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Going Back To School After The Holidays

Going Back To School After The Holidays

Even as we finish opening the last Christmas gifts and packing away the goodies from the New Year sale, the catalogues start to remind us that holidays are over and it is time to think of returning to school. This can be a reason for mourning how fast time flies - or it can be a timely reminder to gently ease ourselves back into the routine so that school is a pleasure and not a nasty shock to the system.

With this in mind, I have put together some hints to help you make the transition into the new school year.

Handy Hint One:
Use It or Lose It:
As a primary school teacher I noticed that many children would test at below the reading age they had on their previous year's records when they entered my class at the beginning of the year. This was because they hadn't gone near a book, let alone a pencil, in the last six to eight weeks. They hadn't used it and they had lost it! Now please don't go out and tell your child they will be on an intensive reading program for the next few weeks! "Using it" can be as simple as reading together at night or having a quiet time after lunch where everyone has a reading siesta. Some people have a rule that children cannot get out of bed before a certain time in the morning but they can read in bed.

Handy Hint Two:
Reading is part of Life:
You have a unique ability to show your child reading and writing in everyday life. This is important so that they see that reading will help them get where they need to go, and help them get what they want.
For an older child this might mean searching the internet and reading charts to find out which bus/train is the best one to get to their friends house. For a younger child that might mean reading the television listings to choose which program they want to watch in their allotted TV time.

Handy Hint Three:
Turn off the TV/computer/X Box:
Even if your child isn't reading when they are not watching TV or using the computer, chances are they are doing something that will benefit their reading/writing skills more than those activities! Gross motor activities such as ball games, skipping, hopscotch, swinging on the monkey bars are all encouraging coordination which is important to reading and writing. Fine motor skills, part of writing and reading also, are being developed with beads, sewing, Lego, daisy chain..This is especially important for children who have learning difficulties such as dyslexia and ADHD.

Handy Hint Four:
Whatever you do choose to do make it fun! Home is not school. Remember that running, kicking balls, digging sandcastles are all as much part of learning to read and write as sitting with a book. It is developing those fine and gross motor skills we were talking about. Why not get your child to research money-making schemes. The researching for an idea, making signs, thinking of what to say and how to organise themselves are all great reading /writing opportunities - and money is a great motivator!

Handy Hint Five:
This is a good time to shop for tutors
If your child needs extra help with reading and writing, this is a good time for you to shop around for tutors. At this time of year they should have plenty of time to listen to you, answer your questions and give you a good idea of what help they could offer to your child. It also means you have time to make a considered decision. An expert will set aside time to talk to you face to face. They will listen to options you have explored so far, and they will chat to your child and assess them. Once they have done this, they will make recommendations that are shaped to fit your child. If there are areas they are not expert in, they will recommend professionals who are.

So, to summarise:

  • Make reading part of the daily routine

  • Surgically remove them from the computer/TV /X box if needs be

  • Reading and writing should be fun

  • Kicking a soccer ball, swinging, monkey bars and daisy chains are all part of learning to read

  • Get the best out of your potential tutor by talking and interviewing them now
  • So what are you waiting for? Take them for a walk to the park with their bikes and when you get back read a book together – watch out, you might even enjoy it!


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