Every morning Foundation students complete a two hour Literacy block that covers the three English domains of Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. Foundation students begin to take home readers for reading at home from Week Three, enabling children to become confident with reading and books.
Your child is learning about the world of print -¬‐ that print has a message, and many purposes and forms. You play an important role in helping your child learn about print through reading and writing. Encourage your child to write, even if it is just scribbles. You will see how it changes over time to letters that represent some of the sounds in words.
You were excited when your child first tried to say Mama or Daddy, and you did not expect him or her to say words correctly or in complete sentences. Reading and writing will develop in the similar ways with practice and encouragement.
We ask that students (at any year level) read for a minimum of 15 minutes sustained reading. Here are some general things you can do when you read books to your children or they read to you:
• Point to each word (above the word – not under it) as you read.
• Discuss the name of the author and illustrator and talk about other books by the same author that your child enjoys.
• What do you think is going to happen next? Why?
• What was your favourite part of the book?
• Who was your favourite character in the story? Why did you like that character?
• If you could change the ending of this book, what would it be?
Top Ten Tips for what/how/where to read
1. Encourage your son/daughter to visit the local library van (Jingellic) as often as possible.
2. Recognise and praise your son/daughter’s efforts in reading.
3. Ensure your son/daughter has access to a wide range of reading material – newspapers, magazines, guides etc.
4. Take an interest in different authors.
5. Discuss ideas and points of view proposed by newspaper articles etc.
6. Provide a well-lit study /reading area.
7. Ensure that you value and enjoy reading yourself.
8. Allow your son/daughter to choose his /her own reading material.
9. Encourage your son/daughter to read for information – timetables / weather forecasts / menus
10. Encourage your son/daughter to try and guess unknown words.
Every child at Walwa Primary School has a log on and password to Reading Eggs or Reading Eggspress (also attached to this letter). This is a great resource – covering comprehension, grammar, spelling and students have access to hundreds of levelled books to improve their reading skills. We pay a significant subscription and their passwords etc are in the front of their diaries. Please feel free to utilize this program at home.
Early on, you may wonder why your child brings home writing with misspelled words. During writing time, we ask our students to “spell as best they can,” rather than waiting for someone to tell them how to spell a word. This frees them to write about anything that interests them, but also requires them to think about the sounds in the word and to think about the letters they need to represent those sounds. Hearing all the sounds is difficult, so at first they may only represent one or two sounds, spelling love as L u and V.
“Spelling the best you can” requires children to use the phonics knowledge and rules they are learning, and over time we expect to see more complete and accurate spelling. During the school year, watch as your child’s spelling includes more letters and sounds – even if it is still not complete.
However, learning to spell takes many years to master because English is a complicated written language. While it is important to accept developmental spelling, we are also constantly working to teach your child the foundations for correct spelling so that, by the time they are in 3rd or 4th grade, they will spell most of the words they need correctly and they will also know strategies for figuring out how to spell the words they don’t know.
We are continuing to use the program ‘Words Their Way’ spelling program that supports developmental teaching of the ‘spelling rules’.
At home, encourage your child to write at home, and if he or she asks you how to spell a word, say “What sounds do you hear?” rather than simply giving the spelling. Offer praise for what they figure out and accept what they were able to do. When children bring home something they have written at school, ask them to read it to you and show them that you are proud of how they are learning to communicate with writing.
Here are some things you can do to encourage writing:
• Email friends or family members.
• Use social networking sites to communicate with family and friends.
• Read a book series together and write 20 word chapter summaries
• Record family events or travel experiences in a journal or on an online blog.
• Write shopping lists
• Reading, selecting and collecting news articles and creating an album about, for example, a sporting team, pet type, or leisure activity.
• Solving crosswords, word puzzles, brainteasers, playing word games and quizzes together.
• Following a map or brochure on an outing, including reading public transport.
Every Monday we will be conducting ‘Cold Writes’ (whole school). Students will then undergo the ‘writing process’ to craft a piece of writing throughout the next week or so. Each semester we ‘publish’ in print form a major piece of writing. Past written pieces include a ‘mystery book’ and a children’s book fully illustrated by our students.