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 obvious. 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 page. • 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 checking. 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 reading. How can parents help • Listening is an essential skill in developing language. • How do children become good listeners ? • By being listened to. • Are we good listeners ? • Listening takes time. • There is a difference between listening and hearing. 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 said. 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 read. • 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 reader • When reading aloud, encourage the child to describe how the story seems to them in their heads. • See if they can make links to previous stories or events. • 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 sentences. • Therefore when teaching spellings: a. Have the student use the word in a range of sentences. 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 family. • Encourage the child to ‘show off’ new words and again have other children guess the meaning. 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 word. 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 sentences. • 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 meaning. • 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 sentences. 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, visually. • They can be used to plan essays/questions/projects.
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