Reading vital for children

Parents play an important role in supporting their child's learning.

The first year of school is a big learning curve for many five-year-olds, especially if they haven't been involved in any form of early childhood education.

There are the rules, the bells, the timetable, the bigger kids and much more for them to contend with.

There are many ways parents and caregivers can assist in their child's learning during the first year at school through interactive, fun, easy, everyday activities at home and while out and about.

From the start, children should be bringing home books from school to read at home.

They will be part of a colour wheel that begins at magenta and moves through red, yellow and blue to green, getting slightly harder at each colour.

After a year at school, a child should be reading books around the green level.

Children in their second and third years at school will cover the orange to gold levels.

Reading at home should be fun and easy - something you and your children should be keen to share. It provides a great opportunity for laughter and talk.

Take each day as it comes, if a student has had a particularly tiring day they may want to be read to - it's fine to take turns.

Make it a special time together - about 10-15 minutes without interruption and away from the television and computer. It's a perfect time to sit close to a child and a time to praise effort.

When a child is stuck on a word, wait a few seconds and give them a chance to think before you offer help. Ask them to read the sentence again and think about what would make sense. Give them clues - ask 'could it be ... ?' - and give a word that might fit.

The pictures can also help them check they have got the right word. If they can't work out the word, tell them and praise their efforts.

All children like to be read to, so keep reading to them. If you speak a language other than English you should read to your child in your first language.

Join the local library, your child can join as well, and pay a weekly visit to check for new books.

The computer and emails play a big role in many families, so why not take the opportunity to read emails from family aloud.

Playing card and board games together is another fun way to incorporate reading into your week.

Talk regularly to your child while you are doing things together - oral language is important to children learning to read and write.

Sing and make up rhymes together - the funnier the better.

Be a role model and let your child see you enjoy reading and discuss what you are enjoying.

- Hamilton News

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