Grade R, Grade 1, Grade 2
In a nutshell: How children learn to read
As parents it’s easy to become overwhelmed by all the advice we are offered on how best to help our children learn to read! It seems like everyone is telling us what to do. But, often what we really need to know is how children learn to read. Here, in a nutshell, are the most important things you need to know about this process.
The stages children go through in learning to read more or less follow the same sequence for all children, no matter what their age – it’s just that some children move through one stage faster than another.
When children first try reading, they often just turn the pages of a storybook as they tell their own story. This ‘pretend reading’ is an important step - it shows that they understand how books work.
Next, they’ll use their memory of a story and its pictures to help them retell it as they turn the pages. Sometimes, they also say some of the actual words of the story and/or point to the words as they ‘read’. These things show they understand that the words and the pictures work together to tell the story.
Then children often will point to words in a book and ask, ‘What does this say?’. This shows that they understand that the words in a book stay the same every time you read them. They also have learnt that the squiggles on page (‘letters’ and ‘words’) are symbols that we interpret as we read. This is an essential step to learning to read – it means that they ‘get’ how reading works. But, they have to arrive at this understanding through their own experiences with books and of being read to. It is not something we can teach by telling.
And then, there is that magical moment when children read the actual words on the page! Some children learn to do this all by themselves while others wait until they receive formal reading instruction in Grade 1. It really doesn’t matter when it happens; it just matters that it happens! And, you can help and encourage your children on their reading journeys by reading aloud to them. If you do this and watch closely, you’ll notice how they are developing as readers.
Grade R, Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3
Memory training games There is no such thing as a bad memory. Just like any other muscle, your brain must be exercise and developed every day. Keep it in training! It will get used to repeated exercises and needs new challenges every now and again to improve and stay at its best.
From an early age, I started ‘training’ my... Read the full article
Preschool, Grade R, Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3
Getting ready for the first day of school Your child’s first day of school is a big step. However, there are plenty of practical things that you can do to prepare them for their big day. Practical tips Tell your child what you enjoyed about your school days and talk positively about starting school. Involve your child in choosing things... Read the full article
Grade R
Story sums
Story sums, problem solving sums and detective sums all refer to the same thing.  These sums are language based.  It is imperative that you start exploring, investigating and playing with these kinds of sums as early as possible.  Many children who find the written word a challenge, find story sums very tricky when... Read the full article
Grade 4, Grade 5, Grade 6, Grade 7
Understanding question words
It is important to look for the question words (the words that tell you what to do) to correctly understand what the examiner is asking. Once you have read the question once circle the question word and then underline any other important key words. The combination of the circled and underlined words will tell... Read the full article
Grade 4, Grade 5, Grade 6, Grade 7

So you’re ready. You’ve done your revision and practised thousands of exam questions. Now it’s time to face the exam paper. Here are some tips for surviving in the exam room:

Keep calm

Try not to panic – after all, you are well prepared! Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and count... Read the full article