Monthly Archives

June 2018

5 reasons regular reading is so important 

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The single most important thing a parent can do to help a child get off to a good head start at school and beyond is to read with them regularly

Parents are told time and time again they should read with their children. At Learning Works Geelong we believe that reading with primary school aged children regularly is one of the most important things you can do as a parent to help them succeed at school.

Reading literally changes your child’s brain, opens up different worlds and prepares them for learning. Routine readers not only have a broader vocabulary and stronger verbal and language skills, but they are also able to learn new concepts more quickly.

From improving concentration, building general knowledge about the world and improving maths and social skills – there are so many benefits!

Learning Works Geelong has rounded up the top reasons you should make reading with your child a priority.

1) Young readers are smarter

There is a common saying “today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” Research has shown that regular, out of school reading makes children more intelligent and fosters a lifetime love of learning. A reading practice improves academic performance across the board with better performance in the NAPLAN and general school tests.

From learning concepts’ more easily and grasping the meaning of their school world and social situations, regular reading has a powerful impact on childhood development. Young readers do better in school and in life – with improved language and literacy skills, and wider and diverse vocabularies. They are able to associate meaning to unknown words and concentrate better and for longer. Regular, out of school reading contributes to intelligence and a lifetime love of learning.

2) Reading builds general knowledge

Children learn important life lessons through books. Through books, a child’s brain is stimulated and expanded. Reading exposes children to new ideas, ways of thinking and different ways of looking at issues.

Through books, children are given a creative spark for their writing and are able to express themselves when they speak. Reading opens children up to words they haven’t absorbed through watching television or listening to conversations.

Children who read regularly know more about the world and have basic life skills that are useful in daily life compared to children who don’t read regularly.

Researchers have examined how children acquire knowledge. They have found that reading books gave children the most general knowledge compared to exposure to television or other media. You would be hard pressed to say that having this knowledge is not useful for everyday living!

3) Reading builds social skills in children

Children are taught emotional intelligence and important life lessons through books. Books have the power to instil empathy and can help children understand social situations and what they mean. They are an invaluable tool in a child’s development – introducing them to social concepts like family, love and friendship. The style of children’s books that helps parents tackle trickier topics such as bias, racism, homophobia, religion and illness can be particularly helpful.

Your child can learn about the world through literature – for example, a book may expose a bias, share stories of culture and identity or explain what anxiety is. For example, if your child is anxious about starting school, sharing a relevant story addressing this issue can seamlessly explain the transition.  The educational function of reading cannot be emphasised enough!

4) Reading changes the brain

Children who grow up with books and read more have thinner brain cortexes. The cortex is the outer layer of the brain which is linked to intelligence. Research has found that people with thinner brain cortexes are smarter. Early success in reading unlocks a lifetime of reading and intelligence habits and lays the foundation for future opportunities.

5) A stronger relationship with you

Reading with your child is a nurturing activity you and your child can share. Children emotionally thrive when they are given frequent, positive, one-one-one attention from their parents. Your child will come to love reading if they are given undivided loving attention from you during their story time. When you respond to your child’s reading with delight, enthusiasm and warmth, you are showing your child they are valued and capable – which is extremely important for their emotional development and self image!

At Learning Works Geelong, we cannot emphasise enough the importance of regular reading for children. Reading exposes children to ideas, contributes to their general knowledge about the world and stimulates the brain’s neurons connected to intelligence. Reading improves a child’s verbal skills and comprehension abilities and provides a safe environment to explore social issues and emotions.

Early reading unlocks a lifetime of reading and intelligence habits and sets an upward spiral of academic success into motion.

Happy Reading!

Back to school tips for 2019

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What can you do for your child to give them the best head start at school this year?

For many children across Geelong, this week marks the end of an endless summer holiday and the start of a new school year. TV ads and retail store shelves are reminding us that shortly it will be time to go Back to School! At Learning Works Geelong, we understand that getting your child motivated to get back into the swing of a school routine after six weeks off can be a struggle.

The new school year marks a period of transition for your primary or secondary school child – with new teachers, classes, schedules, academic expectations and maybe even a new school.

We have rounded up invaluable tips from the Learning Works Geelong team to help your child make the transition from the summer holidays and have a successful 2019 school year.

Top tips to ensure 2019 is successful for your child

1) Create routine

Structure is vital for developing mind. If your child is prepared they are more likely to adapt to the demands of school – like sitting still and concentrating on learning new tasks for extended periods of time. Make sure your child is well-rested and ready to engage at school by getting a good night’s sleep and packing school bags the night before. These simple organisational tasks will reduce the challenges on the first few mornings back to school.

Getting organised with a school planner or timetable will ensure that your primary or high school child knows what is expected of them. VCE students will benefit from writing down their SAC dates and planning out their study routine in advance.

An ideal school routine might involve a desk area to work, away from the TV, phones and other distractions, discussing the set homework and assignments from the day and helping to go through any difficulties. This way your child feels supported and that you are engaged in their learning.

Encourage your child’s organisation skills and effort. A good routine will reduce challenges and will allow your child to focus on learning new school concepts.

2) Homework is important

All school aged children are assigned homework to reinforce learning material. At Learning Works Geelong, we believe that some homework is really beneficial for primary and secondary students to make sure key information isn’t lost. Young primary school aged children will especially benefit from your involvement and encouragement in completing their homework.

The best way to approach homework is to spell out to your child what you expect of them before the school year starts. Set aside time each night that is dedicated to homework. Answer questions with them like – Where will they do their homework? What happens to their phones and Facebook during homework time? How long will they do their homework for each day? By agreeing with your child what you expect of them, you are showing how important their education is to you and modelling the importance of hard work during and after school.

3) Inspire Confidence

Confidence can be as important as new skills when it comes to success at school. Praise your child’s perseverance and the effort they put into their school work. Learning not to give up if they find a new concept difficult is an important life skill.

Help them understand that mistakes are okay. Kids need the ability to bounce back from disappointment if they don’t understand something straight away. Your child will become resilient and confident in their ability to keep trying new things if they are taught that mistakes are part of the learning process.

4) Encourage your child to learn new skills.

Teach your child to try new things and to not get upset if they make mistakes. The ability to bounce back from disappointment if they don’t grasp a concept straight away will teach your child that their continued effort will lead to improvements.

Building up your child’s self-belief in their skills is vital for success at school. Tackling new ideas, overcoming disappointment, trying again and trusting in their own abilities are all necessary for your child to thrive at school. Encouraging your child for the effort they put into their school work will boost their confidence, self-esteem and will set your child up to utilise their skills.

5) Rest is important too

It is important for kids to have time to themselves to rest after a hectic school day. Kids absorb the energy of the environment around them, therefore one of the best things you can do is to model a calm attitude. It is important for your child to prioritise after school activities too so there isn’t a complete rush from one activity to another – leaving your child worn out for the next day. A well-rested child is one that is mentally prepared for new experiences at school.

Fun. Make sure your child sets aside enough time to play, read, relax and hang out with their friends. This will make the transition back to school smoother and will give them an incentive to work hard on their homework if they know there is down time as well to make the transition back to school smoother and more enjoyable.

6) Speak with their teachers

Parents can get a lot of crucial information about their child from their teachers. Teachers spend a lot of time with your child and view them through an educator’s eyes. They have exposure to any learning difficulties, academic strengths and weaknesses but also how your child is coping emotionally and getting along with close friends at school. Keep the dialogue open with your child’s teacher. Good questions to ask are: Do you have any concerns about my child’s learning? Does he/she need help with anything? How is my child doing overall?

Speaking regularly with your tutor at Learning Works Geelong will provide another great source of information for you. We fill in any missing gaps in knowledge, help your child get up to speed and excel at school.

Learning Works Geelong hopes these tips help your primary or secondary school child start of the 2019 school year ready to take on the challenges of the year ahead!

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