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How To Make Your Child 'Literacy Independent'

As we all know, while your child is learning to adjust to studying at home, they may feel the pressure to keep up with the work. Also, they don't have the same support from their teacher, as they only get virtual access to them, which can get a little tedious after a while.

Especially, if your child struggles to maintain their literacy skills in their reading, writing and at the same time, produce a successful piece of writing at home.

But we can still teach our children to be more independent and build up their resilience at home.

As a classroom teacher myself, I have seen first hand, that some students may find it hard to work independently, and would prefer to be 'spoon-fed'.

Which most conventional teaching has unfortunately turned into, due to the pressures that teachers have to perform at a high standard, with sometimes unrealistic expectations.

However, virtual learning can encourage more independence for our children that could eventually make a positive impact on their future.

Here's how we can develop independence in their literacy at home:

Top Tips on Developing Your Child's 'Literacy Independence'

  • Give them time to organise their work in the morning and the night before

One of the reasons why our children might forget to complete certain pieces of work, and feel anxious about it most of the time, is most likely, they haven't had time to prepare themselves in the morning or the night before.

Try to show your child HOW they can organise themselves ahead of schedule, and see when would this be the right time for you and your child to do this.

When you see that your child is getting used to this routine. Slowly wean them off your support, and get them to do it independently.

This includes a general spring clean of equipment, folders, and anything else that needs tidying around their home school area.

  • Take responsibility for their timetable

This is similar to the first point, but we are more talking about their general home learning or school timetable. Do they have their schedule visible and central around their study area? Is it updated? And are they happy with the schedule so far?

Have a conversation with them, and make sure they have some control. Even if your child is being homeschooled temporarily, make sure they have some say with breaks and vocational subjects, that they would like to do after their main school timetable.

  • Create their reading list

Do you have a reading list of books that your child wants to read? Well if you don't, maybe this is the best time to collate a list for your child.

Please click on the link below to access my reading survey, that your child can complete. This will give you results on your child's reading habits, and which books would your child prefer to read.

Reading Survey
Download PDF • 210KB

If they are aware of their favourite genres to read, you can get them to google books based on their favourite genre and create a list of their own.

Soon, they will pick up a book and read without your supervision.

  • Get them to allocate their quiet reading time

Following up on my last point, when they know their favourite genre/s or authors to read, then give them the freedom to add their quiet reading time in their homeschool schedule.

Quiet time encourages some 'still time' where they can reflect and stay calm. With all the activities they have to do in the week, you can treat this as an incentive for working hard on all their main activities

  • Keep track of work and tests

The same with allocating some organisation time in the week, get them a planner and teach them to track their work and progress in tests that they are doing.

You might want to do a sticker chart on their wall, or get them to monitor this in their planner. It would give them peace of mind that they are aware of their skillset. And you can feel more reassured also.

  • Encourage independent thinkers

As a teacher, I am so used to the 'spoon-feeding method', when students struggle to think for themselves and want the teacher to do the work for them.

Please see my lost blog post on the different students I have encountered in my tutoring/teaching career:

Encourage your child to try tasks on their own, and to make the necessary mistakes. If they don't try, then these brain cells will be wasted.

  • Find ways to entertain themselves during downtime

When you have allocated their downtime hours on their timetable. Encourage them to pick things that don't require much support or engagement from you.

Whether it is drawing, painting, or playing their favourite computer game. Allow them to have some time with themselves, so you can also do the same.

If you want them to pick a literacy activity as their way to unplug. Why not get them to read if you have a child that loves reading books. Or write in their journal and do freewriting, so they can talk about how they feel and how their day or week has gone so far.

  • Get them to self assess their work

When it comes to literacy, you need a marking criteria that is easy for you and your child to follow, and for them to use independently.

I tend to use the following for my students when they need to self assess their writing.

Reading - Comprehension/analyse:

CF: Clear focus in the answer and referring back to the question with the use of paragraphs.

E: Adding evidence (quote) from the text to support your answer.

AQ: Analysing the quote.

WT: Mentioning the writing technique that is used in the chosen quote.

E: Explaining your answer in more detail and referring back to the question.

Z: Zoom into a word in the quote and explaining what does it tell the reader.

ER: What effect do all these examples have on the reader?

WM: What is the writer's message?

Writing - Describe/narrate:

AV: Using ambitious vocabulary - words that are not usually used E.g instead of the word excited - use the word 'elated'

AP: Ambitious punctuation - punctuation that is used to create a particular effect or emotion E.g question marks, hyphens, ellipsis

WT: Using a variety of writing techniques E.g alliteration, similes, personification, metaphors, etc.

SO: Using sentence openers E.g Cautiously, suddenly, etc.

S: Using a variety of sentence structures E.g Simple, compound, complex.

SP: Spelling

P: Punctuation

G: Grammar

To access my useful tips on how your child and self assess their writing - please click on the link to access my last blog post:

So, to conclude:

Top Tips on Developing Your Child's 'Literacy Independence'

  • Give them time to organise their work in the morning and the night before.

  • Take responsibility for their timetable.

  • Create their reading list.

  • Get them to allocate their quiet reading time on their timetable.

  • Encourage them to be independent thinkers.

  • Find ways to entertain themselves during downtime.

  • Get them to self assess their work.

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