Don’t under-estimate the power of a game of catch!

Even with all the fabulous online learning tools available for children today, handwriting is still a core skill for children to acquire. There are many factors that can affect your child’s ability to form letters from the actual grip on the pencil to poor visual perception meaning children are unable to discriminate between different letters (e.g. b & d).

Children with poor handwriting may be disadvantaged if teachers cannot mark their work accurately. A less obvious disadvantage is that a child may struggle to write creatively if it takes all their concentration to just form the words. You can imagine the frustration this would cause a child.

There are a few simple ways you can help which we discuss below. However, if you identify significant issues and challenges with your child’s handwriting and reading and are concerned this should be followed up with an Occupational Therapist who is a specialist in this field.

Good hand-eye coordination is necessary to guide the pencil but simple garden games can help develop this key skill:

• Basic throwing and catching a ball with a parent or friend. Start to add variation in height and pace to gauge improvement
• Use a bat and ball and see how long your child can keep the ball in the air
• Swingball is a great game and very good at helping coordination
• Throwing a ball against a wall and catching it, increasing the height and pace for variation

When the weather is not so friendly then use worksheets or books with mazes or follow the path exercises inside.

Another important element in handwriting is a child’s fine motor skills or dexterity. This is the coordination of the movement of small muscles in the hands and fingers and synchronising them with the eyes. You can work on these by encouraging lots of scissor cutting, using playdough and lego to improve dexterity and your child’s ability to manipulate a pencil successfully.

Visual perception is an element that has been found to have a significant effect on handwriting. Visual perception enables children to understand what they see, for example to recognise the difference between an ‘n’ or a ‘h’. Poor visual perception may mean a child doesn’t realise an ‘o’ which is not joined at the top is actually a ‘u’.

Visual perception games can be incorporated into your child’s day like ‘seek and find’ books or bingo games, any games that required the child to notice, and act on small visual difference.

Playing the games is one part, putting the writing skills into practice is also necessary.

So make the most of your time in these early years to provide lots of opportunities to give your child a great start, and you can have a lot of fun doing it too!

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trugs PICS – new phonics reading games for those with EAL / EFL

 

trugs PICS games
One of the more significant changes to the school population in recent years has been the increase in the number of children with English as an additional language (EAL)

It was revealed earlier in the year that English is no longer the first language for the majority of pupils in more than one in nine schools.

A growing number of children (almost one in five) in primary education now speak another language in the home, following an increase in the number of children with foreign-born parents.

In some schools, children speak a wide variety of languages including Urdu, Somali, Hindi, Polish, Spanish, Arabic etc. When they arrive at school, some have never seen a word of written English before and may only know a few words or phrases.

For children with English as an additional language (EAL), or for any child with limited vocabulary, the process of learning to read is more difficult. A child might learn to read, but not understand what they are reading and will therefore still be unable to access the curriculum.

Trugs PICS are a new range of trugs games that have been specifically produced to help teach reading to pupils (young or old) who have limited vocabulary – using colourful picture cards to help players by making visual connections with words and short sentences. They are ideal for extending English vocabulary and understanding of words, as well as providing structured phonics games to develop reading skills.

The games follow the same phonic progression as the original trugs games and further details can be found on the FOCUS ON PHONICS website.

 

 

 

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trugs – Teach Reading Using GameS

Every so often a fantastic resource comes along that just has to be added to the website. I had read good comments about trugs card games from teachers and literacy specialists, so when I had a chance to see the games last week for myself, the decision was easy.

Trugs games were developed by Joanna Jeffery, a hiqhly qualified teacher and literacy expert.

The synthetic phonics structure has been put into 15 stages and Guess itMatch it and Take it card games are played at each stage to make reading practise easy and fun . Each stage builds on the one before, making it easy to follow. The best thing is that parents and children can forget about phonics stages and jargon and just enjoy playing simple traditional card games, so this great resource enables you to help your child through the process of learning to read without needing any training!

Readers of all ages, not just those with dyslexia, can improve their reading by playing trugs.

There are 3 boxes for use by parents at home or by tutors on a 1:1 basis and 3 boxes for use in schools. The great thing is that virtually all the words are different in the home and school boxes so the range of words available to read is vastly increased. There are also two boxes of ‘tricky words’ card games for helping children practise the high frequency words that they need to read early on.

If you have been searching for a simple, effective, fun and quick game to play to boost reading ability, then trugs games are the answer!

For more details of these games, you can find them on the website here

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