Things Parents Can do to Help their Children © Anna Dangerfield

Things Parents Can do to Help
their Children
© Anna Dangerfield
2010 DAI Annual Conference
This presentation is divided into topics
1. Looking at practical areas.
2.Looking at language development.
3. Some reading preparation suggestions.
4. Some spelling ideas.
5. Some tips for organisation.
6. Some tips for writing.
Check Ears
Check the basics
• Has your child a history of ear infections.
• Watch and see if they have more difficulty in
hearing, for example with a cold.
• Have their ears checked again if you can see
any specific times where difficulties are
Check Eyes
• Watch how your child holds his/her head when
reading or writing.
• If they read/write with the face very close to the
• If they hold their material at an odd angle.
• If they jump lines or have tracking difficulty.
• If there is a history of eye problems in the family.
• Have their eyes checked/ visual tracking and
convergence as well as long and short distance.
Coordination Difficulties
If your child is poor at catching a small ball
Had difficulty in learning to ride a bike.
Holds their pencil awkwardly.
Falls over their own feet, consistently
Spills things often.
Eats messily.
Consider their coordination may require
Language Skills
• Our Brains are wired for spoken language.
• However, we need spoken interaction to
develop our language skills.
• Good language skills are essential in
developing our literacy.
• Therefore helping children develop language
is essential as a part of preparation for
How can parents help
• Listening is an essential skill in developing
• How do children become good listeners ?
• By being listened to.
• Are we good listeners ?
• Listening takes time.
• There is a difference between listening and
Listening Techniques
• Ask a question and wait for the answer, even if
that takes time.
• Follow the information with questions that
show you have heard what is said.
• Remember from day to day, what was said
and follow up with other questions.
• Listen for what is not said as well as what is
Using Games to develop word usage
• Play ‘I spy’ type games
• Play the ‘odd one out’ using sound games to
help children listen to sounds in words.
• Play ‘The Minister’s Cat’ to develop
descriptive language.
• Playing memory games to develop both
memory and also language. (I went to the
shop to buy)
Other things that can develop memory
and language
Teach rhymes.
Use story CDs in the car and discuss these.
Use silly songs and have the family sing along.
Have stories that grow when related from one
family member to another.
• Do descriptive chat... e.g. That cloud makes me
think of.....What do you think it looks like ?
• Develop areas of interest and encourage use of
specialist words.
Are children using language fully?
• In families it is essential to ensure that all
children are using language fully.
• Don’t accept a child pointing at a ‘thing’
• Insist they name what they want.
• Use the correct word for things
• Make sure that older children are not filling in
the words for younger ones or meeting their
unspoken demands.
Reading to children
• Read to children from an early age. Discuss
the pictures seen and the content of what is
• This should be a fun time. Don’t use it as a
paired reading time.
• When reading you are teaching a range of
skills; listening, sequencing, vocabulary
extension, cause and effect understanding and
especially a love of books.
Skills that are useful for a skilled
• When reading aloud, encourage the child to
describe how the story seems to them in their
• See if they can make links to previous stories or
• Ask them questions about what they think may
happen next.
• Ask them what they thought about the story and
if it developed the way they thought it would ?
Reading for older children.
• Encourage older children to become
interested in the content.
• Ask questions about the story that encourages
involvement with the story. (Did you like...)
• Ensure that vocabulary is understood.
• Get them to become involved in the plot, so
that they want to read on.
Strategies for reading text
• All paragraphs should have a main sentence,
that gives a lot of the information.
• Other sentences add to that information.
• Have the student highlight the main sentence,
while reading a piece of text and note the
content .
• They should highlight parts of questions too.
This helps when they are having to answer
comprehension questions on pieces of text.
Teaching spellings
• Words do not exist alone, they exist as part of
• Therefore when teaching spellings:
a. Have the student use the word in a range of
b. Have the student write new words in a range
of sentences.
c. Have the student make funny sentences
using the word.
More help for strategies in spelling
• Look up new words, with help to ensure
understanding of meaning. Use a picture
dictionary with younger children.
• Use them in fun sentences.
• Try the words out on other members of the
• Encourage the child to ‘show off’ new words
and again have other children guess the
Word Games to help spelling
1.Use Boggle:
It uses short words.
It is a short game.
Even poor spellers and younger ones can play.
2.Use simple crosswords
The picture crosswords allow the child to use
the visual cue first and then to try to spell the
Teaching families of words
There are words that children confuse
Silent ‘k’ words.
Teach the word ‘knowledge’
Explain the word. Link this word to all the
words that are about ‘knowing’ and make the
link that way.
Group words using meaning
Their, There, They’re
These become confused for children
Teach the word ‘here’
All words of place have ‘here’ in them
Teach ‘ There’ as a word of place and this
removes one word from the confusing words.
Helping the child to organise
• Have a time table and stick to it. (Homework
at set time/ followed by packing school bag
for the next day)
• Set times for each part of the homework
(English 15 minutes, Maths 15 minutes) pre
agreed times and stick to these. This will help
the student to work with more concentration.
Use ‘to do’ lists
• Where there are days with different activities
Put a ‘to do’ list on the fridge e.g.
On Wednesday football - get gear ready
Tick off items when done.
Helping children to write their ideas.
• Get child to develop the habit of writing short
• Get them to use full-stops and commas. Get
them to read the sentences aloud and to hear
where commas and full-stops can go to give
• Have them write sentences about one topic.
Develop a paragraph
• Put the sentences together into groups
• Get the child to label the groups.
(training for the match.
The Day of the match.
Playing the match.
After the match)
Then get the child to see how the sentences written
could fit in.
Use coloured highlighters to identify different topic
Use Mind Maps
• To help older children organise their ideas
• They help a student lay out their ideas using
colours, icons, drawings.
• They show connections between things,
• They can be used to plan