3 ways you can improve your child’s literacy and numeracy skills at home

Mother teaching child maths (PHOTO: Getty Images)
Mother teaching child maths (PHOTO: Getty Images)

Parents go out of their way to find the best and suitable schools for their children, but unfortunately, some parents don’t afford the fees at some of the elite schools in the country.

 Academic expert, Alfred Khumalo, says the fundamental base of a child’s education is what the child learns at home. He says parents can also play the teacher’s role at home.


According to Alfred, the first couple of years of reading are crucial for your child.

“Reading exposes your child to new ideas and new worlds, and their imagination grows. Talk about reading, so that your child ends up valuing it. As your child goes through primary school, they will start speaking with more fluency and with better knowledge.”

Here are tips to foster more fluent speaking:

·       Continue to involve your child when discussing everyday activities, such as grocery shopping, cooking dinner, doing house chores and travelling.

·       Try to ask your child detailed questions about their day. A ‘how was your day?’ will likely get a single word reply. Ask specific questions like ‘what is the book you are reading in class about?’ or ‘what did you do at school today?’


·       Involve your child in your discussions about the day’s events or current events. Ask their opinion. This helps them understand different perspectives and increases their vocabulary.

“Even though these tips may help you, showing a genuine interest in your child’s reading and writing will motivate them to continue learning. Talking about words can create meaningful discussions and help your child to see them as important.”


As your child moves through primary school, they will begin writing longer creative pieces, writing in different genres and exploring non-fiction and persuasive writing.

Alfred explains that giving your child tasks such as rewriting old family recipes, grocery shopping lists and birthday cards will polish their skills.

“Children often ask questions on whatever they are writing, to get a greater understanding of words and to build their vocabulary.”


Alfred says you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to teach your child basic numeracy. “We all know the basics of adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing numbers, because we use them in our everyday life.

Getting your child involved helps build the fundamental understanding of numeracy.” Mathematician Liesl Silverman shares a few activities that you can do at home to improve your child’s numeracy skills. Grocery shopping: Comparing prices and discussing budgeting will help your child to understand the importance of maths, numbers and quantities.

Time: Getting your child a digital or analogue watch will teach them how to tell the time.

“Maths today is not about learning by repetition. Today, the emphasis is on identifying that there are many ways to get an answer, and being able to explain how and why you chose the approach you did. Be cautious when your child participates in these activities. Expecting your child to work quickly on maths can cause maths anxiety. Try to focus on the process and not the outcome,” says Alfred.

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