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Learning News Week 5 Term 4

As Term 4 races to the finish line, the usual heartache and anxiety surrounding assignments and written reports begins to emerge! For many students, this time of year is a hard push to the end and having to submit a 500-word essay or story is equally as challenging. So what can you do at home to help?

Use these practical tips to support your son to work out the best way to express himself through his writing.
1. Help your son to understand writing tasks that they may have been given for homework. Ask them to talk about what has to be done.

2. Help your child to use reference materials such as dictionaries, thesauruses, our SharePoint (Britannica Online, Westcourt iCentre)

3. Before your child attempts a task, help them to understand what reference materials are needed by talking about the task and asking questions which will guide your child’s planning. Encourage him to visit the Library homepage which will link to multiple sources relevant to his year level and subject. http://library.atc.qld.edu.au/home

4. Draw your son’s attention to technical words in writing and discuss their meaning or look them up together in a dictionary.

5. Help your child to understand and use information in graphs, diagrams and pictures when they are researching a writing task.

6. Encourage your child to use different types of paper for planning and writing and to use pens, pencils, crayons and markers.

Finally, ask him to read what he has written aloud to you. Here are four reasons this proofreading technique will change your son’s writing life:
1. Proofreading Aloud Helps with Grammar
When you read your piece out loud you are able to pause where you would naturally, and that is where you know you need some sort of punctuation or pause. Other times you read out loud and may realize that you haven’t taken a breath in a while. There you may discover a run-on sentence that needs splitting up.

2. Proofreading Aloud Reveals Holes
When you read your piece out loud you begin to find places with missing information. It happens to all of us. We, as the writer, assume our readers know what we’re talking about, so we leave out obvious information. Truth is, they don’t know, and reading out loud shows us places we haven’t been clear enough.

3. Proofreading Aloud Avoids Awkward Word Placement
Have you ever read something out loud and had to re-read a phrase or sentence multiple times? That is often due to awkward word placement. We don’t want our readers tripping over their tongues; reading out loud points out these phrases and allows us to fix them.

4. Proofreading Aloud Fights Repetitive Words
We all have them—words we can’t help but use over and over again. The first time I tried this technique I realized I had repeated the same word in five consecutive sentences. When you read aloud, those words become easier to spot and fix.

Mrs Lisa Holohan, Head of Humanities
holohanl@atc.qld.edu.au