The 'Growth Mindset' and How You Can Help Your Child
Top Educational Websites and Apps to Use at Home
As requested, here are some lists of the best educational websites and apps that are available right now. You can find the best sites or apps that are suited to your child's needs.
Top Educational Websites
Top Educational Apps
The Oxford Reading Tree (ORT) Reading Programme
To help parents understand and better utilise the ORT reading books and their accompanying comprehension sheets, here are some tips on how to best use them each week and get the most out of the ORT Reading Programme.
1. Before reading the book, show your child the front cover and ask them if they can predict what might happen in the story, and why. This will enhance their inference skills, meaning they are using their comprehension skills even before they begin reading.
2. Children should read the book page by page as they normally would. At each page you can ask questions asking them to say what they see happening before they read, or, you can ask questions such as "Why do you think this happening?", or, "How do you think this character feels, and why?" Using this method will ensure students are actively reading and enhancing their comprehension of what they are reading. You should also look for words that may be new, and ask them if they know what they mean. Often children will be able to read a word, without understanding what it means. Helping them to understand some new or difficult words will allow your child to better understand what they are reading and build on their vocabulary.
3. After reading the book, ask your child questions about the story. Questions could be about the characters, the events, the theme or moral, if any. There are 3 kinds of questions which can enhance your child's understanding of what they have read. Do this each time they read a new book and you will see their comprehension skills improve dramatically with time.
The 3 types of questions are:
* Literal - questions where the answers are written in the text
* Inferential - questions where answers have clues in the text, but are not written explicitly
* Evaluative - questions that go beyond the text and involve a child’s personal opinions
4. Children should read the book 2-3 times each week before returning it to school. Ideally, they should read the book at least twice before attempting to complete the comprehension sheet. The more they read the book, the more they will understand it, and therefore their responses to questions will be more accurate and better formulated. Children should then check their answers by referring back to the book to ensure they have answered with their best possible responses.
5. How do you know if the ORT stage is the right one for your child? It is simpler than you may think. If your child can read each word in their ORT book AND understands what they mean - then that book is too easy and they may be ready for the next level. If there are words on each page that give a child difficulty, either with being able to say it or understanding its meaning - then that book is too hard and they may need to try a level below it. The perfect ORT level for your child will have books that have between 2-5 new or difficult words in them, which will increase as their readers become more challenging. This is the optimum number of new words that they can learn each week, and with each time they read the story, they will be able to add these words to their vocabulary which will enhance their spelling, reading and writing.
6. When answering the questions on their ORT sheets, or any other reading comprehension questioning (particularly during assessments), children should remember the following things:
* Children should do their own work, formulating and writing their own answers using the book to refer to. Only help them if they are stuck and unable to understand a question.
* Never start an answer with 'Because'. Use full-sentence answers by using the question in the answer, then because, followed by their reasons. E.g. Q: Why was Gran upset? A: Gran was upset because...
* Beware of using the correct tense - the tense they should use is dictated by the tense of the question. E.g. Q: Who was the winner at the Science Fair? A: Harry was the winner at the Science Fair.
* Always check answers...then check them again. Use the book to refer back to.
* Don't forget punctuation! Start sentences with capitals, use commas in lists, put full-stops at the end of sentences, and use speech marks when quoting characters' speech.
I hope that this will give you and your child a more structured and valuable reading experience. A lot of these tips don't just apply to their ORT books, but any other book or film as well. These methods will ensure that your child has an active mind rather than a passive one, and will translate into exponentially better results across all learning areas throughout their schooling life.
Maths Resources (Apps & Sites) Which You Can Use At Home
Don't forget that each student has been a Mathletics log-in which they can use at any time to improve their maths skills. Their log-in details are in their communication books. If lost, please see me.
Sheppard software has some good maths-based games on almost every maths topic. You can choose from a variety of different games to sharpen their skills and challenge themselves.
I recently found this resource which can randomly generate times table questions, along with their inverse operations (division). You can play online, either on desktop or laptop, or print out a .pdf version to test your child's skills. Simply select the times table/s you wish to practise (we are currently looking at 3x, 4x, 6x, and 8x in Year 3).
This site is useful for motivating children with interactive maths apps and resources. And it's of course free!