Communication skills are vital for a functional society. Now, more than ever, we need to be able to sort fact from fiction, opinion from reality, and sensation from the ordinary. How do we do this? By reading, writing and speaking. These three form the focus of literacy in the Primary School Years.
The focus of reading in the primary years is on the decoding of symbols and their meaning. Early reading tends to match pictures with words, allowing the child to connect what is seen with what is written. A problem that often occurs here is that the image, the word, and the sound do not match. How to make the sound of the word when reading aloud can be problematic. Our reliable and knowledgeable tutors help with this by reading with a child and helping them learn word-attack strategies. Strategies include breaking words into syllables, looking at the shape of words and learning the sounds of letter groups.
The ability to decode and attack words is a vital element of learning to write. We start with learning to spell an array of words. A student needs to learn sight words and use phonic insights to understand words to the best advantage accurately. In a one-one tutoring session, a student may start work on the short ‘a’ sound. Groups of letters using the sound are gradually expanded. This process works with all vowel sounds and means that a student can work on word families rather than learning thousands of individual words. However, some words need to be remembered as they are.
The English language is a complex array of words drawn from at least five sources. Some have silent letters, and others change their meaning according to the context in which they are found. Does this sound confusing? It is. For example, the word wound can mean either damage to the skin or that someone used a winding motion. It is spelt the same but sounds different according to the sentence in which it is written. English tutoring helps a student learn the difference between the two.
Spelling is an underpinning skill of writing. During the primary school years, a student learns to put words together. Alongside spelling sits grammar. This topic includes the differentiation between terms such as verbs, nouns, pronouns, adjectives and adverbs. Whole chapters of books are devoted to verbs, tenses and participles. Punctuation also comes under the heading of grammar. A tutoring session may include learning when to use capital letters, so the earlier development of writing both capital and lower-case letters is essential. Punctuation skills develop sequentially and sit alongside the development of complex sentences.
The development of sentence writing is vital for expressing ideas, thoughts and opinions. Students are expected to produce three kinds of writing by the end of primary school: Narrative, Persuasive, and Creative. All of them require a student to engage a reader’s attention, make a point, and then provide evidence for their point. The language that is used for each differs, as the purpose of each is different. Sometimes, students struggle to work out how to do this. An English tutor in Epping can assist them in organising their thoughts, structuring an outline and then proof-read what is written.
Spoken English is similar but not identical to written English. Phrasing and punctuation are not as evident in speaking, but the emphasis is. Students are required to present work that is done at home to teachers via an online platform. Remote tutoring can help with this. The written work must be done, but skills are required to reduce information to prompts and then speak confidently and clearly toward a camera or group. Practising with a trusted, reliable tutor gives a student an advantage.