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Reading and Writing

Reading

Primary school teachers recommend reading with children from an early age to improve your child’s reading ability as well as encouraging them to be more interested in reading. Teachers recommend a gradual approach to helping your child read; start by reading the story to them while they sit by you so they can see the words. Then, let them have a go and correct them if they are wrong, once they are confident let them read the book back to you. Books with lots of pictures are often more appealing to children and can encourage them to learn words faster. Try to choose stories which your child can relate to and make them sound as exciting as possible when you read the stories aloud; adopting different voices and varying the volume of noise can help with this. Once your child is happy and confident with their reading, make as much time as possible to listen to them and encourage them constantly.

Writing

Start teaching your child to write as early as possible; let children become familiar with holding pencils and crayons by encouraging them to draw and colour in pictures. Gradually introduce them to proper writing by getting them to copy letters you have written; drawing dots for them to connect can help at this early stage. Encourage good work and gradually increase the difficulty of the exercise; most children want to learn to spell their names first so write it out for them to copy until they are able to write it themselves. Once they are able to, encourage them to write as often as possible; let them put their name on drawings they do or cards that they send to family members or friends for example.

Dyslexia and Learning Difficulties

If your child is having difficulties with reading and writing they may have mild learning difficulties or be suffering with dyslexia. Research suggests that 10% of the population are affected by dyslexia. Common symptoms of dyslexia include a low level of fluency and missing out words when reading, difficulty copying and spelling words and confusion between words indicating directions such as up and down or left and right. If you think your child may be suffering from dyslexia make an appointment to discuss the matter with your child’s teacher, they can arrange an assessment and then any additional help with learning can be organised. There is a great deal of support available for children who struggle with reading and writing; new Government initiatives, such as the ‘No to Failure’ campaign, will raise awareness of dyslexia and extra financial support will be given to schools to ensure dyslexic children have access to specialised teaching staff as well as additional resources and increased emotional support. Several charities also offer help and guidance to children and adults with dyslexia; these include The British Dyslexia Association and Dyslexia Action.

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