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Supporting Your Child's Learning

Reading

Through a background of sharing experiences and talking and reading widely to your child, you provide the rich language background that is so important to enable a child to gain meaning from print.

Your child will be given a book to read at home as soon as they start school.

These books will come home most week nights. Unless indicated, it will be a book the child has read that day and is to be read to you for your child to have the additional practice to gain confidence. This book should never be difficult (i.e. no more errors than 1:20 words, or 96-100% accuracy).

Sometimes we will indicate that the book is best shared, with you and your child reading together, or sharing the reading if your child is tired.

It is absolutely vital you make time to share a love of books with your child.

Join a library … visit it together frequently.



Most New Entrant children will enter the guided reading programme at the Emergent Stage.

The following is a list of reading skills at the Emergent Level.

Children’s Targets

To handle books confidently.

To use book terminology  (pages, print, lines, author, illustrator).

To be able to demonstrate front, back, and spine of book.

To have correct directional movement: 

- where to start (finding the print)

- reading/pointing sweeping left to right

- using left page before right

- return sweep to a new line

- read/point word by word

To be able to recognise capital/ lower case letters.

To be able to show a letter in a word.

To recognise the difference between letters and words.

To write their own name.

To be able to recognise some heavy duty or high frequency words.

To recognise similarities in words / word beginnings etc.

To use initial letter sound cues e.g. w/went

To say, hear and record most first and last sounds.

To recognise/respond to – full stops, commas, exclamation marks, question marks.

To be able to:

- listen to stories

- retell stories

- predict the story line

- choose reading as a leisure activity

Use picture cues.

To reread the print when it “does not sound right”.

Here are some positive ways in which you could help your child with reading development at this stage …

- Set aside a regular time each night to read to your child and for them to read to you. The bedtime story is the most valuable way to ensure a healthy attitude towards reading. Make this time enjoyable and free from tension.

- Listen to your child as he/she reads to you. Help him/her point to the words.

- Re-read favourite home books, i.e. ‘Cat in the Hat’ - share the reading as your child hears and repeats the language structure.

- Encourage your child to always get his/her mouth ready to form the start of a word e.g. b, bl.

- Encourage your child to gain sense from the story. Resist jumping in and correcting mistakes, but ask questions like:

“Does this make sense?”

“What can you tell me about …?”

Initially your child will use the pictures extensively to seek meaning from the print. Don’t deprive them of the picture cues or expect them to recognise individual words.

Encourage your child to retell a story in his or her own words.

Use book language – title, author, pages, words, letters, illustrations etc.

Make your own experience books … “Our trip on the train” etc.

Have fun and treasure the time together.

After your child has had some book experience we will begin to focus on highlighting some individual words in the script.

The books your child will bring home will have key words repeated in the script:

e.g.              I   am   here   is   the   a   come   went   to   me   mum 

                             dad    look    at    said   up    we    can

Through repetition we hope your child will begin to recognise words in isolation and in varying contexts.

A set of basic sight word cards will be supplied for you to use at home.

Your child will still:

  • be using pictures to predict text
  • finger point..
  • …and will start to, and gain confidence in:
  • focusing on word after word in sequence
  • identifying some words
  • using letter/sound links
  • re-running a sentence to gain meaning
  • becoming aware of capitals and full stops

Please encourage your child to take risks with new print, and to remember that reading is understanding the MEANING of something that has been written.

Reading is not sounding out words/letters.

Please reinforce the following steps when your child comes to an unknown word while reading:

How can you help your children when they don’t know a word?

1.          Ask them to go back to the beginning of the sentence.

            Read it again

            Say the first sound.

2.          If they get stuck again

             Go back to the beginning of the sentence.

             Read it again.

             Say the first sound, then …

             Read on to the end of the sentence.

3.         Now have a try:

           Does it make sense?

           Does it look right?

           Does it sound right?

Please ensure the books are returned to school. Encourage your child to place the book in his or her own folder and to return it to the place specified by the classroom teacher (i.e. group box/desk) every morning.

All new entrant children will build up to have four instructional readers in their reading folder, for you to enjoy over the weekend. Please ensure these are returned on Monday morning.



WRITING

Development in learning to read usually goes hand in hand with learning to write.

Encourage your child to be interested in writing … maybe to help you write a letter or email to someone.

When your child is wanting to write at home please …

 

  • Encourage him/her to ‘have a go’.
  • At school we encourage the children to learn through making attempts, even if some are not completely successful. With help they increase their writing skills and come closer to excellence.

  • Do not spell out words; rather, ask the child to say the word/words slowly and think what letters they may need to represent the dominant sounds they hear, with particular emphasis on initial sound. We want children to be independent writers.

 

Model the correct script when the child has finished recording his/her own ideas.

Use lower case print script (John) not capital letters (JOHN).

Five year olds enter school at different stages in the writing process. Let’s examine these stages further.

  1. Some children entering school do not have any letter knowledge and their 

    first attempt at writing may be what you would see as squiggles.

  1. If the child has some letter knowledge he/she may show that letters are 

    important in writing, but is not relating letters and sounds yet.

 

However, the writer is writing on his/her own, with ownership of the ideas. Pictures are very important, and are to be used as a plan for the writing.

  1. The five year old begins to record some whole words and approximates 

    letters in unknown words.

He/she knows the story can be revisited and read later. Real meaning is being gained from print.

  1. As the child grows in confidence he/she begins to expand his/her ideas and uses several sentences.

Word charts and simple dictionaries are referred to. The child has the joy of recording independently without seeking full correctness as he/she writes.

The emphasis is on recording the experience. When the writing is to be shared with a reader then the writing is corrected and published.



Recognition of the alphabet is heavily emphasised in the initial stages of schooling and it is beneficial if the child does have a background of alphabet knowledge, including recognising the letters on sight, and linking letters and their sounds.

Homework activities will be sent home based on your child’s needs, (alphabet, sight words, spelling)

Initially the new entrant classes have focus letter sounds daily.

Handwriting

The following is the cursive script we are teaching. Upper and lower case letters are taught together. It is crucial that children learn to form letters and numerals from the correct starting point, and using the correct pencil grip.





The correct method of holding a pen or pencil:

Please ensure this is the method your child uses.    



If this grip is not automatic, please purchase a pencil grip to assist the correction of the pencil grip.

Remedial support is given through: Reading Recovery and Support Teacher assistance.

MATHEMATICS

Each year your child will cover the following Mathematics Strands:

- Number & Algebra

- Geometry & Measurement

- Statistics

About 80% of our junior mathematics programme is in the number strand.

There is an emphasis on:

  • knowledge and strategy learning in number, with children expected to articulate the  process used to gain their answers.

  • problem solving

  • application of mathematics in everyday experiences

  • independent discovery

  • developing logic, reasoning and patterning

  • using concrete materials (including fingers!) to explore mathematical ideas.

  • knowing the basic facts

Each strand is divided into 8 levels and your child will move through these levels according to his/her own ability.