Handwriting for New Entrants

It is not essential for you to teach your child to write before she/he starts school because formal handwriting lessons start in the first week.

However, if you would like to do some writing with your child, it is helpful if you use the same letter shapes they will use at school.

This helps to avoid confusion.

Our printing is done in lower case letters, with the letters being formed as set out below.

Reading for New Entrants

Reading at home with your child

This is a general guide to help you support reading at home. We have grouped our ideas roughly around reading level. You'll see that many things you do are the same regardless of your child's reading level.

Reading at home should be fun and purposeful. The best thing a parent can do is provide uncritical support and praise. Simply focussing on the book and enjoying it together is really valuable.

Children in the Juniors at Ridgway take a book home every night. The book may be:
* at their instructional level (that is, it has challenges to help them learn new reading skills) and has been taught by a teacher.

* at a lower level than their instructional level. The book has previously been taught, is familiar to the child and they have chosen it themselves. They sometimes take a browsing box book home many times, and this is ok because they are learning to make choices and they get pleasure out of a particular story.

* a poetry book, with a poem to share. Your child may or not be able to be read this independently.


Sit side by side with your child holding the book. Talk about the book with them. e.g. "Why do you like it?" "What is your favourite part?" "Show me the front cover." "Point to the title." "Can you remember anything about this book?"

Look at the first page together. Always let your child study the picture. The picture supports their understanding and gives clues about the text and the story. Perhaps ask, "Tell me about the picture?" Open-ended questions are best for encouraging thoughtful answers.

Children need to use their 'talking voice' when they read aloud. Parents can demonstrate this.

Read the first page aloud. Ask your child to read that page to you, using their talking voice. Give lots of praise.

To support using a talking voice record them reading aloud on your cell-phone (children love to hear themselves), Skype, or phone a relative.

Even if you think they aren't doing well, praise them for their huge effort.

If your child gets stuck on a word, wait three seconds, then tell them what it is.

Don't persist with reading if you or your child are getting frustrated. Stop and say, "Hey, tonight I'm going to read the book to you, and I want you to listen to me." Give them lots of praise for bringing their book home.

Get your child to put their book in their bag or book bag. This will build their skills to become independent learners by managing themselves. In the morning on arrival at school, let them put their own book back into their browsing box.

Reading at home for this stage will take approximately 5 minutes. Be guided by your child.


All the suggestions above still apply to these levels.

At this stage, children are working hard on a range of strategies to solve tricky words. If they get stuck on a word ask them, "Can you make the sound at the start of that word?" Praise them for trying, and if it was incorrect tell them the word. Keep reading together fun.

Reading should take approximately 5 minutes. Be guided by your child.


All the previous suggestions above still apply to these levels.

Children are being taught additional strategies to solve tricky words. When they see a tricky word they can either go back to the beginning of the sentence and try again, or miss the word out and read to the end of the sentence.

With either strategy the child should be asking themselves, "What would make sense here?".

So, if your child gets stuck, remind them of those two strategies and ask them to think about what would make sense. Have them try one strategy. Praise them for trying, and if they get it wrong - tell them.

Reading should take between 5 and 10 minutes. Be guided by your child.

Big Blue to Gold-Junior Journals

At these levels the children are beginning to move from learning to read, to reading to learn. This means their understanding of the story is becoming more and more important.

It's important to note that comprehension skills will be taught throughout their primary schooling, because texts require more sophisticated thinking as they get harder.

How to build comprehension: Have a conversation with your child; make it fun and engaging. Give them lots of praise for making any attempt to discuss their comprehension. It is better to stop and try again tomorrow if either you or your child are getting frustrated.

Reading with children at this stage is a conversation around the book.

You might like to choose one of these ideas below to start your conversation.

Identifying and summarising main ideas questions:

* "Tell me something that you can recall about the story. Who are the main characters?" or "What happened first?" or "What is the story about?"

Making Connections:

* "Do you think anything like that in the story has happened to you?" "Can you think of a time when you did the same thing as that character?" "What was it like?" "How did you feel?

Forming and testing hypotheses:

* "I see the book is about the lifecycle of bees. Tell me what you know about that and let's see if this book can help us learn more information."

Creating mental images in their heads:

* "They have used the word 'enormous' in that sentence. What word could the author have used instead?" or "Show me what enormous means?"

or "Can you tell me the opposite of enormous?"

Inferring - this means using the story and their knowledge to come up with a personal conclusion about something that isn't explicitly stated:

* Lachlan ran into the room, puffing and red-faced. He pulled off his jumper and plonked himself down next to the open window.

Ask your child something like: "Why was his face red?" or "Why do you think he sat next to an open window?" or "How did he feel?"

Identify the author's purpose:

* "What message do you think the author was trying to give us?" "Was it to persuade you, or to express a point of view?" "Was it to share the excitement of an event?" "Tell me why you think that?"

Evaluate ideas and judgement:

* "What did the author do to {create a specific atmosphere}?" "Could they have used different words or language?" "What words could you have used?" "What would you do differently to make a stronger {ending, middle, start, character}?"

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