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From the Ministry of Education Website

YEAR ONE  - Reading at home

Make reading fun

Reading at home should be fun and easy – something you both look forward to - a time for laughter and talk.


  • Share the reading, take turns or see whether your child wants to read or be read to today

  • All children like to be read to, so keep reading to them. You can read in your first language

  • Visit the library together and help them choose books to share

  • Read emails from family or whānau aloud

  • Play card and board games together.

Here's a tip - talk a lot to your child while you are doing things together. Use the language that works best for you and your child.

Talk about reading

  • Talk about pictures in books

  • Sing waiata and songs, read poems and make up rhymes together – the funnier the better

  • Be a role model. Let your child see you enjoying reading and talk about what you are enjoying

  • Point out words on signs, shops and labels

  • Play word games like "I Spy" and "Simon Says…"

Make it a special time together

Reading is a great chance for you and your child to spend special time together. Make reading:

  • quiet and relaxing

  • a time to sit close to your child

  • 10–15 minutes without interruption, away from the TV

  • an enjoyable, interesting and special time

  • a time to praise your child for making an effort

Here's some tips -

If your child is stuck on a word wait a few seconds, give them a chance to think. If they are still stuck, help them to try to work the word out by saying "read the sentence again and think what would make sense". Ask "could it be…?" (and give a word that might fit). The pictures also help them check they have got the right word. If they still can’t work out the word, tell them and praise their efforts. Remember, reading should be fun.

Help your child to link stories to their own life. Remind them about what they have done when a similar thing happens in the story.

YEAR ONE - Writing at home

Make writing fun

  • Help your child write an alphabet letter, then go letter hunting in your house or in a book to find that letter

  • Let your child see you writing – you can use your first language

  • Encourage them to write shopping lists or make birthday cards

  • Water and a paintbrush on a dry path and a stick on sand are fun ways to write letters and words.

Here's a tip - Don’t worry if your child’s letters or words are sometimes backwards or misspelt at this age. The important thing is that they have fun writing at home and are making an effort.

Give them reasons to write

  • Write to each other. Write notes to your child and leave them in interesting places, like their lunch box. Ask them to write a reply

  • Help them email, text or write to family, whānau or friends

  • Work with them to put labels on special things – like the door to their room or their toy box.

Here a tip - display their work. Put it on the fridge. Be proud of it. Share it with others.

Talk about their writing

  • Talk about the letters in your child’s name and where the name comes from.

  • Help them create a scrapbook with pictures. Encourage them to write stories under the pictures and talk to you about them.

  • Ask them to write about pictures they draw - on paper or on the computer. Or get them to tell you the story and you write it under the picture.

Here's a tip - talk about what your child writes. Be interested. If you don’t understand what your child’s picture or story is about, ask them to tell you about it.

Encourage writing

  • Have felt pens, pencils, crayons and paper available

  • Put magnetic letters on the fridge – ask what words they can make with the letters.

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