Child Wellbeing|Home Schooling|Insights

Reading and writing skills provide the foundation to succeeding in many aspects of life, both academic and personal. For some children, getting lost in the adventure of a book, or putting their imaginative thoughts on paper comes naturally. For others, developing this skill set can be a challenge and require a little extra encouragement. If your child falls into this category, here are some handy strategies from The Golden Circle’s network of qualified teachers to help make reading and writing a more enjoyable activity.

  • Establish a routine

Reading a little bit every day can go a long way, whether it be joining a Book Club after school or storytime before bed. Reading together out loud (silly voices encouraged!) can be a great way to get them involved in the story and characters. It’s also helpful to ask them questions about the character relationships, scenes, and situations.

  • Help your child to find books about things that interest them

Whether it’s animals, transport or space, encourage your children to read books about the topics they love the most. Take them to bookstores and browse the books together to find stories about subjects they really enjoy. Having an initial interest is a good hook for children who are reluctant readers. Not to mention, it’s also a great way to spend quality time together!

  • Encourage your little one to keep a journal

Journaling can be a great way to improve reading and writing skills and process emotions. According to several educational and mental health experts, there are lots of benefits of journaling from a young age – it can boost happiness, calm our minds and give us a space to reflect and share. Encouraging little ones to keep a gratitude journal can be a great way to develop not only build their reading and writing skills, but also help them to learn how to manage big emotions. To learn more, you can read our blog on journaling to manage big emotions.

  • Encourage reading outside of books

Reading can also be done outside of books – there are so many opportunities to read in everyday life! Encourage your children to read the signs or noticeboards when you’re out and about; at the park, at the supermarket, on the road. For some children, this can be more interesting and fun than sitting down to read a book.

  • Set short writing tasks

Help your child to complete short writing tasks, such as helping to write the shopping list, a letter to grandparents or other family members, or three favourite things they’ve learned at school.

  • Feed their imagination

Imagination is the creative engine of writing and storytelling. Encourage your child to tell their own stories, act out characters, and conjure up magical places, or take inspiration from scenes from their favourite books and play along with them.

  • Make a scrapbook

Gather some pictures, colourful materials such as crayons, glitter or stickers and get to work! This is a fun and creative way to encourage children to write about their childhood memories, recent holiday or favourite day trip.

  • Make a dedicated reading and writing space

Dedicate a corner in their bedroom or the living room for reading and writing. Set up a desk, a bookshelf and some writing materials to give your child their own space (physically and figuratively). They can help to decorate and personalise their space, which will give them more independence and freedom to do their reading and writing tasks for school.

Children with SEND, such as dyslexia, may struggle to develop their reading and writing skills and require an alternative approach to support their learning. For example:

  • Encourage critical thinking

Motivate your child to be curious by asking questions. Some good questions to ask about their books could be: ‘what has happened so far?’, ‘what do you think is going to happen

next?’ or ‘if you were that character, would you have done anything differently in that situation?’ This encourages children to process what they’re learning on a deeper level and make connections by voicing their thoughts.

  • Make use of technology

Apps such as Dyslexia Quest, Omoguru or Special Words are fantastic options to support your child’s learning. Interactive apps like these, help to gamify work and make it more enjoyable.

  • Introduce fun reading activities

Bring some excitement into reading and creative writing by recreating scenes (- think a Harry Potter wizard tournament or Percy Jackson underworld!) or dressing in character. Letting them explore creatively can help to bring the fun back into literacy.

Mrs Wordsmith flashcards can also be a useful physical aid in helping children to develop a wide vocabulary.

  • Break the material into bits

The Pomodoro technique (helpful for children with and without dyslexia!) breaks time and material into chunks to make it more manageable. Breaking work time into 20 minute chunks, separated by 10 minute breaks, and putting this on a timer in view, can make all the difference when it comes to tackling homework and revision. At the end of two pomodoros, ask them to catch you up on what they’ve learned, to commit new information to memory.

For more information on how parents can support children with dyslexia, read our blog on the topic here.

The Golden Circle is a leading provider of private tuition and professional home schooling. The network of qualified teachers are experienced and enthusiastic. We successfully prepare students for Common Entrance and 11+ exams, GCSEs and A Levels, and Oxbridge and Ivy League admissions. Lessons are designed to inspire a love of learning and enable all students to reach their academic potential. For more information, please don’t hesitate to get in touch at contactus@goldencircletutors.co.uk.