Reading at home
Make reading fun
Reading at home should be fun and easy – something you both look forward to - a time for laughter and talk.
- Share the reading, take turns or see whether your child wants to read or be read to today
- All children like to be read to, so keep reading to them.
- Visit the library together and help them choose books to share
- Read emails from family aloud
- Play card and board games together.
Here's a tip - talk a lot to your child while you are doing things together. Use the language that works best for you and your child.
Talk about reading
- Talk about pictures in books
- Sing songs, read poems and make up rhymes together – the funnier the better
- Be a role model. Let your child see you enjoying reading and talk about what you are enjoying
- Point out words on signs, shops and labels
- Play word games like "I Spy"
Make it a special time together
Reading is a great chance for you and your child to spend special time together. Make reading:
- quiet and relaxing
- a time to sit close to your child
- 10–15 minutes without interruption, away from the TV
- an enjoyable, interesting and special time
- a time to praise your child for making an effort
Help your child to link stories to their own life. Remind them about what they have done when a similar thing happens in the story.
Writing at home
Make writing fun
- Help your child write an alphabet letter, then go letter hunting in your house or in a book to find that letter
- Let your child see you writing – you can use your first language
- Encourage them to write shopping lists or make birthday cards
- Water and a paintbrush on a dry path and a stick on sand are fun ways to write letters and words.
Give them reasons to write
- Write to each other. Write notes to your child and leave them in interesting places, like their lunch box. Ask them to write a reply
- Help them email, text or write to family or friends
- Work with them to put labels on special things – like the door to their room or their toy box.
Here's a tip - display their work. Put it on the fridge. Be proud of it. Share it with others.
Talk about their writing
- Talk about the letters in your child’s name and where the name comes from.
- Help them create a scrapbook with pictures. Encourage them to write stories under the pictures and talk to you about them.
- Ask them to write about pictures they draw - on paper or on the computer. Or get them to tell you the story and you write it under the picture.
Here's a tip - talk about what your child writes. Be interested. If you don’t understand what your child’s picture or story is about, ask them to tell you about it.
- Have felt pens, pencils, crayons and paper available
- Put magnetic letters on the fridge – ask what words they can make with the letters.
Mathematics at home
Talk together and have fun with numbers and patterns
Help your child to:
- find numbers around your home and neighbourhood – clocks, letterboxes, speed signs
- count forwards and backwards (clocks, fingers and toes, action rhymes, signs)
- make patterns when counting "clap 1, stamp 2, clap 3, stamp 4, clap 5…"
- do sums using objects such as stones or marbles e.g. 2 + 3, 4 +1, 5 + 4
- make up number stories – "you have 2 brothers and 2 sisters. There are 4 of them"
Here's a tip - maths is an important part of everyday life and there are lots of ways you can make it fun for your child.
Use easy, everyday activities
Involve your child in:
- preparing and sharing out food – "two for me and two for you". Ask, "How many for each of us?"
- talking about time – "lunchtime", "storytime", "bedtime"
- using words in everyday play like "under", "over", "between", "around", "behind", "up", "down", "heavy", "light", "round", "circle", "yesterday", "tomorrow". You can get library books with these words and ideas in them too
- asking questions like "How many apples do we need for lunches? What do you think the weather is going to be like today/tomorrow? What are we going to do next?"
Here's a tip - use lots of mathematics words as your child is playing to develop their understanding of early mathematics (eg "over", "under", "first, second, third", "round", "through", "before", "after"). Use the language that works best for you and your child.
For school holidays/weekends
Get together with your child and:
- play with water using different shaped containers and measuring cups in the sink or bath
- bake – talk to your child about the recipe/ingredients using words like "how many?" "how much?" "more". Count how many teaspoons of baking soda are needed, how many cups of flour, how many muffin cases
- play dress-ups and getting dressed, use words like "short", "long", and ask questions like "what goes on first?", "what goes on next?", "does it fit?"
- create a ‘sorting box’ with all sorts of ‘treasure’ – bottle tops, shells, stones, toys, acorns, cardboard shapes, leaves. Ask questions like "how many?", "which is the biggest group?", "which is the smallest?", "how many for each of us?"
- do jigsaw puzzles, play card and board games and build with blocks.
Here's a tip - being positive about mathematics is really important for your child’s learning – even if you didn’t enjoy it or do well at it yourself at school.