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How Parents Can Support Literacy Development at Home

Ideas for how parents can support the literacy development of their child from home.

For many parents, the literacy development of their children can be a real concern.  They may also be worried about how they can support the literacy skills of their children at home and feel that they do not have the skills to teach their children how to improve their literacy skills.  However, this is easier than it may initially seem.  Here are some ideas for parents to help them to support their child in their literacy development. 

1)      Read with them.  It may seem obvious but the sooner reading becomes a natural part of a child’s life, the easier they will find it to develop these skills.  For younger children, read to them in the evenings.  As they get older, encourage them to take turns in reading sections or ask them to identify words.  Even looking at the pictures as a guide to what they are reading about will help.

2)      Make reading interesting.  You don’t need to expect children to be able to sit down and read the entire works of Shakespeare.  Any reading material is beneficial, even if this is a magazine about computer games.

3)      Praise, reward and encouragement.  Children love praise.  If they read well, recognise new words or learn to alter their mistakes, then praise them.  Try keeping a reward chart for reading so that they can see some gain from their efforts.

4)       Word searches.  As silly as it may sound, word searches can hold a lot of benefits to developing reading skills.  They teach children to identify spelling patterns in words and identify words amongst other letters.

5)      Visit websites.  There are many fun educational websites available that will help your child to develop their literacy skills.  Try www.bb.co.uk/skillswise.

6)      Use reading in everyday life. There are opportunities in all your daily activities that will support your child in learning without them realising that they are doing so.  Get them cooking in the kitchen with you (children love this), reading road signs whilst out in the car, writing letters to Father Christmas or the Easter Bunny, looking for items in the supermarket or reading the TV guide.

7)      7) Look out for problem areas.  There may be particular letters or groups of letters that your child has problems with.  Find activities that relate to these and do them with your child on a regular basis. 

8)      Liaise with school.  School should be able to offer you advice on the needs of your child and offer you support in helping them at home.  They will also be able to inform you of any particular areas of difficulty that your child is having.  

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