Parents and caregivers are essential supports to their child’s success at school and in developing their literacy skills. In fact home-life and culture play a significant part in maximising a child’s opportunities for learning in every area of the curriculum. Fundamentals to learning include the student being at school, willing and open to learning. Where the home values learning, students engage more enthusiastically. A strong culture and family life gives the student opportunities for positive identification of prior knowledge to which to attach new learning. Having lots of different experiences in their everyday life is vital for new learning to make sense.
Literacy- which is reading, writing and speaking -markedly improves where the student sees these being done, and valued, in every area of their life. Below are ways that will help you to support your child to develop his/her literacy skills:
Read; be a role model. Your child will be guided by your attitude to reading.
Take your child to join the library. It is free and there are many great things to read and to do there. Some children do not realise that there is a huge variety of types of texts. Some prefer fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels (comics), magazines, encyclopaedia, poetry, plays, songs, recipe books…….
Every-one is interested in something. Support your child to find out what their interests and passions are. Support them to get literature about this. They will be interested and motivated to read for knowledge and understanding. Reading almost anything, if it is of interest to the child, will improve their reading comprehension (reading age).
Reading in your first language is important. Encourage your child to be bi- or multi-lingual.
Your child may benefit from supporting younger siblings with their homework, for example by listening to their reading and asking questions. This needs to be a positive and supportive experience for both people.
Read together. Plan: meals, trips, holidays. Read recipes. All literacy skills may benefit from activities such as these.
If your child is reading for interest, or if they are reading a novel at, or for, school, read it as well. This will enable you to have great discussions with your child, engaging them and developing their thinking and improving their motivation. You will also be modelling that you value reading and you value their education.
Help your child to gather information that they need for school; don’t do it for them but encourage and support them to be successful. This might include getting them to the library or helping them get access to a computer. Students have access to computers in the library at Taita College, as well as in the Homework Centre. They also have access to computers in a computer lab (D1) during break times.
Talk to your child about what they have been reading on the Internet. What have they learnt? What questions do they still have? Where else could they find information that would be useful?
Read through your child’s homework tasks and questions together and talk about what they are planning to do to finish the homework.
Write; be a role model. Where children can see that you value, and use writing in your own life, they are more likely to see it as important and value it themselves.
Encourage and praise their writing efforts. Give genuine praise-where it is due.
Praise and encourage the use of expressive words; building vocabulary encourages deeper thinking and an ability to explain more succinctly. Words are very powerful weapons when they are valued and used wisely and accurately.
Ensure that your children have paper and pens or pencils to write with. This shows that you value writing and see it as an essential daily skill.
Where students see that there is a direct link to reading and writing, they are more likely to value both. People usually write for an audience: recipes, how to books, encyclopaedia, novels, web-sites, newspapers, bibles, emails, letters, Facebook/ Twitter … Writing is an essential communication tool.
Make communication an effective key to the functioning of your household.
There is a strong etiquette for effective speaking and listening. It is driven by a respect for the opinions of others, whilst also developing the confidence to effectively and appropriately deliver your own. Encourage your child to think and to share their opinion, being confident to express it. At the same time they will need to learn to listen effectively and respectfully to other people.
Praise your child when they “play” with words, practicing new ones. This is the key to building up a strong vocabulary. Enjoy words yourself. Mistakes should be appreciated as opportunities for learning.
“Principal: John Murdoch”