The article below was published in the August – November 2016 edition of CITYLIFE:
How does your child measure up with the three Rs — reading, writing and arithmetic?
If you answer YES to one of the following, City Property’s tenant Edublox, can help:
- Is your child falling behind in class?
- Is homework a struggle?
- Is your child failing at school?
- Is your child battling to read?
- Is your child not grasping maths?
- Does your child struggle to concentrate?
What started as a preschool programme by her father, has grown into a business that has helped parents and children achieve academic success over the past thirty years, says Susan du Plessis, Director of Educational Programmes at Edublox. They are currently working on an online version, Edublox Online Tutor, which will make it even easier for children and parents to benefit from the programme. Du Plessis continues: “Learning is about building layers; much in the same way as you learn to play soccer. First you need to learn how to kick the ball, dribble, pass, head and then you get the hang of the game.” A child’s ability to read, write and do maths depends on a number of cognitive skills such as attention span, visual and auditory perception, sequential and working memory as well as logical thinking. “Make sure that these skills have been well developed,” urges Du Plessis, and shares easy tips for parents to help their children excel in the three Rs of learning.
Your child’s fluency in a language determines the ability to read. Speak to your child and explain what you are busy with while shopping, cooking, working in and around the house or while taking a walk in order to enhance your child’s vocabulary.
Read to your child as often as possible. Language develops through repetition. You can read the same book over and over again before moving to another book.
Teach them nursery rhymes to stimulate their brain and improve memory.
Do not rely on computer programs to solve your child’s reading problems. Technology can, however, be used later to broaden their horizons and teach them to speed-read.
Strengthen your child’s hands by crumpling papers to improve fine motor skills and to make writing easier. Use A4 scrap paper – give your child one sheet of paper for each hand. They must then simultaneously crumple both papers into tight balls. Crumple at least three sheets of paper per hand per day.
Other hand strengthening exercises to eventually assist with better handwriting is to throw and catch bean bags and to squeeze stress balls.
Make sure your child can count fluently – forwards as well as backwards.
Thereafter introduce skip counting – counting odd or even numbers only to develop fluency in calculation, number sense and as the basis of multiplication and division.
Count things everywhere: the shoes in your cupboard, the fruit in a fruit bowl, the people in a bus…
Besides language ability, concentration, perception, memory and logical thinking are foundational to reading. The following tips can help parents to develop the building blocks towards reading, writing and maths.
- Let your child build age-appropriate puzzles.
- Read longer and longer stories to them.
- Let you child play outside, which improves the ability to concentrate more than playing indoors.
Help your child to instinctively know left from right by naming body parts such as left hand, right foot, and play games to help a child understand terms such as over, under, inside, on top, next to, etc.
Play games where the child needs to remember things he has seen or heard. For example, a child at age three must be able to remember three numbers, a child of four must remember four numbers, etc. A child must be able to memorise six numbers to be able to start reading.
Improve logical thinking
Teach your child cause and result, e.g. if you have two colours and you keep them separate nothing will happen. Mix them, for example blue and yellow and they will turn to green.
Du Plessis mentions that in some cases perception and language ability can be compromised if a child has weak eyesight or a hearing disorder. She recommends that parents have their children’s eyesight and hearing tested before they go to school to make sure there are no physical problems.
With the upcoming exams Du Plessis wishes all learners from Grade 1 to matric well but cautions that 80% of what one has learnt one forgets within 24 hours. Learning is therefore a longer-term process and learners need to start preparing for their exams long in advance. Midnight cramming is not a long-term learning solution – it might just get you through one test!
Lebogang Mamadi’s success story
I would like to share the story of my little boy Lebogang Mamadi. He enrolled at Edublox after it was recommended by the school counsellor who said that Lebogang was displaying symptoms of ADHD and therefore needed some assistance. Lebogang was already in Term 3 of his Grade 3 academic year and he was not doing very well in his schoolwork, especially with his English reading and writing. Shortly after his enrolment, I noticed some improvements in terms of his handwriting – even though it was small, it was there. Then came 2015, Lebogang’s Grade 4 academic year. I was worried as I was not sure how he was going to cope, since the environment is not the same as in the junior phase. To my surprise, Lebogang’s progress was quite satisfactory. He always remembered to do his schoolwork, his handwriting and speech greatly improved; he truly gave his best. For the first time in his schooling years Lebogang managed to attend the 2015 school prize-giving event and received the school’s Academic Excellence Certificate for Afrikaans. Wow! That for me, was a highlight. My boy did it! He still needs a little help in organising himself but the improvement he has shown is really impressive. His mathematics skills also still need some work, but all in all I am happy with the progress my boy has made thus far. Thank you to all the Edublox team, who gave it their all to contribute to Lebogang’s great success.
Edublox contact details:
0861 338 2569