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Ways to help at home

How can you support at home?

Speaking and Listening

·      Talk with your child about things you are doing together.

·      Explain new words and phrases and give your child words to use if s/he is struggling with an explanation.

·      Encourage your child to ask questions and listen to the answers.

·      Send your child with ‘messages’ to other members of the family.

·      Learn Nursery Rhymes, songs and short poems together.

·      Play memory games with your child.

·      Encourage your child to engage in Role Play.

·      Ask your child to describe visits s/he has made without you.



One of the most important things you can do to help your child at school is to read with him/her.  Reading to children is important even when they can read themselves. Choose a relaxed time such as bedtime to share a book together.

·       Read with your child; don’t expect to hear them read all the time as this will be happening at various times during the school day – use the ‘shared reading’ technique as described below.

·       Encourage your child to read but don’t force them. Forcing them will be the quickest way to turn children off of reading. If your child is unwilling to read, please speak to your child’s class teacher for advice.

·       Enjoy reading with them as often as you can. About ten minutes per session is recommended, and at least three times each week if possible.

·       Your child will probably want to re-read their favourite books (sometimes over and over again!) This is quite normal and is very supportive for your child.

·       Accept the fact that your child may choose books that you think are too easy for them – this is fine and won’t always happen.

·       If your child is reading to you – allow them to make a few mistakes without correcting them, particularly if they are getting the meaning of the story right.

·       If your child does read a word incorrectly try to ask if the word makes sense rather than saying they are wrong. If your child is stuck on a word, allow them time to think or sound it out; if they are still stuck tell it to them – this will support their learning.

·       A male role model can be great for encouraging boys with their reading; get dad, uncle, older brother or granddad to read too!


Shared Reading

Shared Reading is a supportive way of reading with your child.  It allows you to tackle more challenging books (with you reading most of the text) or to read old favourites (with your child doing most of the reading).

·       Read at a relaxed time when both of you are calm.

·       If you are reading a new book - always read it to your child first; then talk about the book, such as the characters, the setting, the ending and their favourite parts.

·       Next ask your child to join in as you re-read the book.

·       When your child is confident, allow them to take over the reading of the book – but join in if they begin to stumble on any words.

·       When your child starts bringing home a reading book or ‘Read, Write Inc.’ book, they will be able to begin to use their sounds and then blend the sounds to read words. Initially books may be picture based with little or no writing. In this case, use the pictures to tell the story.

·       When your child starts bringing home reading books with words, they will be phonic based and will specifically chosen to match your child’s reading ability.

·       Your child will also have a library book which they will have chosen from the school library. This book will not have been selected by the class teacher and may or may not be at their reading level. This may be a book that you need to read to your child.


Your child will be taught reading strategies at school. They will read alone, in pairs, and in groups as well as with the whole class.  They are encouraged to read ‘real’ books for pleasure from our class reading book boxes alongside the reading scheme books.  Don’t worry if your child brings home the same book more than once – this helps with their confidence.  Make notes and positive comments about your child’s reading experiences at home using their reading record book. 



Writing is a life skill.  Some things that you can do to support your child are:

·       Encourage your child to engage in writing play (making books, playing schools, writing lists, labeling pictures).

·       Always praise your child for any writing that they do, even if it is not ‘real’ writing.

·       Ask your child to read to you what they have written. They will be able to do so, even if they have done pretend or ‘scribble’ writing.

·       It is always best for your child to write for themselves rather than you writing something for them to copy.

·       If you do write for your child, never write all in capital letters. Instead, use small letters (lower case) except for the beginning of a sentence or for the beginning of a name.

·       Encourage your child to write for a purpose: invitations, birthday cards, shopping lists and thank you cards.

·       If your child is worried about spelling encourage them to identify the first sound then break up (segment) the word such as ‘cat’ is c-a-t. Their ‘Read, Write Inc.’ sessions will support their understanding of spelling words. Always encourage them to ‘have a go’.