Reading at home
Make reading fun
- Have fun singing along to songs or playing board games together
- Read to your child every day.
- Have a pile of reading materials available – library books (non-fiction and fiction), kids’ cookery books, simple timetables, newspapers and magazines, catalogues and any other reading that supports your child’s current interest
- Encourage your child to retell favourite stories or parts of stories in their own words. Play card games (you can make the cards yourself) and board games together.
Make it real
- Reading makes more sense if your child can relate it to their own life. Help them to make connections between what they are reading and their own lives and experiences. For example, "that’s a funny story about a grandad – what does your grandad do that makes you laugh?"
- Look for opportunities for your child to read wherever you are – signs, advertising boards, junk mail, recipes
- Show your child that reading is fun and important to you by letting them see you reading magazines, books, newspapers.
Find out together
- Visit the library often and help your child to choose books about topics that interest them
- Talk with older people in your family about interesting stories and people from your child’s past that you could find out more about together
- Ask your child questions (and support them to find the answers) to widen their reading experiences. For example, "What’s the quickest biscuit recipe?", "What time is the next bus to town?"
- Help your child with any words that they don’t understand – look them up together in the dictionary if you need to.
Writing at home
Writing for fun
- Talk about interesting words with your child, especially ones that are fun to say, like "hippopotamus". Short and simple games could involve finding how many little words can be found using the letters in the word ‘elephant’
- Make up a story or traditional tale and act it out with costumes and music, write down the names of the characters
- Make up a play with your child. You could help your child to write the play down. Use puppets they design and make themselves to give a performance to the family
Here's a tip - keep writing fun and use any excuse to encourage your child to write about anything, any time.
Writing for a reason
- Writing for a real purpose can help your child want to write.For example, writing invitations, typing emails or writing and posting small notes
- Personalising notes by cutting, decorating, sticking or stamping are great skills for coordinating fingers and being creative. Postcards are a good size for a sentence or two and they are cheap to post, too
- Encourage your child to write what they need to pack for a holiday, dictate your shopping list to them, or get them to write a list of jobs that need doing.
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 explain.
Supporting your child's writing
- Talk to your child about what you are writing – let them see you making lists, writing emails, filling in forms
- Keep envelopes, banking slips, forms you don’t need so that your child can do their own ‘grown up’ writing
- Display your child’s writing where others can admire and read it
- Play with words. Find and discuss interesting new words – this can help increase the words your child uses when they write
Here's a tip - be a great role model. Show your child that you write for all sorts of reasons. Let them see you enjoying writing.
Mathematics at home
Talk together and have fun with numbers and patterns
Help your child to:
- find and connect numbers around your home and neighbourhood
- name the number that is 10 more or 10 less than before or after a number up to 100
- try making different types of patterns by drumming, clapping, stamping, dancing or drawing patterns that repeat
- find out the ages of family members
- do addition and subtraction problems in their heads
- use groups of 10 that add to 100 eg 50 + 50, 30 + 70.
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.
Use easy, everyday activities
Involve your child in:
- telling the time – o’clock, ½ past, ¼ to
- learning their times tables
- repeating and remembering telephone numbers they use a lot
- reading and sharing a book. Ask them questions about numbers in the story – use the number of pages as a way to practise number facts, too
- doing a shape and number search when you are reading a book or looking at art (like carvings and sculpture)
- helping at the supermarket – ask your child to get specific items (medium-sized tin of red beans, 2 litres of milk, 250g of mince).
Here's a tip - talk a lot to your child while you are doing things together.
For school holidays/weekends
Get together with your child and:
- play games – board games, card games and do jigsaw puzzles
- make your own advertising pamphlet – cut out and sort images to go on it, make pretend money to spend
- grow seeds or sprouts – measure the growth each week
- fold and cut out paper dolls and other repeating shapes
- trace over repeating patterns
- go on a treasure hunt – make a map with clues and see who can get to the treasure first
- dance to music and sing/clap to favourite songs – make up a dance sequence each – can you copy each other?
- both take turns closing your eyes and describing how to get from the front gate to the kitchen, from the kitchen to their bedroom, from home to school
- do timed activities. You hold the watch and they count how many times they can bounce a ball in a minute
- play guess and check games (use different shaped jars) – how many beans, buttons, pegs in the container?
Here's a tip - the way your child is learning to solve mathematics problems may be different to when you were at school. Get them to show you how they do it and support them in their learning.