Reading and comprehension are important skills for primary school students.
To help your child become a more effective reader try some of these strategies.
- Predicting – use information from the text, images or your own experience to try and predict what might happen next, how characters might react or what the outcome will be.
- Questioning – ask and answer questions about the text to help children understand the meaning of the text.
- Monitoring – if something doesn’t make sense as you read it, stop, reread and think or discuss what you’ve read to understand the meaning.
- Visualising – it can help to paint a picture in our head of things being described or explained in a text – it helps bring the text to life.
- Making connections – compare what you are reading to:
- something in your own life
- another text you have read or watched
- something happening in the world.
- Summarising – notice the most important things in the text and use your own words to describe what you have read.
All writing has a purpose. Make sure your child is thinking about who they are writing for and why. For example, there’s a difference between writing a letter to a family member when on a holiday compared to writing a tourism brochure or story set in the same location.
Read your child’s writing or get them to read it to you. Praise them for having a go at writing words that are new to them.
Encourage writing at home by:
- asking your child to keep a record of special events such as a diary or blog
- having your child label photos or pictures with captions
- spending time creating notes, letters and stories.
Helping with spelling
Spelling is closely linked to writing and reading. At school, students learn the importance of accurate spelling. When your child asks how to spell a word, always encourage them to have a go first, then discuss their effort and make sure you have a dictionary for checking. If using an online dictionary make sure it is an Australian dictionary, not American. The same goes for spellcheck on the computer – check the language is set as Australian English.
Look, say, cover, write, check
The following approach can help when a student practices their spelling.
- Look carefully at the word.
- Say the word.
- Cover the word.
- Write the word from memory.
- Uncover and check the spelling against the correct word.
For information sheets, posters and checklists to help with English skills, visit the department’s English help pages.
See English A to Z for a comprehensive glossary of terms used in English studies.