5 tips to help you become your child’s best teacher

According to a report released this week by the Center for Public Education, parental involvement in a child’s education can boost student achievement.
The study, Back to school: How parent involvement affects student achievement, focuses on setting expectations, helping with homework and engaging educators.

Below are five of our own hints and tips to help you, as a parent, to be your child’s most important – and influential – teacher.

1. Don’t worry that you’re not trained or don’t have enough knowledge. Simply reading together regularly with your children from early on in their development will engender an enthusiasm for reading that will stay with them for a long time after their school days are over. As a parent, you shouldn’t be worried about ‘messing it up’ when you read with your child. Just because you aren’t formally trained doesn’t mean you can’t get involved in helping your child to read.

2. Keep it cosy! We know that kids learn best when they are having fun, so a cosy, family environment will always be far more conducive to the development of your child’s reading skills than the classroom.

3. Ask questions as you read. It’s vital that your child understands what is being read, so be sure to ask simple questions as you go through the pages to check basic reading comprehension. Tailor the questions to the child’s age and ability, but don’t make them too hard. You don’t want to make it seem like an exam!

4. Make sure you have a stack of reading materials around the house. If your kids grow up in a home with a lot of books, magazines and newspapers, and they see you reading, they are far more likely to want to read themselves from a young age. They are also more likely to develop into enthusiastic readers and learners in their later years.

5. Use the local library and bookshop. This one can’t be emphasised enough. Library and bookshop staff are specifically trained to help with child literacy issues, and they can also recommend great titles to try out. Libraries also put on specific events tailored to kids’ reading, so be sure to go along and chat to the librarians.

So don’t feel that you are helpless when it comes to nurturing your child’s reading skills. You really don’t need to have a language or literature degree. Just a vested interest in your child’s development, an open ear, a loving approach and some words of encouragement.

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