Children who read outside class time are five times more likely to read above the expected level for their age. At home, make sure your child has regular reading practice and check they understand what they read. To help your child with reading:
- when you read to your child, make the experience interactive - ask questions about the story, the pictures, and what they think of the characters
- as their reading skills grow, let them turn the tables until they're reading to you
- use dictionaries together for difficult words - a picture dictionary can make exploring language more interesting
- enrol your child at the local library so they can read new books regularly
- find out themes that catch your child's imagination at school - and help follow it up with more reading
- when you come across an unusual or funny-sounding word, help your child find out what it means and write it on the fridge door with magnetic letters
Reading for older children
As your child gets older encourage them to pick up other books around the house to become familiar with adult language. Suggest a reading list, and encourage your child to write what they think about the books they've read.
Writing and spelling
It's easier to get into good handwriting habits early on than to put right poor writing later, when the pressure of schoolwork is greater. The same goes for spelling.
To help your child see writing and spelling skills as fun, important and skills to be proud of:
- write words and sentences for your child to copy
- stress the links between drawing and writing, and make sure your child always signs finished artwork
- encourage your child to be inspired by examples of beautiful handwriting in museums, galleries and books
Older children can develop their writing and social skills together by finding penfriends through school or clubs, or keeping in touch with friends met on holiday.