After visiting E's class we went upstairs to see H's teacher and were told that H is a lovely, popular boy and she loves teaching him, and that he always tries so hard and is building his confidence and will now ask for help when he needs it, but that he is struggling a little with handwriting in particular, and spelling. I did already know this, as H has always had a little trouble with this sort of thing. He is very good at Maths and Science (his Dad is great with numbers, me - not so much) but English is proving that wee bit trickier for him.
We discussed some strategies for helping to support his learning at home, and I have come up with ways of encouraging progress and bringing him along. The most important thing, is that he wants to learn. The desire to do it is there, so while he has that we have the best chance of getting him caught up or at least continuing his progress. I don't want him to get to secondary school and to have lost that passion for learning, because by then it will be too late. We want the best for him and I am willing to do whatever I have to to get him to where he needs to be.
He received some lovely Tom Gates books for his 9th birthday last November, made up of words and pictures not unlike the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series (which we also have), and he has absolutely loved reading them. The fun layout of the book is, I think, ideal for reluctant readers or those who have difficulties. H reads them before bed every night and has been thoroughly enjoying them. I will be choosing some new books for him, and I have printed out some book review sheets for him to fill out as he finishes each book.
I've also employed some tactics that I remember from my own school days. For example, I've taught him how to spell necessary using the same method that I used - I told him to remember never eat cucumber, eat salad sandwiches and raspberry yoghurt. For the trickier words, making up a little rhyme or something funny to help them remember is always worth a try and it certainly helped me when I was young, even now I mentally recite that line in my head when writing the word necessary and I'm in my early thirties!
A few others that H & I came up with together are : Naughty = Never Ask Ugly Guys How To Yodel, and Scene = Sometimes Colourful Elephants Need Eggs. City Girl Gone Coastal shared a good one, Because = Big Elephants Can Add Up Sums Easily. H thinks these are great fun and they seem to be doing the trick! Can you think of any?
Do you have any tips, useful websites, or words of advice for helping to support learning at home? I'd love to hear them.