How can I be supported at home?

Students who need help in school also benefit massively from further support at home. Our Learning Support Team do run parent support evenings with advice and guidance on how you can support your child at home and information about strategies we use to support in school.

Many young children struggle with reading because they are introduced to books which are too hard for them. Every child develops at their own speed so try to be patient, looking for stories which give yours just the right level of challenge.

Why not try:

  • Encouraging your child to choose a book they want to read – books with pictures are often the best to help them gain confidence.
  • Asking your child’s teacher about the types and level of book that will best suit their level of reading.
  • Reading harder books to them if they want to hear more complex stories, but letting them read the easy bits.
  • Reading their favourite book again and again with them. Repetition helps your son or daughter learn new words.

As your child begins to grow in confidence in reading they’re still bound to make mistakes. Get into the habit of praising them for all the words they get right – not just focussing on the ones they are struggling with. At the same time, try to recognise any patterns in the ones they do get wrong and think about the best way to correct mistakes.

Why not try:

  • Praising them for the words they get right - it really works wonders!
  • Looking out for things which will motivate your child to read – instructions on how to enter a competition, make a model or scanning a TV listing to discover when a favourite show is on.
  • Making a mental note of any words that your child repeatedly struggles with and spending a few minutes at the start of every reading time trying them out.

Talking about what you’ve just read together helps children think about what they’ve read, boosts their imagination and grows their confidence. It’s also a good way to pick up on new words and check that they understand what they’ve read.

Why not try:

  • Getting your child to think of questions they can ask you to test if you’ve been listening!
  • Asking how they think a particular character in a story might be feeling (you can look at the faces in pictures to help them get started).
  • Asking them to tell you what they would do if they were in the story, or what they think is going to happen next. These questions encourage your child to say more than ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

Be as helpful as you can in helping children write. Talk through their ideas with them; help them discover what they want to say. When they ask for help with spelling, punctuation, and usage, supply that help. Your most effective role is not as a critic but as a helper. Rejoice in effort, delight in ideas, and resist the temptation to be critical.

Provide a suitable place for children to write. A quiet corner is best, the child's own place, if possible. If not, any flat surface with elbow room, a comfortable chair, and a good light will do.

Praise the child's efforts at writing. Forget what happened to you in school and resist the tendency to focus on errors of spelling, punctuation, and other mechanical aspects of writing. Emphasize the child's successes. For every error the child makes, there are dozens of things he or she has done well.

Be alert to occasions when the child can be involved in writing, for example, helping with grocery lists, adding notes at the end of parents' letters, sending holiday and birthday cards, taking down telephone messages, writing notes to friends, helping plan trips by writing for information, drafting notes to school for parental signature, writing notes to letter carriers and other service persons, and preparing invitations to family get-togethers.

Be primarily interested in the content, not the mechanics of expression. It's easy for many adults to spot misspellings, faulty word usage, and shaky punctuation. Perfection in these areas escapes most adults, so don't demand it of children. Sometimes teachers -- for the same reason -- will mark only a few mechanical errors, leaving others for another time. What matters most in writing is words, sentences, and ideas. Perfection in mechanics develops slowly.