Kids with LITERACY DIFFICULTIES need to PLAY with Language

Child and box shine light. Call for help and hope. Help me

Kids with literacy problems often don’t get to “play” with written language in the same way other kids do. This means they don’t predict, try out patterns such as rhyming, are scared to experiment with new vocabulary and generally view the literacy area as a serious of momentous tasks!

I see this in my primary and secondary tuition students and watch with dismay as they gradually become more and more turned off to reading, will only borrow very easy “thin” books and write the minimum number of words. (In case the spelling is wrong.)

We need to still take time to nurture the playful aspects of learning for these kids. This means doing lots of reading aloud, discovering word patterns together, encouraging playful use of language and tolerating some spelling mistakes in the interest of growing creativity.

Even phonic blending and drills can be carried out in fun ways. Use your imagination and try to see the tasks through children’s eyes. As soon as you mention the word “game” children visibly relax so try turning even the most boring but essential drills and tasks into games.

Play is ESSENTIAL to all children. https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/142/3/e20182058

There is a balance of course and spelling and grammar are essential.

There is something more to language – a non-definable element that shows itself in an author’s tone, style, freshness of vocabulary and often playfulness with words. If we only concentrate on grammar and spelling, kids with learning difficulties will miss some very big areas of literacy development as well as form negative attitudes to literacy-possibly forever!

There are ways to help these kids-

  • Make sure they get to do lots of oral work daily.
  • Read, read, read aloud to students. (all ages)
  • Read to them and with
  • Never make a student read aloud in front of their peers if reluctant to do so.
  • Play with rhymes and substitute words so children can learn to make the language their own.
  • Occasionally record their words/stories on speech to text software so the words just pop up- you can then get the student to simply copy. This helps kids relax and let the words fly!
  • Use charts, videos, hands-on games and have many attractive picture books available for children to enjoy. Have some art/craft based comprehension activities. Minimise worksheets. Utilise digital media such as Kahoot to reinforce boring facts that must be learned.
  • Consider using the MASTERY LEARNING FOLDER approach. This really helps to individualise learning and WORKS so students can then apply basic skills and display their creativity. https://www.masterylearninggroup.com.au/mastery-learning-folders
  • Don’t (EVER) give them homework tasks they cannot understand. This just compounds the problem and causes frustration at home. One of my secondary students has just spent the entire year from February till now trying to cope with tasks he cannot possibly understand. He does not have the vocabulary and comprehension skills needed to complete the set tasks and is becoming more and more frustrated each week. That would be like asking me to read and comprehend a medical text and use the information to write reports, essays and offer my own opinions!

I’ve been a teacher for over 30 years so I DO know how overloaded and stressed teachers are BUT someone has to curriculum adjust for these children. Teachers need to be given time to do this properly and develop workable IEPS.

It doesn’t matter if students can’t read every word. It DOES matter if they hate books- so relax and help kids to enjoy playing with language, dive into poetry- sometimes ditch your rules and PLAY with words.

Keep your sense of humour and learn to laugh – kids also need to laugh and relax and using a light-hearted approach can diffuse many tense and unhappy moments. I tell jokes, have many joke books and encourage children to share jokes as often as possible.

Let’s try to help kids with learning difficulties to develop a more optimistic, positive and relaxed attitude to literacy. Personally I think helping kids to develop growth mind-sets and ENJOY learning are the keys to improving  results and encouraging a life-long love of words!

Please follow and like us:

The ABC of Child Whispering: W is for WANTS (rather than needs!)

W is for WANTS (rather than NEEDS)

Christmas is approaching and many families are doing it tough this year. This might need to be a Christmas of restraint and more careful spending. Even Santa might be forced to cut back!

“I couldn’t find this online, so it’s up to you.”

Children naturally focus on wants. Young children are terribly focused on immediacy! They do not understand that having that toy, designer sneakers, app and so on will not make them instantly happy for a long time.

We need to help them focus on needs and to be gradually able to perceive the difference.

It helps for children to make lists of both NEEDS and WANTS and to be well aware of the difference.

Doing this as a family is great because then they understand everyone has wants. They can even make lists of things they NEED

Family planning is important when planning budgets, giving money etc. it doesn’t mean we cannot have a want- just that we need to take care of needs first.

This needs v wants video is very helpful. Really it is all about SELF-CONTROL!

https://youtu.be/J8P3sCooGg0

this is a great article with some excellent suggested books and strategies.

https://www.verywellfamily.com/how-to-talk-to-kids-about-wants-versus-needs-4150278

It is hard for children to understand the sharing and accommodation that must needs happen in family life but this is essential if we are trying to bring up caring, compassionate young people. Being able to distinguish between NEEDS and WANTS is also necessary for financial intelligence to grow!

Please follow and like us: