Is your child going a little stir crazy cooped up in the house during the Covid-19 lockdown?
We all are a little bit, but it’s even harder to keep children motivated and focused without a school playground to let loose in or friends to talk to. But should you give up on helping them learn and let them do what they want? No, the answer is out there. And it’s probably on your bookshelf.
“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.” Jacqueline Kennedy
Books offer worlds of difference, worlds of adventure and can even help us feel less alone. Here are some ways you can help educate your child through reading at home.
- Focus on the core subjects
If teaching isn’t your day job, don’t stress – there’s no need to try and cram in the entire school curriculum. Professional teachers recommended that you set realistic goals and focus on the core subjects of Maths and English.
The Book Trust recently launched their #UnitedByBooks social campaign which could give you some help. The idea is that the authors, illustrators and leading children’s reading organisations involved use this hashtag to offer tips, activities and more to support reading at home.
- Keep it structured
Teachers spend hours making lesson plans and organising work, but in these difficult times, a little structure will go a long way. Why not set aside 30 minutes of reading time a day after lunch? Or start choosing some bedtime stories to read?
The key is to not make it seem like a lesson or a task. Keep it fun and pressure-free. If your child isn’t having a good time, choose books on subject they enjoy. And if they’re having trouble reading, sit with them, read with them and help develop their skills.
- Choose the right book
The right books aren’t always about the subject though. If you’re thinking of purchasing some new stories to keep your kids reading at home, you should consider their Key Stage and reading level too. Some retailers offer really useful teacher packs and special book band collections, for this exact purpose.
- Explore fact and fiction
We all love a good novel or storybook, but don’t be afraid to mix it up and introduce some other genres.
“All pupils must be encouraged to read widely across both fiction and non-fiction to develop their knowledge of themselves and the world they live in, to establish an appreciation and love of reading, and to gain knowledge across the curriculum.”
See, even the Department of Education agrees. So why not do some baking together and have your child read the recipe as a cooking class? Or put on a show and do some stand up using a joke book to improve their confidence and drama skills? There are loads of ways you can mash up reading at home with other parts of the school curriculum.
- Create a cosy nook for great books
If you’re going for quiet reading time to help your child escape into their magical storybook world, help them get in the zone by creating a comfy reading space. Whether they’re reading on their own snuggled up in bed, or you’re squished together on the sofa – make it comfy and they’ll read the hours away while you watch their literacy improve.
- Lead by example
Ever heard the phrase, ‘The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree’? That’s certainly true with reading and literacy. Research showsthat having lots of books and reading at home promotes enjoyment and confidence. So why not whip out a book and read alongside your child in the cosy nook? You’ll set a great example, and (as an added benefit) reading in groups has been shown to increase relaxation, confidence and self-esteem too.
The fact is, these are unprecedented times and no one is expecting you to drop everything and become a full-time teacher for your child. Just do what you can. And remember you’re not alone. There’s a whole host of people and organisations offering resources and activities for kids to do, and if all else fails, every book is a new lesson waiting to be learnt.
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