Reading at home
Read and talk together
- Get your child to tell you about what they are reading. Who is their favourite character and why? Is there anyone like that in your family? What do they think is going to happen? What have they learnt from their reading? Does it remind them of any of their own experiences?
- Help your child with any words they don’t understand – look them up together in the dictionary if you need to
- Read recipes, instructions, manuals, maps, diagrams, signs and emails. It will help your child to understand that words can be organised in different ways on a page, depending on what it’s for
- Read junk mail – your child could compare costs, make their own ‘advertisements’ by cutting up junk mail or come up with clever sentences for a product they like.
Here's a tip - talk a lot to your child while you are doing things together.
Read with others
- If your child has chosen something to read that is too hard at the moment, take turns and read it together
- Reading to younger brothers or sisters or grandparents will give your child an opportunity to practise reading out loud
- Encourage other family members to read to and with your child
- Playing board games and card games is important, too
- Choose games that everyone wants to play – make them challenging, not too easy.
Here's some tips -
Keep the magic of listening to a good story alive by reading either made up, retold or read-aloud stories to your child – with lots of excitement through the use of your voice!
When they are reading, the most common difficulty your child is likely to have is working out the meaning of new words, phrases and expressions. To do this your child will use their knowledge of words and word patterns (eg prefixes, suffixes and root words) to help build meaning. You may need to remind your child to read back and forward for clues to help their understanding of what they are reading. Talk with your child about the meaning.
Take your child to the library
- Help your child to choose a variety of books they want to read
- Help them look for books about topics they’re learning about at school
- Get your child to choose a book that you can read to them (listening to you read helps them with their reading)
- Encourage your child to retell favourite stories or parts of stories in their own words.
Here's a tip - help your child link stories to their own life. Remind them about what they have done when a similar thing happens in the story.
Writing at home
Write for fun
- Writing about their heroes, sports events,hobbies and interests helps your child to stay interested in what they are writing about
- Help your child to leave messages in sand on the beach, send a message in a bottle, do code crackers, word puzzles, crosswords, word finds – these are all fun to do together
- Make up a story or think of a legend and act it out with costumes and music. Write down the names of the characters
- If you or someone in your family has a computer, encourage your child to use it to write, email and publish or print for pleasure (emails, birthday cards, poems, jokes, letters, pictures with captions). Or you could use a computer at the library.
Here's a tip - keep writing fun and use any excuse you can think of to encourage your child to write about anything, any time.
Talk about your child's writing
- Get your child to talk about their writing and share it
- Cut out words and letters to make stories, codes, poems, puzzles and more…
- Play word games together
- Play with words. Thinking of interesting words and discussing new ones can help increase the words your child uses when they write – look words up in the dictionary or on the Internet or talk with family to find out more about where the words come from.
Here's a tip - talk about what your child writes. Be interested. If you don’t understand what their story is about, ask them to tell you more about it. Use questions they will want to answer.
Write for a reason
- Get your child to help write the shopping list, invitation lists for family events, thank-you cards when someone does something nice
- Postcards are a good size for a sentence or two and they are cheap to post, too. Have a special place to keep your child’s writing at home (notice board, fridge, folder). You might frame a piece of writing and hang it up, too.
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. Write to them sometimes, too.
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 – phone numbers, clocks, letterboxes, road signs, signs showing distance
- count forwards and backwards
- make patterns when counting – forwards and backwards, starting with different numbers
- explore patterns through drumming, clapping, stamping, dancing find out the ages and birth dates of family and see patterns in the numbers in their times tables.
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:
- making lunch or a meal for a party – make sandwiches in different shapes. Can they cut their sandwich in half? Can they cut the other sandwich in half a different way?
- helping at the supermarket – choose items to weigh – how many apples/bananas weigh a kilo? Look for the best buy between different makes of the same items (eg blocks of cheese) – check on the amount of sugar or salt per serving
- telling the time – o’clock, ½ , ¼ past
- deciding how much money you will need to put into the parking meter and what time you will need to be back before the meter expires
- thinking about how many telephone numbers they can remember – talk about what they do to help them remember the series of numbers
- reading together – help them look for numbers and mathematics ideas
- looking for shapes and numbers in newspapers, magazines, junk mail, art (like carvings and sculpture).
Here's a tip - mathematics is an important part of everyday life and there are lots of ways you can make it fun for your child.
For school holidays/weekends
Get together with your child and:
- play card and board games that use guessing and checking
- look at junk mail – which is the best value? Ask your child what they would buy if they had £10/£100/£1,000 to spend
- do complicated jigsaw puzzles
- cook or bake – use measuring cups, spoons (½ and ¼ teaspoon) and scales
- collect boxes – undo and see if you can make them up again or make it into something else
- play mathematics "I Spy" – something that is ½ a km away, something that has 5 parts hide something from each other and draw a map or hide several clues – can you follow the map or the clues and find it?
- do skipping ropes/elastics – how long will it take to jump 20 times?
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.