How to Support Your Child at Home
Tips for Parents:
Engaging the struggling or reluctant reader
What are some things that you as a parent can do to support your struggling and/or reluctant teenage reader and writer? Here are a few ideas to help you on your way…
On a day-to-day basis
Practice, practice, practice
Writing takes practice! Let your child see you write often and encourage your child to write often, too.
At home writing might include e-mails, instant messaging, thank-you notes, writing a shopping list (get them to help you!), diaries and calendars, what's-for-dinner notes, reminder notes, crosswords and word puzzles.
Try writing for different audiences
Encourage your child to expand their range and abilities by writing for many different audiences. For example, if they have younger siblings they could write a short story for them, or perhaps, do competition entries, writing birthday and Christmas cards, joining a fan club or doing a book review.
Make language fun
Have fun with language yourself and share that sense of enjoyment with your child. Point out new words and phrases you come across in the newspaper or on the radio, share favorite song lyrics. Karaoke can be great fun and is a painless way for those who are reluctant to read to do so without feeling any pressure. You could get creative in naming a new pet or in writing gift cards. You could also play word games together such as Scrabble, word Uno, Boggle and word hangman.
Offer your child many opportunities to read
Offer your child a wide variety of opportunities to read, both educational and entertaining, and pass on your own favorite authors, novels, and magazines to show them you're a reader, too. Discuss the things you've both read.
Encourage your child to examine different styles of (and reasons for) writing
Encourage your child to compare the styles of different authors, and to compare how a newspaper editorial may be different than a website or an instruction manual.
Encourage your child to pursue forms of writing that interest him
If your child has found a form of writing that they enjoy, encourage them to pursue it whether it's poetry, letter writing, writing song lyrics, keeping a diary or writing on the internet. Perhaps it’s doing a report or Power Point presentation or some research on a favorite football team or pop group.
Encourage your child to write about personal thoughts and interests
Encourage your child to use writing to think more deeply about things in their life, questions, problems, difficult assignments, hobbies, and topics they want to learn more about. Writing regularly in a diary may provide a valuable outlet and space for them.
Make sure your child has what they need to write
Support your child by making sure they have adequate materials for writing (sufficient paper, pens, pencils, etc.), as well as a quiet place to work. If your child must write an assignment on a computer and you don't have a computer at home, check computer availability at your public library. In addition, provide them with a dictionary in order to look up meanings and spellings of new vocabulary, and help them learn how to use it.
Take your child to the library
Help your child obtain the resources needed to complete any writing assignments by taking them to the library, especially if they are working on a research report (many students will be facing their entry levels and GSCE exams and will be undertaking research assignments). While some resources may be available online, many will only be available at the library.
Communicate with your child’s teacher
Here at Garratt park, both teachers and the PALS team ( Personalised Additional Language and Literacy Support) are on hand and are only too willing to advise, discuss and help to find ways that you can support your child’s efforts at home.
Reading and Writing does not come easily to many students, but with patience, both the school and your support, you may find that it comes a little more easily to your child than it used to!
Happy reading and writing together!