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How to Help

Helping in School

     

We love to have helpers in school!  There are lots of different ways you can help. What you will actually do depends on what is needed at the time and also on your own interests and skills. Whatever you do, we will get as much information and guidance as possible. You might:

  • hear children read
  • work with groups of children on work set by their teacher
  • help in lessons such as cookery, needlework, art and games

 

When you will help

Your help is welcome at just about any time during the school day.  Let the school know when you are available, but be realistic about what you offer. It's usually best to start with a short time each week and then add to it if you find you have more time free. It doesn't have to be a whole morning or a whole afternoon - an hour a week can be very helpful. Try to make it the same day and time each week. That makes it easier for you to remember and easier for the school to plan. If, for some reason, you can't come to school as arranged, please let everybody know - giving as much notice as possible.

 

Working with children

When you work with children at school, you will always be under the supervision of one of the teachers, who will let you know what we want you - and the children - to do.

Like all other adults in the school, you will have high expectations of children's behaviour. The children should be courteous, use polite language and listen when others are speaking. Encourage them by praise and by setting a good example. If any child misbehaves, please make sure that the teacher knows about it.

You will be told about the school's behaviour policy, which sets out what we expect of children and how we deal with them.

 

Confidentiality

While you are helping in school, you will find out a lot of things about children and about other adults. Like all the other people working in school, you will have to keep such things confidential.  Prior to starting you will need to complete a Disclosure and Barring Services (DBS) Check.

All school staff are all in a position of trust and it is important not to break that trust. Even things that seem quite unimportant might be significant to someone, so the best rule is not to talk about things away from school. One way of looking at it is to think how you would feel about other people talking about your child or about you.

On the other hand, you do need to talk to teachers about things you have noticed and done. Sometimes, teachers might even ask you to make a note of your observations of particular children. This can be especially useful in helping teachers to understand children's progress and to plan future activities.

Listening to Children Read At Home

     

 

One way in which children get better at reading is through lots of practice. By hearing children read at home, you can help them practise and improve. As you get more experienced, you will find more ways of helping children with their reading. But the main thing you will be doing is giving them more opportunity to practise by reading aloud to an adult.

Your child may be:-

  • a beginning reader - a young child who is in the early stages of learning to read
  • a developing reader - a child who has already learned the basics of reading
  • a struggling reader - a child who is finding it difficult to learn to read
  • a fluent reader - a child who can read well for their age.

Your approach to hearing your child read will depend on their age and ability.

 

Some Suggestions:-

  • Talk with children about the book they are reading. What is it about? Do they like it? What has happened so far? What do they think will happen next?
  • With younger and less able readers, talk about the pictures. Pictures help children to understand the words.
  • With older and more able readers, discuss the characters and the words and phrases used by the author.
  • When a child doesn't know a word, ask him or her to try it and then tell the child what it is. Only get involved in 'word-building' if the teacher has asked you to do this.
  • If a child misreads a word, stop him or her and say the correct word - although if it is a word which makes no difference to the meaning (for example 'home' instead of 'house' or 'water' instead of 'sea'), it is usually best to ignore it.
  • Use lots of praise and encouragement, and avoid criticism. It is important that the children become more confident with reading.
  • Choose a suitable time (not when there are distractions such as a favourite TV programme on!) Make full use of the time available. Hear children read - or talk to them about their reading - for as long as possible. This gives them extra practice and children often become more fluent if they read for longer than two or three minutes. But don't make children read for longer than they can keep their interest and attention on the task.

 

Record Keeping

The school will keep records of children's progress in reading. In the Lower and Middle School your child will come home with a reading record. You can help with this by making notes when you hear your child read. These notes might include the date, the title and author of the book, how long the reading lasted, how many pages were read and a brief comment about how the child got on.

 

 

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