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I Can Read System

During these difficult covid times, education remains of paramount importance and includes the vital component of homework. We know this can be a challenge – especially if students are already completing their daily schoolwork at home, as well as their I Can Read lessons. It’s tempting to overlook homework, but homework involves essential activities which support and reinforce your child’s classroom and online learning. It is important that students know how to tackle homework, in order to reinforce what they learn from their lessons. 

We’ve pulled together some useful tips on how you can best support your child to complete their homework during lockdown.

First, your child needs to know and understand the task required. Take a few minutes to sit with them to make sure that he or she fully appreciates exactly what is required to complete the set homework.

WRITING HOMEWORK

First, make sure your child has everything they need to complete the task without having to break their concentration to look for whatever item is missing.

If the task requires handwriting, does your child have clean paper and a good pen or pencil before they start? 

If they can complete the homework on a computer, does he or she have access to the device for the duration of the task in order to complete their homework uninterrupted?   

It’s a good idea to break the task up into a few sections defined by time. For example, divide the homework into a beginning section, a middle section and a final section. By allocating a set time for each section – say 30 minutes, your child won’t find the task overwhelming and feel discouraged by an hour and a half of continuous homework.

This technique gives them a sense of progress and achievement as they go and makes the work feel much more manageable.

Sections of writing tasks

Ask your child to plan his or her work by making brief notes outlining the introduction, then jotting down points to expand on in the body of the piece, then finally, a couple of points for the conclusion to summarise what has been said.

The length of the piece of writing will determine how many breaks you would like to use to make the task accessible for your child.

READING AND SPELLING HOMEWORK

If the homework consists of reading a story and learning some spelling words from the story, divide the homework into sections. For example, if your child has a week to complete the homework before their next lesson, read the story over two or three sessions, ask the comprehension questions and learn the spelling. Separate these tasks so that the homework is completed over several days, rather than all at once.

Ten minutes reading every day (if your child is learning to read) is preferable to one long session of reading in which the child may be decoding new and unfamiliar words.

Children can tire easily with long tasks, which may affect their enjoyment of reading in the long term. Keeping sessions short makes tasks less arduous, and provides something to look forward to during the break. 

SUMMARY 

Tackling homework demands comes down to using time well. Only work as long as your child is able to before taking a break. If your child works on a task for 30 minutes, perhaps a ten minute break will be in order. Reward positive and cooperative behaviour with small rewards that you know will be effective with your child (though be sure to avoid sugary treats that will affect their ability to concentrate). Allow your child to take breaks but always set a restart time. Say, “We’ll have a short break but you will resume the task in 10 minutes, okay?”

Perhaps agree on an activity they look forward to once they finish their homework, such as playing a favourite game, going for a walk, watching a favourite TV show.

Breaking up tasks into smaller manageable units makes the job seem less onerous and this principle can be applied to most homework challenges.

For younger children, please also remember to check out our series of fun and educational Literacy Guides, which will help you to keep the literacy momentum going between pre-reading and reading lessons. https://icanreadsystem.com/resources/

If you’ve found this article helpful, please let us know and we will write some more along these lines. If there are any particular topics you would like us to address, again, please share your ideas with us and we’ll be happy to include our advice in future articles.

Contact us via email on headoffice@icanreadystem.com.au or call us on 02 9972 1419.

A response to the Department of Education’s latest innovation!

NSW Education authorities are now making an assessment for phonics compulsory for 2021 Grade 1 students. It’s about 20 years late!

Frankly it’s ridiculous. The evidence cited by Sarah Mitchell (State Minister for Education) has been available since the 1970s. Clearly an assessment for phonics sensitivity is required but most so-called education experts do not appreciate that, while phonics awareness is a necessity, it is NOT sufficient for the beginning reader. One wonders how it is possible that a government isn’t up to speed on the research.

The reason is that the Department of Education doesn’t follow the research. Remember how it wasted $450 million on the failed system called ‘Reading Recovery’ which didn’t recover many participants even though a plethora of vocal teachers lauded it. It was applied because of political pressure from a minority of interested parties without the benefit of any supportive data.

This new ‘initiative’ from the NSW Dept of Education won’t hurt. It will mislead parents and teachers into believing that, by returning to a phonics inclusive approach, the solution will be found.  The Department is playing catch up, again!

Phonics alone is NOT an effective way to teach reading.

Applying phonics as part of the learning process is clearly an improvement on whatever failed systems the Department currently applies, but it does not teach children how to read. Why the Department continues to trot out simplistic non-existent solutions beats us. Do they think that parents will blindly accept their poorly thought-out approaches?

Research has identified a number of necessary variables required as part of the English language acquisition process and phonics is clearly one of them. Phonics is basically the ability to associate a sound with a written letter. There is also the assumption that those tested will somehow have no difficulties processing the sequences of sounds/letters. This is false because many children will easily follow this approach innately without appreciating their actual cognitive activities.

We have no aim to be inflammatory, or political here – we are simply driven by our passion for the subject and our work of more than 20 years, built on solid research that the Department of Education chooses to ignore. This passion led us to create the unique I Can Read system, a proven and complete bottom-up based system which has taught nearly half a million children to read since 2003 and has never had a failure with its core programme. The I Can Read methodology is completely driven by research and was created by Australian registered educational psychologists.

Created here in Australia, our system was accepted by the Singapore Ministry of Education and made available in schools in that country. I Can Read was instrumental in Singapore becoming one of the most literate countries in the world, and has since spread across Asia.

Australian education leaders declined to embrace our system, and meanwhile, Australia has slipped in literacy from 4th in the world to 17th. For this reason, we created our own I Can Read total literacy learning centres for parents who are simply not satisfied with their childrens’ literacy progress in school.

Stick with those who actually know what they are doing in the application of reading instruction and have the data to back up their claims.

If you’d like more information, check out the following pages of our website, and if you would like to talk to someone to find out more, please call us on 02 9972 1419.