Focus on Language

“10 Tips to Help Your Child with READING – Tips for Grades 4 to 6

  1. Keep reading with your child. Kids are never too old to be read to–or let your kids read to you. Read a variety of material – magazines, newspapers, books, poems and comic books. Try cutting out or printing interesting or funny articles to share with them.
  2. Public libraries today are worlds to explore so try and go regularly. Your library has great resources – books, computer games, DVDs, CDs, magazines, newspapers and Internet access. There are also terrific in-house programs such as reading circles for little ones and homework clubs for older children. If you have access to a public library, talk to the librarian about what is available.
  3. Read some of the same books as your child. There are many books that are loved by people of all ages.  Ask your librarian or child’s teacher for suggestions. You can share your thoughts and ideas, and have great conversations about the characters, stories or topics.
  4. Ask your children what they’re reading. Ask what it’s about and what is most enjoyable about the book. Ask your child to describe it to you.
  5. Tap into interests and hobbies. Kids are more likely to read about what they find really interesting, like sports or crafts.
  6. Find books that relate to TV shows. Let’s face it, TV and video games are part of life now and our kids benefit when we help them learn how to think about these messages too. We also know that some kids find TV and video games fascinating. You can use this to your advantage–introduce them to books or magazines that relate to their favourite shows, movies or games.
  7. Encourage your older kids to read to younger kids. The older child will practice reading out loud and the younger child will enjoy being read to. Best of all, they get to enjoy spending time together.
  8. Play games together. Trivia games and board games such as Junior Trivial Pursuit® or Junior Scrabble® can be a fun way to learn about words and reading. Children have such a good time playing they don’t realize they are learning.
  9. Computers can be reading zones too! Though we all feel that kids may spend too much time on the computer, there are some great games that help kids with reading and allow them to create their own stories and books. Look for “parent approved” on the box in stores and in the library.
  10. Give praise.  The best motivation comes from your positive feedback. Whenever your child finishes a reading or writing assignment, ask about what was read and praise your child’s effort.

**Don’t worry if it’s a comic book, magazine or an illustrated novel, just remember all reading is good and tastes will change as they get older. When you go to the library, let them choose their own books.

10 Tips to Help Your Child with WRITING – Tips for Grades 4 to 6

  1. Read from a variety of sources. Reading and writing are linked – success in one supports success in the other. Read stories, articles, ads, instructions, etc. to your child and then talk about what you have read.
  2. Be a writing role model. Let your child see you writing when possible – letters, work assignments, letters to the editor, email. Help your child to understand about writing for different purposes like short stories, poems, letters, etc. Make sure they see all different types of materials such as books, magazines, newspapers, comic books and illustrated novels.
  3. Get children to write on their own. Capturing the day’s events on paper or creating a story or poem is a great way for children to develop their own writing style. Let them write about their interests – it doesn’t matter what the subject is.
  4. Encourage your child to write down ideas. A journal or diary is a simple way for kids to keep track of their thoughts or feelings. They can write about things that happened at school, on TV, news stories, pictures, sports, and activities. Journals can be purchased at the dollar store in a variety of sizes with different covers. Or for a special occasion, get one with a lock for private thoughts.
  5. Keep writing sessions short. When your child has a writing assignment, help to schedule brief periods of writing rather than trying to write it in one go. Help create an outline before putting pen to paper.
  6. Cyberspace writing. Encourage your children to write emails to or instant-message with family and friends. If they have their own email address, write emails to each other.
  7. Computers can be a writer’s best friend. Though we all feel that kids may spend too much time on the computer, there are some great games that help kids develop their writing skills by allowing them to create their own stories and books. Look for “parent approved” on the packaging in stores and in the library.
  8. Encourage your child to talk it out. Writing mistakes can often be easily caught by reading stories out loud.
  9. Listen and talk to your children. Help your child talk about what, where, when, how and why as they are preparing to write about something. If your child seems stuck, ask what the problem is and talk about it.
  10. Play games and do puzzles with your child. Games such as Junior Scrabble®, word finders or crossword puzzles that involve creating and using words are a great way to develop word vocabulary. Keep a dictionary handy.”


Tips and Tools for Parents by the Ontario Ministry of Education

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