Tag Archives: talk

readilearn: What parents can do to prepare their children for school

Parents often approach teachers wanting to know what they should teach their children or how to prepare their children for school—should they teach them the letter names or sounds or how far should they teach them to count?

However, for most teachers, these are not of highest priority.

What teachers value most is an ability to:

  • engage in conversation about experiences and ideas
  • get along with others and make friends
  • identify and organise personal belongings

and to have:

  • an interest in books
  • a curiosity about the world, and
  • a willingness to have a go and try new things.

The best way parents can prepare their children for school is by spending time with them, talking with them, playing games with them, reading stories to them and encouraging their curiosity by providing them with opportunities to question, learn and explore.

It is important for parents to see themselves as their children’s first and most important teachers. When their children start school, it is not time for them to relinquish their responsibility. Instead, it is important for them to work in partnership with teachers to ensure the best chance of success for their children.

Last week I shared an article, originally published in The Conversation, in which Kym Simoncini provided parents with suggestions for developing young children’s interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics.)

This week, I share a letter to parents of children beginning school, congratulating them on their contribution and requesting their ongoing support.

Dear Parents,

Congratulations on teaching your child to speak!

Continue reading: What parents can do to prepare their children for school? – Readilearn

Enhance learning potential – talk and read daily

Reports in the media this week asserted that parents are not making the time to read to their children on a regular basis. They also stated that children are beginning school unable to talk.

So what’s new and why does it matter?

Beckii readingSimilar allegations have been made for decades and it is saddening to see that the situation persists despite the increased volume of good quality children’s books being readily available at affordable prices and the torrent of information available in easily accessible media, including information about the importance of talking with and reading to children.

Children who start school with a love of reading and learning have an enormous advantage over those who don’t.

Robert 2Teachers of children in their first years of schooling are easily able to identify the children who have been talked with and read to in their before school years. These children display a broader general knowledge, a larger vocabulary and fluency with language, a comfortable familiarity with books and an expectation of enjoyment with learning.

Children whose before school years have been bereft of meaningful conversations with adults and lacking in regular and frequent incursions into books, generally present with limited general knowledge, restricted vocabulary, little expectation that books will provide joy and diminished interest in or incentive for learning.

Why then are parents not making the time to talk with and read to their children?

Busy schedules and work commitments make it seem as if there is just not enough time to fit in talking and reading to children every day. But how much time does it take to do that?

Simple changes in routine can open up new avenues for communication without requiring an extra commitment of time.

reading Spot

Here are just two suggestions for easily adding a talk and a book to the daily schedule without requiring any more time.

Sit a child on a stool beside you and chat about the day’s events while preparing the evening meal.

Beckii on stoolThis simple activity requires no further expenditure of time but greatly enhances the child’s communication skills and the parent-child relationship as well. Vocabulary is extended to include words that name and describe foods and the actions that are used in the preparation. Enlisting their help further boosts their sense of self and independence and may encourage a greater willingness to try a wider variety of foods.

The promise of a story at bedtime can help to make the transition from a busy day to a restful night easier and more enjoyable.

Reading magicA short time is all it takes to share the joy of a story.  In her book Reading Magic Mem Fox recommends 10 minutes of reading to children every day. Ten minutes of story time gives far more pleasure to both child and parent than ten minutes fraught with coaxing and struggling. Snuggling up in bed for a special quiet story time with a parent eases the child into relaxation and a slowing down in preparation for sleep.

In addition to strengthening the child-parent bond, a love of books and an enjoyment of language and story is being nurtured; a love that can be maintained throughout one’s life.

Nor and Bec reading

How do you fit talking and reading into your busy schedule?