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Our Favourite Tips for Helping your Child with Literacy

Tinies Education Special: With kids learning more from a younger age, being able to read and write has never been as important. We look at some great ways you can help your children with everything literacy

 

Reading and writing are integral for everything we do on a day-to-day basis. Helping your child to succeed and learn to love literacy is easier and a lot more fun than you think.

The first things your child will be taught in school is reading and writing. The national curriculum's goal is to ingrain students with a strong understanding of language, both spoken and written. The importance of literature is also emphasised with the hope of instilling a life-long love of reading.

Even at nursery level, many schools are starting to teach the fundamentals of reading. As your kids will be starting from such a young age, we've put together some helpful tips on how to get your little ones loving literacy.

Pre-birth

Reading from and early age

It may feel silly, but even reading to your baby in the womb is a good way to start them off. It will help them get to know you and other important people in your life's voices. Once they are born, just talking to them will help to plant the seeds of understanding. Reading to your baby is relaxing and enjoyable to both of you, and it's a great part of a bedtime routine - even in the early days.

During school

The new National Curriculum

In order to compete in the international arena, the National Curriculum has recently been made more advanced at a lower age level. Children are expected to learn faster and earlier. Don't be surprised to see your reception-aged child coming home with books to read - even if, in the beginning, there are very few or they have no words.

Speak with your child's teacher so that you can develop an understanding of what is going on at school and what you can do to help at home.

"Foniks"

Most schools today are teaching children to read through phonics. Each letter is given the sound it makes, for example, the letter "A" is pronounced "ah" not "ay". Children break down each word into their individual sounds and then blend the sounds to make words. So "dog" would be broken down to the "d" "o" and "g" sounds then strung together to make the word. When they are first learning you will hear your child pronounce each letter before they finally produce the full word.

Keep in mind some words don't follow the phonics rule. These may be given to your child as a list of 'tricky' words. Use these words, even spelling them out, whenever you can. Sometimes pointing out the context of the word in the sentence may help them to decipher the meaning and thus the word itself. You'll see in most cases the child will sound it out phonetically and then say the 'right' word as soon as they figure out what it is.

At home

Love of books

With all the reading assigned as homework, it's important to ensure that your children learn to love reading, not just do it. Fortunately, it's not that difficult as there are so many fun ways to enjoy a book. Make it a cold weekend treat to cuddle under the covers with a cup of hot coco (of course with added marshmallows). Talk about your favourite childhood books and stories and read them to your children. Encourage them to plop down on their bed or a comfy chair with a good book and enter an exciting story - one where dogs do ballet, or dinosaurs talk.

Whatever they are excited about right now, we can guarantee there's a children's book about it.

What you can do:

  • Learn the phonics alphabet with them
  • Sound out and say words when you're out and about
  • There are plenty of fun computer games and apps to help with learning to read
  • While reading to them you can ask them to start sounding out and saying easy words
  • If they are struggling, help them by pointing to the appropriate visuals
  • Don't compare your child's reading level to other kids in their class or even your other children
  • Visit your local library
  • Be sure not to pressure your child
  • The most important thing is to make children enjoy reading, if they are tired or cranky, stop.

More literacy information

We've written a lot about children's books and the importance of being able to read from an early age. For some further ways to make literacy fun for your children, check out the following:

 
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