What does the magic of reading to your children have to do with them learning to read?

It is often emphasised that parents should read to their children from as young as 1 year old.

Firstly simple exposure to reading increases the likely hood that a child will develop prerequisite skills for reading (Abraham & Gram, 2009).

Furthermore, reading encourages the use of thinking skills, helps develop concentration and expands the readers’ vocabulary.

“Children who have been read to in childhood are more motivated to learn to read, and they appreciate that reading is a gateway to new ideas” – Abraham & Gram Reading: Breaking Through the Barriers, 2009 p.12

What are these prerequisite skills for reading you may ask?

  • How to hold a book and turn the pages.
  • That words on a page have meaning.
  • That reading is done from left to right and top to bottom.
  • An expanding vocabulary
  • An appreciation for the sounds of words.

What can parents do help develop these skills?

  1. Read
  2. Read and
  3. Read aloud, every day or night to your child.
  4. Have fun with rhyming words
  5. Get them to repeat lines
  6. Guess what will happen next in the book?

“Few children learn to read books by themselves. Someone has to lure them into the wonderful world of the written word; someone has to show them the way”.

-Orville Prescott, A Father Reads to His Children

Sharleen Newcombe

Learning and Support Teacher

What can children do in the Holidays?

For other than HSC students, the end of the year means not only a break from school but also from tutoring. Yet most parents feel a little insecure about such a long break and worry their child will fall behind in the New Year. They often want to schedule some tutorials during the break (not such a bad idea) but still feel anxious about all that free time. So as a tutor, I often get the question – what should they be doing in the holidays?


The answer is surprisingly simple. The two most important activities for developing literacy skills are reading for pleasure and keeping a journal. Reading widely and reflecting on experiences in a journal are habits that lead to better literacy and lifelong learning.  And the long Christmas break is the perfect opportunity to start developing these habits.


Forming Good Reading Habits



My daughter reading her new book

Even 4 year olds can Read for Pleasure

Most parents foster the habit of reading from a young age by reading to their children at bed time, and encouraging them with their home readers. There is a point however where children are expected to read independently and this is often when the habits die off.


If you have a Primary aged child, support all their reading and reward them for functional reading (lists, instructions, recipes etc)  as well as reading for pleasure.  Keep them excited about reading by going to the library regularly but also give books as presents, read the weekend papers and let them buy and trade magazines and comics.


If your pre-teen or older student has become a reluctant reader then reinforcing the joys of summer reading – long lazy days spent with a book or any other reading material – can help to put them back on track Enjoying reading is the key and if they are used to reading in the holidays this will make it easier for them to tackle the large quantities of reading required for the HSC. And the good news is that seeing you read is the best model they can have – so enjoy your holiday reading without guilt!


Holiday Journals



It is one thing to model good reading habits however few parents feel competent to help their children to write. A holiday journal or diary is a great place to start and encourages students to record not only their experiences but also their reading. Reflecting on what they read and making judgements on what they like and don’t like helps develop analytical and essay writing skills – so definitely a worthy activity for primary and middle school students. HSC students can also get a lot of benefit from journal keeping and many subjects require this skill.


As well as journal writing, again encourage young students with lots of functional and personal writing – such as cards, lists, menus and letters and emails to relatives for Christmas.  Using the PC there is no end to the writing they can do they can keep a photo-memoir complete with captions – another good literacy skill.  But the pen is still the best and easiest way to record thoughts ( and still necessary for exams ) so keep your child interested in handwriting by giving them  a nice new journal and Smiggles pen for Christmas and watch them go!


So to keep your child on track for the New Year just keep them reading and writing and enjoying it. It really is that simple. (But you may want to lose the Wii remote and use the iPad for reading only!)


Written by Christina Greenlees


Images minor editing by Sharleen Newcombe– Advanced Education Solutions Like us on Facebook


Christina is a former teacher of English and Drama and a freelance writer.

She is one of our English tutors specialising in the HSC and creative writing.

Language Tutors wanted

We have began to get an increased demand for language tutors.
Our latest requests are Spanish and Japanese in the Hills area.

If you are specialised or able to teach any language in the Sydney region please register yourself as a tutor on the online database.

Questions contact AES Tutors 02 9686 4289

Tutoring: More Than Higher Grades

There is no doubt that focused, one on one tutoring can help students catch up or move beyond the rest of the class. However, tutors are also in a position to help with so much more.

“… Please accept my many thanks for sending Dianne to tutor Cale. You read him perfectly, Dianne is wonderful and Cale hasn’t stopped talking about her and what she has taught him already. It’s all very exciting; I have never seen him so eager to learn… …Once again, many thanks. I know it is only early days but I can see the help he has so desperately needed is on it’s way!” – Trish, The Hills

“…Sarah was the absolute best tutor I have had and I would recommend her to eveyone. She was very positive, encouraging… and edifying… 10 out of 10” Geroge (adult ESL), Eastern Suburbs

Grades are improving, yes. And the tutors are also providing mentoring support through, developing students’ confidence, inspiring them with ideas and helping them on their road to success. This is true teaching and true tutoring, and it is what we strive to do with all our students.

AES aim is to reach students as early as possible and teach them lifelong learning strategies and problem solving skills. This will begin a cycle of confidence, inspiration and success that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. We try to make a difference, one student at a time, and in cases like these, we see that it is working.

For more information contact Advanced Education Solutions (02) 9686 4239 or www.aestutors.com.au

NAPLAN: Using Results for Your Child’s Gain

In 2008 the National Assessment Program: Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) was introduced for all students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9. The purpose is to assess the literacy and numeracy learning of students in all Australian schools. In NSW the NAPLAN replaces the Basic Skills Tests (BST) English Language and Literacy Assessment (ELLA) and Secondary Numeracy Assessment Program (SNAP).

All parents of students involved and all schools should have now received their results. NAPLAN results indicate your child’s ability, your schools average and the national average achievements in Literacy and Numeracy.

Results that are gained from NAPLAN are of little use unless the data is used in a meaningful way to inform future directions. Where your child’s NAPLAN results are critically interpreted and analysed they can provide crucial information of gaps in your child’s learning that need to be filled for your child to move forward in their educational endeavours. Short and long term plans and strategies can be put in place to ensure that your child reaches their full potential at each stage of their development between now and the time that your child completes their schooling.

For more information contact Advanced Education Solutions (02) 9686 4239 or www.aestutors.com.au where a personal tutor can analyse your child’s results to help them reach their full potential.