The Support for Learning Department look after the additional support needs of pupils in the wider school.
- Mrs A Humphries, Principal Teacher Support for Learning
- Mrs W Robertson
Supporting Learning at Home
Help your child with literacy
One of the best ways you can help your child to develop skills in literacy and to do well at school is by helping them to enjoy reading for pleasure – whether they like magazines, newspapers, novels or comics. Research shows that children who enjoy reading do better at school, and that parents play a key role in helping to develop this love of reading.
Research findings: reading means achieving
Recent research into the reading skills of 15 year olds across the world found that children who are more interested in reading do better at school than those who don’t read for pleasure. The study also found that parents who talk to their children about books, TV programmes and films help to keep their children interested in reading. Having books, newspapers and magazines around at home also made a difference to how interested children were in reading.
Some ideas to boost reading skills
- Let your child choose what to read, rather than choosing what you think they should read.
- Encourage your child to read magazines, comics, newspapers and the internet as well as books.
- Talk to your child about books or magazines you haven’t enjoyed, as well as things you love.
- Make time to read together if you can – encourage your child to read to you to help develop fluency and expression.
- Buy books, book tokens or magazines as presents or rewards.
- Remember that your child is reading when they are looking at bus timetables, menu, instructions, TV guides and the internet. (Add subtitles to TV programmes!)
- Try some skimming and scanning together. Skimming is when you read through a piece of text quickly to find out what the main idea is; scanning is glancing through a piece of text to find a specific piece of information. You can do this with a newspaper – perhaps ask your child to find something out for you. Why not ask them to scan a newspaper for news about a favourite footballer or to find out the weekend weather, or get them to skim read a recipe to tell you the basic steps?
- Encourage skimming and scanning of textbooks and source materials for a range of subjects.
- Help your child to work out what an unfamiliar word means by getting them to read the rest of the sentence and look for clues.
- Encourage them to look up words they don’t know in a dictionary, internet. Build up the number of words your child knows – their vocabulary. To help them learn these words, you could ask your child to explain to you what they mean.
- If your child has written work to do as home, there are a number of things that you can do to help – some even before they start to write anything down.
- More ideas to boost writing skills
- Before your child starts to write, make sure that they have planned what they want to say, using a mind-map or spider diagram or list of points.
- Talk over possible ideas with them as the pre-writing stage.
- It is important not to become too involved in the writing process – be supportive but let your child be independent.
- Encourage the use of a dictionary and thesaurus to support the development fo vocabulary.
- If your child struggles with handwriting, get them to word Process the piece on the computer and print it off.
- Encourage your child to proof read, checking expression, spelling, punctuation and grammar, and that everything that should have been included in the writing is there.
- Read over the piece when it is finished – point out what your child has done well and one or two areas that they could improve on before they hand the piece in to their teacher.
- Help by testing your child when they have spellings to learn that are listed in their homework diaries.
Lanark Grammar Self Correction Code
You are required to correct your own drafts of your work. This is called Self-Correction. To help you do this, you and your teacher will make use of the following codes. The appropriate code will be put in the margin of your jotter. Try to correct any mistakes made when you write your final draft.
|Code||What it means|
|NP||Take a new paragraph: NP can be put in the margin|
|P||You made a punctuation mistake|
|A word or phrase is missing|
|Gr||You made a grammatical error|
|NS||New sentence needed|
|Cap||A capital letter needed|
|Exp||Your expression is weak – improve|
|Voc||Choose a better word.|
Babies and young children quickly acquire their first language by listening to those around them saying rhymes, singing songs, telling stories and teaching them new words by repetition. As children grow older, they still learn a huge amount about new ideas and concepts, new vocabulary and sentence structures, through listening to others. As a parent, besides talking to your child about a variety of subjects, you can do a number of things to develop their listening skills further.
Encourage them to listen to news programmes, either on the radio or the TV and discuss the content with them afterwards.
Audio books are a way of getting your child to engage with more challenging fiction or non-fiction.
Encourage your child with English listening and viewing homework, which focuses on film, radio, television, theatre, live presentations etc.
From time to time, your child will be asked to deliver presentations in a variety of subjects. It is important that preparation is done for this in advance.
- Help your child prepare by getting them to run through the presentation a few times for you as the audience.
- Encourage them to maintain eye contact, vary tone of voice, use gesture and facial expression, speak at an appropriate pace and loudly and clearly enough.
- Make them feel confident by highlighting what they have done well.
- Give a few pointers on how they might improve the presentation before delivering it to the class or the group.
Encourage your child to visit the tedtalks.com website for some great examples of skilful talk presentations on a range of subjects.
Difficulties with basic literacy
If you notice that your child is struggling with reading (with recognising words or with understanding) or writing (organisation of ideas, illegible handwriting, sentences or spelling), and they are not already receiving additional support at school, please contact your the Principal Teacher of Support for Learning.
There are many technological supports available to help pupils with literacy difficulties.
- Hand held spellcheckers
- Spelling and grammar checks within word processing packages
- Ivona mini reader – there are a range of free text readers available which can be downloaded onto computers, phones and tablets
- Dictaphone apps for tablets and phones which allow pupils to record verbal answers
The following document contains helpful information to support learners with literacy difficulties and/or dyslexia. While not all of the following may be applicable in the current circumstances, there are some useful tips that may support your child:
Supporting and Working with Parents…
HOMEWORK (and working at home) TIPS FOR PARENTS
Homework can be a frustrating and upsetting experience for dyslexic children and their parents on a daily basis. Here are some tips to help make homework a less traumatic experience.
First of all, remember the purpose of homework is for your child to practise something that is already familiar. Don’t allow your child to become frustrated because homework tasks are beyond their skills or take too long. Setting smaller amounts of work and/or allowing extra time will often help.
- Establishing a Routine
Develop a daily homework routine. A written or visual plan put in a prominent place is ideal. It should include a particular place set aside for homework and an agreed plan as to what happens after arrival home from school. It should also be flexible enough to take into account after-school activities. The homework place needs to be as quiet as possible, with a cleared space for work and items required at hand e.g. pens, pencils, rubber, books etc. The kitchen table is suitable if close supervision is required at busy times. Work out the best time for your child to do homework. Keep in mind that your child may be very tired after school – they have had to work harder that other pupils because of their dyslexia. They may need a break before starting homework.
- Getting Started
- Break homework tasks into manageable parts
- Give breaks between different tasks
- Encourage your child to produce quality work rather than rushing to finish everything in one sitting
- Do not arrange for extra homework to help your child catch up – a dyslexic learner can become discouraged when faced with large amounts of work
Go over the homework requirements to ensure your child understands what to do. Read instructions aloud to make sure that the task is fully understood. If necessary, practise the first example or two with them. Help your child to generate ideas for writing tasks and projects before they start writing. If necessary, revise vocabulary that they may need. Sometimes you may need/want to develop a writing plan.
Encourage your child to present their work using personal strengths – for example, pictures could be used if the child is good at art. When necessary and appropriate, arrange with the school to scribe so your child can get ideas on paper more accurately.
- Checking and Monitoring Work
Help your child to learn editing, self-monitoring and checking skills so they can develop more independence in their work as they get older. For example, a simple process like CAPS can be helpful when proof reading work.
C = Capitals
A = Appearance
P = Punctuation
S = Spelling
Encourage your child to use the computer for written work. The use of a spell checker and word processing skills will have been taught in school – the Support for Learning department may have Typing Tutor programs and will help you select one that suits your child for additional practice. There are many writing aids for use on the computer – check with the school what software is used, and find out if you can provide this at home too.
If your dyslexic child is slow to complete work, encourage the use of a timer and see how much work can be completed in five minutes. However, remember that if homework is regularly taking too long or is too difficult, you should discuss this with school staff.
Give your child lots of praise as they complete homework tasks. Be specific about what they have done well.
Help your child develop a comprehensive, written homework plan, include revision of subjects as well as set homework tasks. Monitor time spent on homework and results.
Encourage your child to keep their school notes and work together in folders so they don’t get mixed up, lost or damaged. Organise notes into subjects, and ensure that they are filed regularly. Colour coding of subjects can greatly assist organisation and planning.
If pupils are not writing their homework down accurately, arrange for them to check with someone in the same class at the end of the day. Or contact the Support for Learning department who can liaise with teachers about written homework instructions for more complex tasks.
Check that your child is taking the correct books and equipment to school each day. Develop a visual or written plan if this is an area of difficulty.
- Study Skills
Make sure that your child has effective plans for approaching tasks like essay writing, coursework, study for examinations. Talk to the school’s Support for Learning staff about these.
Build up independent work skills and problem solving strategies for use when the child is “stuck” or not sure of how to go about the homework. For example, get your child to think about several different ways they could complete the task correctly. They can also think about who to ask for help if the strategies tried are unsuccessful.
Revise work with your child before examination. Encourage your child to make notes, underline key words, draw pictures etc. when studying to aid memory.
- Using Technology
Use of a computer to present homework often makes a positive difference to results in secondary school.
Access to subject textbooks, novels etc. on tape or CD can greatly ease literacy requirements and ability to complete home and school work.
The following information is a guide for learners who may have accessed extra support via our Support for Learning team:
- IDL Literacy Info – pupil.
- Education City is a useful resource and many of our pupils have an account for this website, https://ec1.educationcity.com/ if your child has forgotten their log in or you require further support please contact the school.
- For support with reading, the reciprocal reading programme has proven success with creating a fun and accessible approach to reading and discussion about books. Please see the following link for further information: Reciprocal reading guide for parents