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How to Support your child at Home -English

09 January 2020
Reflecting after the recent parent-teacher conference day, the most frequently asked question was, “How can I support my child with their progress in English?” The simple answer to this question is: read, read, read. No one can read with profit that which he cannot learn to read with pleasure.”  ——Thomas Hardy When learning any new language, reading is a key part to the process, but research has shown that in order to make excellent progress, pupils need to read for pleasure. Evidence suggests that there is a positive relationship between reading frequency, reading enjoyment and attainment in all subject areas (Clark 2011; Clark and Douglas 2011). Reading exposes pupils to new vocabulary, sentence structures and enables them to learn more about the world around them. At Huili School, one of our main aims is to develop our pupils into life-long learners: reading is one of the key skills which will support their learning journey. There are so many different ways pupils can develop their word recognition and language comprehension skills than just sitting and reading a book. Here are a number of suggestions to support your child in developing their reading skills further while learning to take pleasure in the act.   Picture Books Being able to decode and read texts is only a small part of the reading process. According to the Scarborough Model of Reading (2001) there are eight strands which contribute towards becoming a great reader. Five of them are comprehension skills. Picture books give pupils the opportunity to develop these five skills.If English is not spoken at home, picture books can be used to develop language skills in both languages. It provides an opportunity for pupils to rehearse storytelling and understand different story structures. They encourage the pupils to develop their comprehension skills, inference and prediction; two of the main-core strands underpinning comprehension. At Huili School, we have an array of picture books for the pupils to choose from. One of my favorite illustrators suitable for older children is Shaun Tan. He uses a lot of symbolism in his pictures, which enables the reader to use their imagination and inference to try and put the story together.   Audio Books Listening to stories being read to them exposes children to a wealth of vocabulary and improves speaking and listening skills. It supports pupils’ understanding of the rhythm, expression and pronunciation of the English language. It introduces them to new vocabulary and grammatical structures that they will naturally mimic in their own speech and in turn apply to their writing.In the library resource section of the Huili School website, we have free access for all our parents and pupils to a subscription of thousands of audio books, both fiction and non-fiction.

Scan the QR code for the subscription service free of charge.

  Podcasts There is a great range of good quality podcasts available to children and they will appeal anyone interested in science, geography or history. Podcasts represent a good opportunity for children to listen to real conversation but in a fun and engaging way. "WOW IN THE WORLD" is one I listen to with my own daughter and it always prompts further conversation and discussion about the world we live in. To support your children’s learning in school, why not get them to create their own podcast on the topic they are currently learning about?   Homework Homework, set by the pupils’ teachers, aims to consolidate their learning and extend what is being learned in the classroom. It is important that this is a true reflection of what your child can do. It is an opportunity for the teacher to assess their understanding, therefore it is imperative it is done independently.   Writing for Pleasure A recent and important study in the UK has found that children who write for pleasure are seven times more likely to be writing above the expectation for their age (Literacy Trust, 2016). Often children will only write when instructed to do so as part of a task or school work. To encourage free writing, you could present your child with a journal for them to write freely in, suggest poems, recounts, or stories. When reading their work, try not to make too many grammatical corrections but do be sure to give positive comments on the composition and overall effect that their writing has on you. There are many aspects to supporting your child at home, but the main message is to make it fun and engaging for your child. If your child is invested in the task emotionally, then they are more likely to remain focused and motived.

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