and sharing books with your child is very important to developing their
reading, comprehension, writing and spelling skills. As your child matures and gains independence
in their reading they may not necessarily want to read aloud with you and
consequently the opportunity to share in their reading experience and support
them might become less frequent. The following activities are some of the ways
that you can share both fiction and non fiction books with your child.
•Make a comic strip about the book, depicting the
story line or the facts that they have learnt or found interesting about a
•Create a glossary of specific vocabulary or a
dictionary of words that they were unfamiliar with or would like to use
themselves. Their glossary and
dictionary could be illustrated.
•Act out the important parts of the story or the
key facts. Some children will enjoy
recording themselves and using their IT skills to edit and present their play.
•Make a game board based on the story line or
facts. The game could be based on traditional games such as Snakes and Ladders
or one that they have invented themselves.
•Write a list of the things that they have learnt
and use them to make a quiz or even to write comprehension questions based on
•Write an interview (real or imaginary) with the
author or write to the author with questions about the text or topic. Many books include ways to communicate with
the author through social media.
•Draw and illustrate the time line of events in a
story or the step by step process of a non fiction book.
•Create a poster that summarises and advertises
•Draw their favourite character or subject and
annotate your drawing with adjectives, verbs and phrases.
•Draw, paint or build a setting from your book.
your child to discuss their reading, to make predictions, connections, to ask
questions and evaluate the text, can clarify their thoughts and develop their reading skills.
we learn and the skills we need to make learning effective have been researched
intensively. Learning is not simply being told facts and recalling information;
it is also about developing skills that allow us to apply, analyse, evaluate
and to be creative. The skills listed below are from Bloom's Taxonomy (New
Remembering. To learn we need lots of practise
of recalling and identifying information. Thisdevelops the skills of answering and asking closed questions (yes or no
answers) and developing open questions by using who, what, when, where, why,and how?
Understand. This skill develops the ability to
comprehend, organise and select information.With understanding we are able to ask and answer questions such as; tell
me in your own words what this story is about? What does it mean when...? What
is the main idea?
Apply.Practising remembering and understanding skills develops the ability to
use the facts and principles learnt enabling us to answer what would happen
if....? How would you solve the problem?
Analyse. Developing this skill enables us to
separate facts into separate parts e.g. recognising what is similar or
different, being able to group information and being able to answer “What
kind of person is ...?” questions.
Evaluate. When we evaluate we develop our
opinions and judgements and the ability to discuss.Being able to evaluate leads us to ask
questions such as; which is more important?Which character would you most like to meet? Why?
Create. To be able to create we are using all
the above skills in order to combine ideas to create something new.This could be writing a different ending to a
story; designing a mode of transport; or offering solutions to a problem.
These learning skills take time to develop and
all learners need lots of practise at remembering, understanding and applying
in order to develop the skill to analyse, evaluate and create.The time to reflect on learnings is
essential as is learning in an environment where we can learn from our mistakes.
summer holidays are near and you may be thinking how you can keep your child
entertained and avoid their exclamations of boredom.The acrostic below provides children with
ideas of fun things to do.In addition,
many of the activities have great educational value, enabling your child to
practise key learning skills, for example: maths and reading skills,
creativity, resilience, fine motor co-ordination skills and physical activity.
BUILD, CRAFT, OR COOK.If your child does not have building bricks,
they could recycle empty boxes etc to build anything from castles to dragons.
Baking, sewing, knitting and other crafts are popular at the moment.Fabric, wool, paints, crayons and chalks, as
well as craft kits can be purchased cheaply and you may wish to create a craft
box for your child to use.
OUTSIDE PLAY.Encourage your child to play outside in rain
or shine.Let them play in old clothes
so that they can get dirty using chalks and paints, making mud pies or
gardening, hunting mini-beasts (insects), or treasure hunting.Challenge your child to find things in their
garden that begin with every letter of the alphabet, or a particular sound or
every colour of the rainbow.
READ A BOOK.Many local libraries have workshops and
reading challenges throughout the holidays which your child can participate in.
EXERCISE.Exercise is obviously important; your child may wish to practise
particular skills, for example, keepy-uppies, catch or simply play on their
swings or trampolines.Exercising as a
family is great fun; whether it is participating in a sport, walking the dog,
cycling or just kicking a ball around.
DO SOMETHING FOR OTHERS.Ask your child to complete some household
chores; you may wish to pay them for completing their chores satisfactorily.
Your child may want to sell the cupcakes that they made (obviously they will
need adult supervision) or organise themselves in a sponsored
read to raise money for charity.
ideas could be kept in a BORED jar so that your child is never at lost for
things to do.
Revising for a test can be
daunting.Particularly when faced with
copious notes and the facts don't seem to be sticking. The following tips will
help make any student's revision effective.
Be healthy. Drinking water, eating
healthy snacks and having a good night's rest are all important as is working
in an area that is well lit and enables the student to sit comfortably.
Be prepared. Encourage the student to
sit down to revise prepared with paper, pens and any equipment that they will
need.Mute phones and switch off
Working in intervals with short breaks
in between, e.g.30 to 50 minuteintervals with 10 minute breaks, is the most
effective way to retain information.Many students learn better when they move around. Simply standing up,
provides the brain with an influx of oxygen.
Condense.Turn pages of notes into brief notes
usingkey words.Students can generate mind maps, focus on
keywords, usingcolour and pictures
makes revising more effective.
Timelines.Some subjects, such as history, are ideal for
creating timelines to remember key facts and events.
Flash cards.Briefly write the key points, use colour pens
and pictures. Create mnemonics or use existing ones.For example: BODMASfor the order of operations.
Ask a friend.Students can ask others to test them or
create the own tests and games. Use online resources to help you revise for the
Practise past papers.Students can learn how to pace themselves in
a test. Use the mark schemes to mark and correct their answers, students
develop their understanding of the subject.This is also useful for practising good test taking techniques; e.g, reading
the whole question; followinginstructions; showing their working out; looking at all the choices
before answering; eliminating any answers that they know to be wrong and
checking their answers carefully.(Many
past papers can be downloaded).
When revising or taking the test,
students need to remember to relax and breathe deeply; thinkpositively and to do their best.
“My spelling is wobbly.It’s good spelling but it wobbles, and the
letters get in the wrong places.”Winnie
Your child may have spellings to
learn at home and find themselves feeling like Winnie the Pooh when, despite
practising the spellings, they do not do very well in the spelling “test” or generally
spell the words inaccurately.It may be
possible that your child simply dislikes learning the spellings. These alternative VAK (Visual, Auditory and
Kinaesthetic) activitiesmay be more effective and enjoyable strategies.
1.Use fancy writing to practise the
spellings: for example, bubble writing, typing the words in
different fonts, or use letter stamps to print out the words.
2.Write the words letter by letter to form a pyramid
so that the words grow or disappear.
3.Colour code the spellings, for example:
alternating letters in two colours - spell, highlight a
letter string - spelling
or write the vowels in red and the consonants in blue - spell.
4.Sing, chant or rap the spellings.Try this simple rap – “To the S, to the P to
the E to the double L “or chant – “Give me an S,” etc.
5.Spell the words out aloud with a partner,
alternating turns to say the next letter.
6.Think of words that rhyme with the spellings;
discuss any homophones (words that sound the same but have different meanings
and spellings, for example, road, rode; write, right, etc).
7.Build the word in building bricks, pipe cleaners
or modelling clay.
letter beads, stones with letters chalked on them, sponge letters or stickers
to write the words.
salt or shaving foam in a tray for your child to write the words in.
games.There are many games, activities
and resources that can be purchased, played on the internet, or made at home,
such as word searches, unscramble the letters, find the pair, or treasure hunts
to find the letters to create the word, all of which can support your children
in learning their spelling.
"Save your money and your money will save you" - Jamaican
You can develop your child's understanding of money and finance so
that they are money smart throughout their lives.
Explain to young children how we use money to buy things and how it
can be earned. Let children know that things cost money, sometimes a little and
sometimes a lot, so that when you buy something you have to consider this.
Involving your child with the shopping encourages them to compare prices.Consider bargains and discuss your reasoning
behind the choices you make.If your
child enjoys playing shop, up cycle empty food packets for them to price, sell
and even create special offers.
Explain how banks work and how credit cards are a different way of
spending.At the same time discuss how
banks may offer you a loan for buying very expensive things such as a house and
how you have to pay them interest.Help
them to understand that a taking out a loan has to be a very deliberate and
You may decide to give your child pocket money, which they could
earn through completing chores at home.Help your child research and compare prices on the items that they are
saving for.Another activity could be to
plan a party (real or imaginary) or a day out with a given budget.For this you can research and make informed
The following strategy may also support your child to be money smart
and make good choices with their money:
Don't let your money melt away - SPLIT IT!
Live within your means
Impulse buying is bad
Whilst helping children to understand that money does "make the
world go round" it is also important to develop their responsibility for managing their money sensibly."Do not educate your child to be
rich.Educate him to be happy so when he
grows up he'll know the value of things, not the price." Anon.