Learning literacy at home

Sisters writing together
The everyday world provides a wealth of learning opportunities to get your child using their literacy skills outside school. Try these top tips to get your child writing and reading at home.

Beyond national curriculum literacy lessons, opportunities to practise reading and writing are hidden in almost everything we do. Pointing these chances out to children helps them to recognise the importance of these skills in everyday life.

Try these tips to help them get ahead:

Write fun notes

Use notes around the house. For example, leave a note to your child to remind them to take their packed lunch.

Have fun with notes by turning them into a game. Write a list of clues or instructions around the house. If there’s a prize to be had at the end it makes it even more exciting.

Ask your child to practise spelling by writing the names of everyday equipment and furnishings in your home on some labels and sticking them on.

Remember reading and writing

Next time you bake a cake get your child involved. Ask them to read out the list of ingredients needed and to look for them in the cupboard and fridge. They can read the instructions, too.

Going shopping? Ask your child to write a shopping list for what you need to buy (start with the ingredients for that cake you were planning to bake!).
Cleaning out the cupboard? Get your child to help you sort out the tins, sachets, boxes, cartons, bottles and packets by reading what they contain.
Bedroom a mess? Challenge them to organise books on the shelf in alphabetical order and to label boxes of toys, puzzles, accessories and other gadgets.

Quick tricks for improving literacy

  • Encourage your child to write their name
  • Regularly listen to your child read and read to them
  • Show your child that words move from left to right
  • Let your child read you their own writing, even if it looks like just scribbles to you!
  • Help your child to make an alphabet scrapbook by cutting out and sticking in pictures from old magazines
  • Pick a letter of the alphabet and go around the house searching for things beginning with that letter together
  • Buy your child a junior dictionary
  • Talk about the different purposes writing is used for. Point out different types of writing in your home: letters, recipes, posters.
  • Encourage your child to write their own letters, notes, birthday cards, and invitations to friends and family
  • Keep a family diary or message board where important dates, reminders and appointments are recorded. Let your child record fill it in, too.