How to help with primary reading, maths and homework
Helping your child with reading
School Reading Book Colours
Reading with your child is vital. Research shows that it's the single most important thing you can do to help your child's education. It's best to read little and often, so try to put aside some time for it every day.
Think of ways to make reading fun - you want your child to learn how pleasurable books can be. If you're both enjoying talking about the content of a particular page, linger over it for as long as you like.
Books aren't just about reading the words on the page, they can also present new ideas and topics for you and your child to discuss.
Tips for helping your child to enjoy reading:
- Encourage your child to pretend to 'read' a book before he or she can read words.
- Visit the library as often as possible - take out CDs and DVDs as well as books, magazines and comics.
- Schedule a regular time for reading each day - perhaps when you get home from school or just before bed.
- Buy dual-language books if English isn’t your family’s first language - you can talk about books and stories, and develop a love for them, in any language.
- Look for books on topics that you know your child is interested in - maybe dragons, insects, cookery or a certain sport.
- Make sure that children’s books are easily accessible in different rooms around your house.
- As a general guide, most children will remain on the reading scheme until they reach years 3 or 4 when they will be allowed to choose any book they wish from the class or school library.
Helping your child with maths
As with reading, try to make maths as much fun as possible - games, puzzles and jigsaws are a great way to start. It's also important to show how we use maths skills in our everyday lives and to involve your child in this.
Identifying problems and solving them can also help your child develop maths skills. If you see him or her puzzling over something, talk about the problem and try to work out the solution together.
Don't shy away from maths if you didn’t like it at school. Try to find new ways to enjoy the subject with your child.
Tips for helping your child to enjoy maths:
- Point out the different shapes to be found around your home.
- Take your child shopping and talk about the quantities of anything you buy.
- Let your child handle money and work out how much things cost.
- Look together for numbers on street signs and car registration plates.
Tips for good homework habits
- Do find a quiet place at home to use as a homework area. It needs a flat surface, a good light source and the right equipment eg pens, pencils, ruler, scissors, glue.
- Do be aware of modern teaching methods, eg in long division.
- Do plan a homework timetable and agree on when your child will do their homework.
- Do allow your child to have something nutritional to eat before starting on homework.
- Do discuss any homework tasks with your child and how it connects with what they are studying at school.
- Do turn off the TV - but you could have music on if they find it helpful.
- Don't give your child the answer in order to get a task finished. Instead, explain how to look up information or find a word in a dictionary.
- Don't teach your child methods you used at school. It could confuse them.
- Don't let homework become a chore. Keep it fun and make it a special time that you both look forward to.
Always muddling up your verbs and your adverbs? Want to distinguish your adjectives from your pronouns? Then this download could be perfect for you. Just download it, pop it on a notice board and use it as a reference. You're welcome!
This appendix sets out some examples of formal written maths methods for all four operations to illustrate the range of methods that could be taught. Hope it's useful!