When a parent reads to their child from a young age, it opens up a whole new world of learning opportunities – and not just in regards to literacy.
Reading promotes general academic excellence. Language is the basis of all forms of learning – without words and sentences, grasping the notions of other subjects like Maths, Science and History is near impossible. By encouraging reading as early as possible, your child will quickly gain a sense of the words and sentence structure and will put them in a position to learn new subjects faster and more easily.
Not to mention that reading enforces the fundamentals of writing. Seeing words on a page will vastly improve spelling and grammar, and inspires the young student to write on their own, both technically and creatively. Words are so important and vital to your child’s growth and development – so why not give them that bit of head start!
The act of reading before bedtime strengthens the bond between parent and child. It becomes more than just reading a book – it’s a fun, relaxing, nurturing activity that can be shared. If it’s a good book you’re reading as well, it might be something your child actually looks forward to! Encouraging this activity will put reading in a positive light in your kid’s eyes, and will increase the chance of them loving books and embracing the English language on their own terms.
It also encourages patience, persistence and enhanced concentration. In this tech-heavy world, new forms of learning and entertainment can be extremely fast-paced and overwhelming. Reading books is almost ‘old-school’ but it develops an appreciation and understanding of the joys of reading. By slowing down and taking in a book, your child will increase their ability to focus and calmly tackle any challenge that comes their way.
Reading, for me, is one of my greatest joys. My mother read me books and encouraged me to choose and read my own for as long as I can remember, and now it has turned into a lifelong passion for me. I always remember coming from school and reading whatever book I was working through at the time for at least half an hour – off my own back, mind you! And I know that this joy and skill of reading helped my other subjects immensely – I wouldn’t have been able to write a History essay or understand complex Psychology theories without it. My love for books eventually expanded to also include a passion for writing – something I hope happens to your children as well.
Read to your kids. Just, read. Titles from authors such as Dr. Seuss, Graeme Base, Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton are all wonderful and enjoyable, and will fire your child’s imagination for many years to come.
Students using educational technology in class has long been a point of discussion, but with the prevalence of learning apps and digital methods of study higher than ever, the question is no longer should, but how, it can be incorporated into the classroom.
There are a number of benefits for using learning apps at school. They can be fun and engaging for students - more so than regular worksheets and textbooks – and can enable them to focus and learn faster. It enhances the child’s tech skills which helps them prepare for the future, especially in our rapidly growing digital world. And best of all, with instant feedback and a simplified collection of grades and materials, it’s much easier for teachers and parents to manage!
Of course, there are always downsides. Kids can be easily distracted by the computers and iPads, it doesn’t encourage patience and persistence like regular work does, and it’s highly likely that there will be tech issues, whether it being low battery power or poor Wi-Fi.
But using technology in schools extends far beyond kids using iPads to learn. Canadian app FreshGrade allows teachers to record their student’s learning achievements, and send them instantly to parents; and apps like Remind, Buzzmob and Class Messenger allow swift communication like memos, reminders and upcoming deadlines between school and home.
Technology in classrooms, regardless of personal opinions, is here to stay. (Some Queensland primary schools are introducing coding and robotics subjects from as early as Grade One!) But rather than be staunchly against it, teachers and parents should learn to embrace it and apply it to the child’s needs, in moderation. For starters, kids should have no more than two hours of screen time a day, and it should be balanced with regular work in order to avoid over-stimulation and lags in personal creativity.
Also try and identify what kind of learner your child is, and what they enjoy – every student is unique and has different learning methods and capabilities, so make sure that using learning apps for your kids will benefit and not hinder them. If your child enjoys the use of apps and you feel it encourages their learning, then make it a focal part of their studies. However, if the student is quite adept and content with working the ‘old school’ way, then use the apps in moderation.
And, of course, it all depends on the subjects. Personally, I find reading off a screen detrimental to my own understanding, but I can imagine tricky maths problems and geometry puzzles would be much more enjoyable on a colourful app. But it’s completely up to the child – work out what subjects the student could use some help with and download the relevant apps accordingly.
So, teachers and parents – what’s your opinion on using learning apps in the classroom and at home?
Lauren is the owner of MPT, a primary school teacher, tutor and Mum to a nearly 2 year old son.