It’s a new year and a new start and so is this Home School Partnership Team communication page called The Link. At the beginning of each term we will provide some handy hints to help you with ways to support your child’s learning at home. Including information from the Literacy and Numeracy Teams. family-reading-together

Literacy – Reading

Independent Reading is not an Independent Effort

The more you read, the easier it becomes, but for those who struggle with words; reading is a challenging experience and all too soon the learner becomes easily disheartened and unwilling to keep trying. Therefore one of our most important responsibilities is to help students catch the desire to read. This involves the classroom, the school and home.

In the classroom students are learning to read, learning vocabulary and learning reading strategies. Teachers:
Provide opportunities for students to practice reading skills
Provide a chance for students to select a wide range of reading materials to interest them
Provide experiences to engage students as readers
Provide opportunities for students to respond to texts and think critically about what they are reading

To continue the learning effort at home – Make reading part of your daily routine and not something children ‘have’ to do. Be relaxed and as comfortable as possible. Here are some tips to get you going straight away:

1 – Reading starts with listening. Read to your children as much as you can. It not only improves listening skills and makes them feel good about reading, it also improves vocabulary and understanding of the way stories are built up.

Kids reading

2 – Encourage your child to join in by:
Discussing the book’s content and ask your child to describe what is happening, or might happen
Retell the story in their own words
Suggest your child joins in reading some words
Select two or three words to talk about
Allow think time to work out words and praise efforts. Help with accuracy – encourage your child to improve guess work by going back and checking letters in a word.
Talk about a character from the story
Talk about big ideas from the text – themes like courage or life cycles of insects, etc.
Find out more about a topic you have just read a book about

Girl reading

3 – Re-reading books
Re-reading books together or alone builds confidence, fluency and comprehension. Do not race to get to the next level. Discuss and re-read important information to reinforce understanding of the ideas in the book. It helps build vocabulary and memory too.

4 – Silent Reading
Silent reading is important to develop independence, fluency and endurance. Wherever possible children should be encouraged to talk about what they have read. If you suspect that your child is having difficulties take care that your child is not just guessing. All students benefit from the enthusiasm, interest and expertise of an adult.

group reading

5 – Choosing books carefully. Think about:
Areas of interest – what appeals to them

Level of interest. Be careful to choose books appropriate for age and interest level of your child

Read a range of different printed material. For example: Comics, magazines, novels, short stories, biographies, audio books, picture books, non-fiction subject books, newspapers, online material, etc.

6 – Above all make reading FUN!


Welcome to the 2016 school year from the Numeracy Team. Having a good working knowledge of maths facts and concepts is essential for children’s success in the 21st Century.

Why do Kids Need to Learn Math Facts? Source:

So what’s the big deal with math facts? Why in today’s day and age – with calculators and computers – do our kids really need to rote learn their basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division? Isn’t this just ‘old school’?This article touches on why kids need to learn math fact fluency. But first, what do we mean by math fact fluency?  little-girl-with-big-purple-calculator
maths symbols Math facts fluency refers to the ability to recall the basic facts in all four operations accurately, quickly and effortlessly. When students achieve automaticity with these facts, they have attained a level of mastery that enables them to retrieve them from long-term memory without conscious effort or attention.


Brain imaging studies have shown how the progression from effortful processes, such as finger counting, to automatized retrieval is associated with actual changes in the regions of the brain involved in mathematical computation (Rivera, Reiss, Eckert and Menon, 2005).


So why focus on math facts? symbols 2

Math facts fluency leads to higher order mathematics

Through automaticity students free up their working memory and can devote it to problem solving and learning new concepts and skills (Geary, 1994). Quite simply, a lack of fluency in basic math fact recall significantly hinders a child’s subsequent progress with problem-solving, algebra and higher-order math concepts.

Fluent math facts mean less confusion

Math facts are important because they form the building blocks for higher-level math concepts. When a child masters his/her math facts, these concepts will be significantly easier and the student will be better equipped to solve them faster. If the child spends a lot of time doing the basic facts, he/she is more likely to be confused with the processes and get lost in their problem solving calculations.

Math facts automaticity affects performance – not only in maths

In later primary, students have longer and more complicated computations to complete and problems to solve to check their understanding of various concepts. At this stage, if a student does not have his/her math facts committed to memory, he/she will spend a disproportionate amount of time figuring out the smaller calculations and risk not completing the task. This not only affects their performance in math class, but also in other subjects, such as science and geography.

Maths 4 Less math anxiety

Math can be compared to languages in some ways. Just like you have to learn to combine letters into words and words into sentences – and we have strategies like phonics and sight words to help kids to learn to read – math facts are the foundation blocks for learning the next level of maths. There is rote learning involved in both language and math mastery. Math anxiety starts when children fall behind and can’t keep up. To avoid these anxieties, students’ early primary years should focus on learning the foundation math skills needed for later years – math facts are among those important math skills.

How you can help your children learn their basic facts and tables at home:

Basic Facts: Children should be able to make sense of addition and multiplication before they try to memorise their tables. When they do understand it is important that they learn these basic facts and recall them instantly. Basic facts are linked to different stages. These will include the traditional basic facts as well as others such as addition and subtraction facts to ten, facts to twenty, doubles and ‘teen’ numbers. Ask your child’s teacher when or how they feel it is appropriate for you to support your child in learning these facts

To practise your child can:

– Play games (card and board)
– Make use of Mathletics at home
– Draw the fact
– Record the results in their own way
– Record the fact as an equation
– Write it out 5 times
– Image it
– Talk to someone else about their imaging
– Show the fact with materials e.g. milk bottle tops or counters
– Use the Hundreds Board to find what comes just before and just after it when they skip count.
– Discuss the related family of facts and record using tens frames to help them.
– Write a number story about it.
– Practise the fact in their mind at a spare moment
– Take every opportunity to talk about and use maths facts

Love maths

Never say “I was no good at maths at school”. This gives children the idea that maths is not fun or interesting and could affect their attitude. Even if we as adults have negative memories of maths, we should try to be positive about it. Remember, the way we were taught may have been quite different to the way maths is taught in schools today. And you may be far better at maths than you realize!

The school website has some Literacy and Numeracy resources you may find useful, plus links to the Ministry of Education’s parent pages:



Home/School Partnership Team