the sentence off by heart.
- Pick out a single word, can your child find it elsewhere in the book?
- How many words are on a page?
- Does your child know the initial sounds? If so, can they blend the sounds to read a word?
- Write out words on individual pieces of paper and ask your child to match them to the words in the book.
- Play hide and seek. Hide the words around the room – your child has to find and read them.
You do not have to follow every step every time. Reading should be fun.
Provide your child with opportunities to use pencils and pens. Encourage your child to ‘mark make’ and develop good pencil control. Encourage your child to use writing in their play – ‘emergent writing’ (squiggles, lines, shapes and possibly some letters) for example, if they are playing shops get them to write a shopping list.
At meal times ask them to take food orders from the family. If your child is keen to learn how to write their name please help us by teaching them that the first letter of their name is a capital letter and the rest are lower case letters. Please use the letter formations below to help your child learn how to write the lower case letters correctly.
As with reading, try to make maths as much fun as possible – games, puzzles and jigsaws are a great way to start. It’s also important to show how we use maths skills in our everyday lives and to involve your child in this.
Identifying problems and solving them can also help your child develop maths skills. If you see him or her puzzling over something, talk about the problem and try to work out the solution together.
Don’t shy away from maths if you didn’t like it at school. Try to find new ways to enjoy the subject with your child.
Tips for helping your child to enjoy maths:
- Point out the different shapes to be found around your home.
- Take your child shopping and talk about the quantities of anything you buy.
- Let your child handle money and work out how much things cost.
- Look together for numbers on street signs and car registration plates.