Here are the answers to some very common questions that we get asked from parents and caregivers.
Q: My husband and I both work, so how do I/we find time to implement the programme?
ANSWER: Use a planning strategy which involves time ‘slots’ and ‘helpers’. Much of the reading and writing work can, and should, be self-motivated by the learner. Give encouragement and supportive help, establish some firm time guidelines, and limit the amount of television they watch.
Use correct, effective, simple helping methods as advised in the Reading & Spelling Made Simple Teaching Guide. Parents already try to help by ‘hearing their child read’ and by working on ‘spelling lists’. Use the plan!
Your aim is to give your child a great start with the 450 ‘bits’ to learn. Don’t panic! The 300 sight words make up all but 150 of these ‘bits’. The rest are mostly A-Z letter shapes, the 44 ‘sounds of English’ and ways to write them.
Encourage children to read an interesting book silently, in bed, before going to sleep. Help them choose a book and start reading it aloud to them. Stop at an interesting part and let your learner read the rest of the chapter or story to themselves. It helps if you skim the whole chapter or story before you read aloud to them, so that you know the best parts for them to read.
Make children’s progress visible with ticks, stars, etc. Work in six-week blocks, five sessions weekly. Spend half an hour or three lots of ten minutes a night. Remember to consult your Teaching Guide.
Q: I’ve tried helping my child but we end up fighting!
ANSWER: Many parents say this! There are several causes of conflict, including the following:
Anxiety. Don't worry about knowing everything before you start, or doing everything perfectly. If you are feeling overwhelmed, start small and add extra activities in as you feel more confident.
Wrong methods used by parents. If you're not sure, go back to the Teaching Guide for instructions. One aspect introduced correctly is much better than lots of activities done incorrectly.
Concentrating on ‘mistakes’ instead of ‘successes’. Your child feeling successful is the most important thing. Congratulate them for their right answers.
Bad timing for helping your child. Remember to choose a time that suits you both, when you can concentrate, without distractions, and not too tired.
Not taking a positive, light-hearted approach. If you are stressed about it, your child is more likely to be stressed as well. A positive attitude from you both will work wonders.
Many of these issues are covered in the Reading & Spelling Made Simple Teaching Guide, with handy tips. Take the time to read through this by yourself or your partner before working with your child again.
Q: Help! I don’t think I can balance all this.
ANSWER: This is an extremely common problem! The answer is to:
Learn the programme bit by bit. You don't need to know everything on day one. Trying to can leave both yourself and your learner feeling overwhelmed or frustrated. Give yourself time to learn and introduce different aspects of the programme.
Have everything you need – reading book, exercise books, pens, pencils, gold stars, timer, and any other resources you have.
Keep everything together. Have everything together, e.g. in a box. Always keep this in the same spot so it's ready to go when you are.
NOTE: Remember, you are doing an excellent job by deciding to give your child the extra help they need. If we can help you in any way, please email us with your questions or concerns, and we will do our best to help.