Literacy at Home
Many people assume that providing their children have mastered reading at primary school there is little or no need to worry about their reading once they have reached secondary school. This really is a misconception and we all need to be doing all we can to boost literacy levels both at school and also at home.
Many students have made good progress with reading at primary school but once they reach secondary education they don’t tend to continue reading with the same intensity that they have done before. Very few children read to their parents once they are beyond the age of eleven. Unfortunately, just because a child has made good progress at primary school doesn’t mean that they then continue to make linear progress beyond.
It is of paramount importance that students have a reading age that is commensurate with their chronological reading age. Without this, it is very difficult for them to achieve success at GCSE level. 68% of all student mistakes made in GCSE examinations are as a result of students misunderstanding the questions asked.
Ten Top Tips for Boosting Literacy at Home
- Talk drives literacy – encourage your children to talk at home and try to stretch their vocabulary. Ask them about their day at school and their learning as a starting point for dialogue.
- Let your children see you reading – it is particularly important that boys see adult males reading as it is easy for them to assume that reading is the preserve of women and is not ‘cool’. Take an interest in what your children are reading – if they are enjoying a particular author, book or genre, then read it too and you can share the experience with them.
- Encourage your children to read aloud – reading aloud helps cement literacy skills more than anything else.
- Don’t assume, because your children read fluently, that they actually comprehend all they read. Ask them questions to check their understanding of more challenging vocabulary.
- Whilst it is obviously better for children to read anything rather than nothing, it is particularly important that children read works of fiction. Fiction really extends vocabulary and comprehension – particularly for boys.
- Continue to visit the local library and encourage your children to go with you.
- If electronic devices are the only way your children want to read then do encourage them to use Kindle or similar e-readers.
- It is easy for children to become reliant on IT for writing. Sadly, this does not prepare all students for impending examinations where spelling, punctuation and grammar are of considerable importance. Encourage them to write, at least from time to time, by hand. Thank you letters provide a regular opportunity for most children to put pen to paper.
- Encourage your child to participate in events like ‘the Big Read’ or encourage them to take part in a book club.
- Make sure that your child reads during the summer holiday period. Students often regress in terms of their reading ability during this time which puts them at a disadvantage in accessing the curriculum when they return to school in September.