In mid-May over 100 Primary parents attended 2 workshops. We spent the first fifteen minutes of the hour-long session as a group reflecting on what relevant research taught us. It reminded us that learning to read is a very complex task which can be broken down into five key areas:
Phonemic Awareness – A child’s understanding that spoken language consists of individual phonemes (smallest unit of sound) and that these phonemes are the basis or spoken language.
Phonics – Learning and using the relationship between sounds and letter symbols to decode (sound out) written words.
Fluency – This includes word accuracy, appropriate expression, identification of punctuation, an ability to comprehend as well as read at a steady pace.
Vocabulary – In relation to vocabulary it was important to note that a year 6 student who reads for 20 minutes each day is exposed to approximately 1.8 million words in a year. Imagine the impact that has on their thinking.
Comprehension – An ability to make meaning and understand
We then subdivided the main group into four smaller groups who took parents through a rotational workshop experience. During these four sessions we looked at:
- How to support your child with choosing appropriate content to read. Click here to open the brochure distributed to parents.
- The process of teaching a child how to develop better comprehension skills.
- The processes used at AISHK to extend and enhance comprehension.
- What you can do at home to help your child with reading, especially if they are finding it challenging.
There were plenty of handy tips passed on to parents in relation to their role in developing their child’s reading. However, the main ideas were:
- To read daily with or to your child, irrespective of their age or ability
- Create a culture where everyone reads, and reading is seen as a valuable activity
- Talk to your child about what they read, irrespective of their age
- Answer the thousands of WHY? Questions your child asks as it increased their vocabulary and helps them make connections with the world.
- Reading isn’t limited to books. Through reading we make meaning of our world and also open ourselves up to other worlds, real and imaginary
At the completion of the workshop, parents were asked to complete and exit card. Below is some of the feedback:
The library session was particularly helpful in identifying how I can help my child choose books.
I was great to hear how it is taught at school as it has been a long time since I was a child.
My child is a struggling reader and I have learnt that it is a marathon, not a sprint or a competition.
We are very fortunate to have knowledgeable staff who break down the process into small and achievable steps.
This Year we have focussed on Mathematics and Reading. The feedback from attendees has been very positive and we will look at more relevant topics throughout the rest of the year.
Cameron Reed | Dean of Studies, Primary