The English Classroom

A HELPFUL GUIDE FOR PRESERVICE AND GRADUATE TEACHERS

The Situation

A parent asks you how they can improve literacy at home.

The Solution

Provide parents with a small laminated card outlining ways that they can improve literacy at home. Have them printed and ready in your office for any meeting or parent night you might attend. It will show that you are prepared and have already considered that the parent might ask:

Here is a list of things you might like to discuss or consider:

  1. Talk about word meanings and point out interesting or new words when reading together. Find weird and wonderful words that your child may never have heard of. For example, cattywampus or tarradiddle
  2. Practical writing. Encourage your child to write the shopping list and recipes. This will develop their ability practice writing in a practical setting. Read over the writing and correct spelling and punctuation. If any words are wrong, write them onto a fridge whiteboard. You can then randomly test your child on these words.
  3. Children need to mimic your behaviours and observe positive views of reading and learning. This is regarding the use of technology and how often you read. Engage in conversations, offer a literacy-rich environment, and be a strong model for reading. Ask them what they are reading and discuss the books. Have a range of age-appropriate and grade-level reading material around your home. Model good literacy behaviour by reading regularly yourself.
  4. Read for pleasure. Find books that your child will really enjoy. It may be short articles online, magazines or newspapers. Any reading is good and will reinforce a positive view of learning and engaging with language. 
  5. Book to film. Perhaps you have watched a movie recently that was adapted from a book. This is a great opportunity to read the book and discuss whether the adaptation is authentic. For example, Harry Potter or The Hunger Games. 
  6. Graphic novels. Gone are the days when graphic novels were dismissed as comic books. Now recognized as literature, they may be the key to getting some teens hooked on books. They’re available in a wide range of genres — from adventure and fantasy to historical fiction, memoir, and biography.

Here it is presented in a word document (Make sure you divide the page into quarters, or A6 size):

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