Oxford Owl

A site well worth visiting for Literacy resources is http://www.oxfordowl.co.uk

Oxford University Press publish the Oxford Reading Tree, Treetops and Project X books and their reading schemes are used in primary schools across the country. The books are levelled from very first reading books through to those suitable for junior children. They also have Read with Biff, Chip and Kipper and Read Write Inc. Phonics At Home which are aimed at parents wishing to support their children’s reading at home.

I have used Oxford reading books both as a teacher and parent and found that they are fantastic in building skills in word recognition and blending whilst also providing interesting story lines and characters.

The Oxford Owl website offers ideas, advice and resources to both parents and teachers. There are tips on how to use games to engage children as well as examples of how sounds are pronounced and information about the Year 1 phonics screening test.

One key appeal of the site is the number of free e books which are provided for children from 3-11. These can either be listened to or read by the children themselves, though since you have to click to mute the audio many children may just choose to listen. They are an effective way of engaging your child with reading and offer the chance to sample the range of books without having to make a purchase. There are also some activities which check comprehension or word recognition.

Some of the text in the books for the older age ranges is quite small and can be more difficult to read, however there is a Project X app and Read with Biff, Chip and Kipper app where books can be bought to read and explore.

The site will be particularly useful for those supporting boys with reading as the Project X books are designed to be particularly appealing to boys and there is also specific advice on encouraging boys with reading.

Overall Oxford Owl is a good site to explore whether a teacher, parent or child wishing to gain advice or discover what Oxford University Press has to offer.

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Reading

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Key tips to help children with reading:

* surround children with different types of text: books, newspapers, magazines, leaflets, comics

* let them see you reading and talk about it with them

* become a member of the library and visit frequently

* give reading a purpose by asking them to read shopping lists, signs, posters etc for you

* read in a variety of ways: use flashcard games, ebooks, website resources, reading apps, spoken word

RM Easimaths/RM Maths at home

RM produce a fantastic program for any parent or teacher wishing to enhance their children’s maths skills. Children can use this independently and it delivers activities which are appropriate  to the child’s level of ability and knowledge.

Originally running from a cd there is now a new version RM Easimaths which is an online program which costs £34.99 per year (Jan2013).

My daughters have been using the original version for the past two years and it has supported and built upon what they have learnt in school. They enjoy the interactive activities and since a score is provided at the end of every session they are keen to work on it again to improve their score.

Each session lasts around 15 mins, though this can be changed if less or more time is needed. Unlike some other maths resources it covers a range of aspects such as number, shape, pattern, measures, calculation etc.

Parents/teachers can check on the child’s progress and also any areas of difficulty.

Overalll a fantastic resource which can provide years of support and interactive learning.

Fabulous phonics and other games

Nessy.com produce fabulous learning games designed to be specifically suited to those with dyslexia but also suitable for all children.

Their award winning Hairy Phonics app is ideal for helping any young child with recognising and forming single letters through to 5 letter words. It is engaging and children feel rewarded for their achievements.

They also have times tables games, time games and a full reading and spelling programme as well as other resources which can be bought via their website.

Nessy have well structured and highly regarded resources which are well worth a look.

Ipad

Ipad

iPads are fantastic learning tools for your children. I have used educational apps successfully with both my daughters from age 4-8 and have also seen how well they can be used in school.
They offer an engaging and new approach to learning and often what a child achieves is way beyond your expectations.
The educational apps available are constantly evolving and becoming more and more geared to the UK primary market. Apps are often geared a specific age range e.g Ks1 and have various levels allowing your child to work at their own relevant level which is both accessible and challenging. Some apps even track your child’s progress.
One key point I would make is to enable the restrictions before handing over to any child so that you can be safe in the knowledge that the child is only viewing the content you deem appropriate. Personally I always switch off Safari, YouTube and only enable apps which are appropriate for the age of my children. It’s amazing how easily a young child can access countless YouTube videos!