Reading homework - Advice for Parents
Primary 1-3 pupils
During your child's time at school they will develop skills and strategies to develop their reading. These skills will cover:
- Comprehension - can they make sense of the book?
- Accuracy - can they read the words on the page?
- Fluency - can they read with expression using punctuation clues?
- Expand Vocabulary - can they develop an understanding of more complex vocabulary?
These skills can be applied to different genre of text (e.g. fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels, newspapers, magazines, online resources).
What can I do to help my child?
Primary 1 -3 will generally have a book for 1 or 2 weeks. This allows time to develop the strategies and skills as mentioned above. This is where the adult can play a vital role in extending the learning beyond simply reading the book aloud.
Ideas to do this could include:
- Prior Knowledge - Look at the front cover. Ask questions about what the book could be about. Try to encourage your child to think about books they've read like this before (to make connections which help with comprehension). Look at the key words to create questions from the picture on the front cover (e.g. why is Floppy going into the tunnel?Where do you think the magic key take the children?).
- Metalinguistics - This is the key skill set that we use to make sense of words that we encounter. You can help your child by sounding out unknown words with them. You can encourage your child's interest in words by looking for environmental print - this could be words encountered in supermarkets, on tv, train stations etc. This can be developed both with the texts sent home for homework and in any other texts the children have at home or at the library.
- Inference - When we read we make sense of the literal meaning of a story (i.e. what's literally written on the page) but this strategy is encouraging deeper thought and developing the skill of reading between the lines. Although more challenging, there are good ways of developing this skill using discussion with your child. Pictures in books and on the cover of the book are particularly good at allowing you to think about what might be happening or why something is the case. One of the best ways to start a discussion about inference is to ask your child to create questions - e.g. look at the picture in the story and pretend they have to be the teacher by coming up with a question. Example questions could include: What makes Super Worm super? What could a Gruffalo eat?
- Main ideas - This strategy is best developed with discussion around the theme of the story. This is a tricky concept for younger children but you can support your children by asking questions such as what is the message of the story? What do you think you've learned from this story? Gruffalo - The way you think about somebody based on their appearance. Snail and the Whale - No matter who you are you have the power to do something good.
- Summarising - For younger children you can support their ability to summarise by simply asking what the story was about. For older children they could develop note taking with the main points (e.g. beginning, middle, end with supporting detail). This could be done using three boxes to draw a picture to summarise the key events of a story. This could be developed into a picture and a sentence or two.
- Paraphrasing - This is a skill where children take what they've understood from a text and create their own texts from this. In essence, it's putting a story into your own words. Good ways to encourage children to do this could be to write their own short texts, making short comic books about the story or even writing their own stories (e.g. a story with the Gruffalo in a different setting).