As a parent you can make a major contribution to your children’s learning by regularly spending short amounts of time helping them read and write. Not least because you will help them acquire the habit of reading, writing and learning. If your children can see that these are things you do then they are even more likely to get the habit too.
1) Read to your children and listen to them read. Help them pronounce words and understand what they mean. Young children and even some older ones may have difficulty tracking across the page and may often miss lines (and words within a line). They may also read words that are not there.
2) Ask Questions. Asking questions is a great way to get people talking and thinking. How do you feel? How do you think other people are feeling? What happens after a story ends? How do things work? What would you like? What do you hate? This helps to develop vocabulary and richer descriptions. Other wise we are left with “don’t know, it’s nice, it’s not nice, cool”
3) Write. Writing itself requires practice, starting with strokes loops and other shapes that are the building blocks of letters. Encourage your children to write letters, stories and plays. Encourage the use of more and richer describing words. For example, “The dog ran down the corridor” is less descriptive than “The huge angry dog ran in giant bounds down the ancient cloistered corridor.”
4) Regular short sessions are better than infrequent long ones. For are start they are short!! This leaves more time for fun. Knowledge tends to fade if not used but regular sessions allow you to ensure that what has been learned is reviewed often and so is not forgotten. Once you establish a pattern of regular sessions it becomes part of normal daily life.
5) Practice what you preach. Let it be seen that what you are showing your children is actually part of your daily life. Your children are more likely to copy what you do than to follow an instruction “do what I say – not what I do”. Leading by example is one of the best ways to encourage them to make what they are learning part of their lives.
6) Encourage a sense of interest and wonder about everything and anything. Establish the habit of being curious. To be interesting be interested, in the words of Dale Carnegie. Learning will not be a chore but fun, powered by curiosity. Sadly today many people feel that they are not authorized to question – that is the realm of experts.
7) Leave time to play. Why shouldn’t life be fun? We all have to study and learn but if that can be done effectively in a short period, why not enjoy the rest of the day? You are likely to get much more involvement and enthusiasm when you can show that it is possible to learn this way. Especially when it is appreciated that each session will not last long.