Reading at home
Make reading fun
- Have discussions together about books – read the books your child is reading
- Encourage Internet research about topics of interest – notice what they are keen on
- Make your home a reader-friendly home with plenty of books, magazines, newspapers that everyone can read – look for books and magazines at fairs and second-hand shops. Ask your family or whānau if they have any they no longer want
- Share what you think and how you feel about the characters, the story or the opinions in magazines and newspapers you are reading. It is important that your child sees you as a reader and you talk about what you are reading.
Here’s a tip – encourage your child to read every day. Make reading fun and praise your child’s efforts, all the time.
- Reading to your child is one of the most important things you can do, no matter how old they are. You can use your first language
- When you are reading to your child, you can talk about words or ideas in the text that your child might not have come across before
- Children are often interested in new words and what they mean – encourage them to look them up in a dictionary or ask family/whānau about the meaning and origin.
Here’s a tip – keep the magic of listening to a good story alive by reading either made up, retold or read-aloud stories to your child – with lots of excitement through the use of your voice!
Keep them interested
- Help your child identify an author, character or series of books they particularly like and find more in the series or by the author
- Talk about the lyrics of songs or waiata, or the words of poems your child is learning, and see if there are any links to who they are, and where they come from
- Think about subscribing to a magazine on your child’s special interest, eg animals, their iwi, kapa haka or sport, or check out the magazines at the library, or on the Internet
- Go to your local library to choose books together. These might be books your child can read easily by themself. They might be books your child wants to read but are a bit hard – you can help by reading a page to them, then helping them read the next one
- Play card and board games together – the more challenging the better.
Here’s a tip – be a great role model. Let your child see you enjoying reading – whether it’s the newspaper, a magazine, a comic, a cook book or a novel. Read in the language that works best for you.
Writing at home
Make writing fun
- Encourage your child to write about their heroes, tīpuna (ancestors), sports events, hobbies and interests to help keep them interested in what they are writing about
- Play word games and do puzzles together. Games and puzzles such as crosswords, tongue twisters and word puzzles help build your child’s knowledge of words, spelling, thinking and planning skills
- Start a blog about a family interest. Find a topic you’re both interested in and set up your own blog.
Here’s a tip – be a great role model. Show your child that you write for all sorts of reasons. Let them see you enjoying writing. Use your first language – this helps your child’s learning, too.
Write for a reason
Encourage your child to write:
- Suggest your child is responsible for the weekly shopping list, equipment list for weekends away and holidays, task lists for the week
- Encourage your child to write to others – emails, letters, texts, postcards. It will help if some of what your child writes about is for others
- Short stories or a journal – on paper or on a computer – can help them to write about their experiences and their own feelings about things that have happened at school, in their family, on the marae, in the world, at sports events and on TV
- Report on a new baby or pet addition to the family. This might be a slide show, scrapbook, page on the computer
- Make an argument in writing for a special request – trip, event, present etc
- Draw up written contracts for agreed jobs; eg Every day I will…(make my bed, do one lot of dishes, and when I complete the contract I can choose…).
Here’s a tip – keep writing fun and use any excuse you can think of to encourage your child to write about anything, anytime.
Talk about your child’s writing
- Talk about ideas and information they are going to write about. Talk about experiences, diagrams, graphs, photos, treasures and taonga, waiata, pictures, whakapapa and material that your child is planning to use for school work. Discussing the information and main ideas can help their planning for writing and their understanding, too
- Share enjoyment of their writing. Read and talk about the writing that your child does. Give praise for things they have done well and say what you liked and why – this all supports their learning
- Play with words. Thinking of interesting words and discussing new ones can help increase the words your child uses when they write – look words up in the dictionary or on the Internet to find out more about what they mean. Talk to family and whānau members to learn more about the background and the whakapapa (origins) of the words
- Share your own writing with your child – lists, planning for family events, song lyrics or letters and emails. You can help them to see that you too use writing for different purposes.
Here’s a tip – talk about what your child writes. Be interested. Use it as a way of starting conversations. Listen to their opinion, even if you don’t agree with it.
Mathematics at home
Talk together and have fun with numbers and patterns
Help your child:
- count forwards and backwards (starting with numbers like these fractions: ¼ , ½ , ¾ , 1, 1¼ , 1½ then back again)
- talk about large numbers in your environment e.g., computer game scores, distances
- talk about the phases of the moon and link these to the best times for fishing/planting
- talk about the patterns in the night sky – summer and winter. What changes and why?
- talk about graphs and tables that are in your local newspapers.
Here’s a tip – being positive about maths is really important for your child’s learning – even if you didn’t enjoy it or do well at it yourself at school.
Use easy, everyday activities
Involve your child in:
- making dinner at home, at camp or on a marae – look at how many and how much is needed for the people eating (potatoes, bok choy, carrots, sausages). Talk about fractions (half, quarter, fourth) to calculate how much to cook and cooking times
- helping at the supermarket – look for the best buy between different brands of the same item and different sizes of the same item (e.g., toilet paper, cans of spaghetti, bottles of milk)
- looking at the nutrition table on food labels – how much fat, sugar, salt – and deciding on the healthiest choice
- practising times tables – check with your child or their teacher which tables you could help them with.
For wet afternoons/school holidays/weekends
Get together with your child and:
- play card and board games using guessing and checking
- cook – make a pizza, working out who likes what toppings, making and cooking it, and making sure the pizza is shared fairly – make a paper or cardboard container to hold a piece of pizza to take for lunch
- mix a drink for the family – measuring cordial, fruit and water
- make kites or manu aute using a variety of shapes and materials. How high can it go, how long can it fly for?
- make a family/whānau tree or whakapapa – number of cousins, aunts and uncles, grandparents and their relationships to you
- plan out the holidays. Look at each day’s fun time, kai time, TV time, helping time, family time and bedtime
- plan to make bead necklaces and friendship bracelets – calculate the cost of the materials, the length of stringing material
- play outdoor games – frisbee, touch rugby, kilikiti, cricket, soccer, bowls
- do complicated jigsaw puzzles
- go on scavenger hunts – make a map with clues and see who can get there first.
Here’s some tips –
mathematics is an important part of everyday life and there are lots of ways you can make it fun for your child.
The way your child is learning to solve mathematics problems may be different to when you were at school. Get them to show you how they do it and support them in their learning.