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Learning tips for parents - your child's learning

Parents often ask what they can do to assist their child's learning. There are a couple of things that greatly influence your child’s success:

  • Routines at home so that they get plenty of sleep by going to bed early.
  • Being read to every night.
  • Listen to them read to you every night, asking questions and chatting about the story.
  • Chat at dinner time about the day with the TV off.
  • Pack a lunch with raw foods – vegetables, fruit, yogurt, bread; limiting treats to one a day.

More things you can do at home as a ‘learning partner’ with your child and us.

You can help your child progress at school by taking some simple steps at home:

  • Take an interest in your child’s schooling and value the importance of attending.
  • Ask ‘what new things did you do at school today?’
  • Read aloud to your child. Reading aloud helps develop the imagination, because it allows listeners to form a picture in their minds. It also helps develop an awareness of the patterns of language.
  • Provide a variety of experiences to stimulate your child’s imagination for example, visit the zoo, park or airport. Spend time together as a family, activities such as shopping, going to the park or working in the garden build children’s awareness and knowledge of the world around them as well as develop language skills.
  • Find opportunities to write with your child. This includes making lists for grocery shopping or things to take on trips and writing letters. These opportunities build children’s awareness of vocabulary and the importance of reading and writing.
  • Sing familiar songs and nursery rhymes together with your child.
  • Show respect for your child’s natural curiosity. Be patient and try to find the time to answer the many questions they ask or make ways to find answers together.
  • Help your child become responsible by encouraging him or her to pass on school notices and newsletters.
  • Reading with your child.

All children, including independent readers, benefit enormously by being read to and sharing time together with a book.

Before reading

  • Talk about the cover, illustration and title.
  • Ask your child if this reminds them of anything else?
  • Ask your child what they can see on the cover?
  • What do they think it is going to be about?

During reading

  • Read aloud to your child with expression and enthusiasm. Model what good readers do and how reading can be fun.
  • Encourage your child to join in with any rhyme or repetition.
  • Ask your child what they think might happen next?
  • Talk about what is happening in the illustrations.

After reading

Ask your child one or two of these or something similar:

  • What was his/her favourite part of the story and/or character and why?
  • Does the story remind him/her of anything else?
  • Is there anything s/he would like to do as a result of their reading?
  • Did anything happen that s/he did not expect?
  • What could have happened differently and why?
  • If your child could be one of the characters, who would they be and why?
  • Did s/he learn anything new from the reading?

What you could read with your child

  • Picture story books.
  • Picture story book versions of new children’s movies.
  • Recipes.
  • Advertisements.
  • Toy catalogues.
  • Maps or timetables.
  • Information books on a topic of interest.
  • Cereal boxes.
  • Cartoons.
  • Junk mail.
  • Re-read favourites.
  • Perhaps read a new text each night and then re-read a well-loved favourite.

The most important thing is that we foster a love of reading very early and that children see reading as a very positive, sharing experience. The focus is on having special time to share books and texts with an adult in a positive and caring way. In sharing texts in a positive and encouraging way, by parents reading aloud, making reading a fun and enjoyable time as a family, you are setting your child up to love reading for life. The most important thing is for you to model that reading is fun and it is positive and enjoyable.