I may seem quiet, but my mind is busy.

Over recent years, being an extrovert, has been seen increasingly as a desirable personality trait, and the more reflective and thoughtful nature of introverts considered less appealing. However, introverts have many valuable and unsung strengths. These talents will include: –

  • Good listening skills.

Introverts make good listeners because they are able to focus on what is being said without feeling the need to promote themselves or their opinions.

  • Creative thinking.

Introverts are imaginative as a result of spending time alone with their thoughts. Their creativity is unaffected by any need to be in the limelight, enabling them to be experimental without worrying about error or failure. 

  • Excellent written communication.

Many introverts prefer to put their ideas in writing and, since they will have thought things through and paid close attention to detail, their written communication will be clear and concise.

  • Strong skills of observation.

Introverts will look before they leap. Such caution has numerous advantages, for example, observing the behaviour of others before interacting with them. In addition to the individual’s conversation, they will notice their body language and facial expression, all of which will help them to communicate more effectively. 

  • A capacity for deep thinking.

The introvert will take time to consider issues from different angles. They tend to listen rather than talk, speaking when they have something meaningful to contribute to a discussion, rather than for the pleasure of hearing their own voice. 

  • Independence of thought.

Introverts make decisions based on their own opinions, rather than follow the crowd. They don’t do things merely in order to fit in.

  • Leadership strengths.

Introverts make popular leaders. They don’t crave the spotlight, and so can focus on listening to others, and supporting and developing everyone’s ideas.

  • An ability to work independently.

Introverts need personal space. They are self-motivated and happy to work independently without supervision. 

Top tips for effective communication with ASD pupils

  1. A suitable environment is a requisite for communication with these children. They will experience sensory distractions in a noisy, busy classroom that will make successful communication impossible. 
  2. Keep instructions short and simple. Be specific and focus on the essential. Use visual aids to support any complicated information, adding bullet points, colour, numbers and underlining to make written communication as clear as possible.
  3. Be clear and concise with verbal messages, avoiding any temptation to fill gaps in the conversation with small talk.
  4. Ensure your body language reinforces verbal messages, rather than contradicts them. 
  5. Use the student’s name to alert them to a particular need to pay close attention. ‘Josh, this is really important, so listen carefully.’
  6. Take ‘brain’ breaks if the student has been concentrating for a long period of time.
  7. Technology provides helpful alternative or additional communication aids: a PC,  laptop, smartphone or tablet. 
  8. Pause regularly when delivering a complex message or series of facts. If necessary, use the breaks to check the student’s understanding.
  9. Allow the student additional time to process information and to react. Respond positively to any requests for clarification.
  10. Ask the ASD student how they prefer to communicate knowledge. Do they like to discuss, to email or to write an essay; to learn in pairs, with a few friends, or in a larger group of like minded pupils.
  11. Be patient and kind. Accept that a student’s directness does not necessarily equal deliberate rudeness.
  12. Have agreed strategies that all students use to join in a discussion, for example, raising their hand. If you sense that a student has something to say, acknowledge them, and ask for their contribution.

Inclusion and The Neurodiverse Pupil

Neurodiverse children include those with autistic traits, ADHD, dyslexia, dyspraxia and dyscalculia. Although each pupil is an individual, the barriers to their learning will be similar.

Barrier 1 = Limited understanding of neurodivergence in schools. 

Accommodation = Awareness raising in schools is essential if these pupils are to have a positive educational experience.

Barrier 2 = Sensory processing issues. 

Accommodation = Adaptation for sensory processing difficulties as standard procedure in every classroom: noise reducing headphones, coloured handouts for pupils who experience visual stress, a relaxed approach to school uniform, and an appreciation that some pupils will find that artificial lighting, noisy playgrounds, the smells in labs and busy lunch queues heighten their anxiety.

Barrier 3 = Degrees of sociability.

Accommodation = An acceptance that not all pupils enjoy socialising, with many preferring to spend time alone or with a few friends. Schools need to provide these children with safe, quiet spaces.

Barrier 4 = A tendency to emphasise traditional abilities and talents. 

Accommodation = An increased appreciation of a wide range of skills, for example, practical, musical, sporting, dramatic, interpersonal, artistic, social, linguistic and technological ability. 

Barrier 5 = An emphasis on traditional approaches to teaching and assessment.

Accommodation = Appropriate differentiation in every lesson and subject. 

Barrier 6 = An emphasis on good secretarial skills in the classroom

Accommodation = IT to be available for all pupils: word processing, text to speech and speech to text software; the use of smartphones for research; alarms and alerts to help with organisation and time management.

Barrier 7 = Misunderstandings over communication and interaction.

Accommodation = Pupils are not shy, disengaged or intellectually challenged if their response is slower than that of their peers. Allow the child extra processing time and give warnings before asking them a question. Many pupils have a lot of good ideas they find hard to explain if put on the spot, but when allowed time can structure their thoughts more concisely.

Listen to what the pupil says, rather than how they say it. Accept that being direct isn’t necessarily being deliberately rude. 

Do not assume a child is not listening because they are not looking directly at the adult or are doodling; this is how some pupils maintain their focus. 

If a pupil struggles with unspoken social rules, be proactive and explain the less obvious norms of social behaviour.

Barrier 8 = An emphasis on desk learning.

Accommodation = Not every child is able to sit still and concentrate throughout every lesson; many will need movement breaks. 

Forest schools and outdoor learning can be particularly engaging for neurodivergent children. 

Barrier 9 = A weak working memory.

Accommodation = The use of visual aids to support learning: bullet points on the whiteboard as memory prompts, times tables grids, cloze worksheets, notebooks for rough work, crib sheets, reminders and alarms on electronic devices, and so on.

Barrier 10 = Overwhelming anxiety.

Accommodation = Reduce uncertainty, and establish routines and rules. Give pupils warning of any changes. 

Consistency is important: if you say that you’ll do something, do it. 

Be sensitive towards any individual areas of weakness. For example, when reading aloud in class, allow children the choice of whether to read or not, and the amount of text they read. The weak reader who hates reading aloud will learn nothing when forced to do so: their panic and embarrassment will be all consuming. 

Approaches that make a difference for the neurodivergent pupil, make a difference for all pupils.

Why the ASD child masks in school

When the child with ASD represses their emotions and adapts their behaviour to meet the expectations of others, they are said to be masking. Most young people with ASD mask at school to hide their high levels of anxiety from adults and peers. Masking for any length of time is exhausting, and can lead to angry outbursts or silent withdrawal when the young person gets home and relaxes.

What triggers anxiety in school?

  • Sensory challenges. 

The majority of children with ASD have sensory processing issues and schools can easily tip a pupil into sensory overload, with smells from the dining room, scratchy uniforms, bright strip lighting, noise and the constant contact with others all making a contribution. 

Most of the children know when they are beginning to experience sensory overload, and may try to remove themselves from the situation in order to self-regulate. This opportunity to self-calm may be refused by inexperienced teaching staff.

  • Communication problems, for example, when working in groups.

Children with ASD have communication and interaction challenges. They are unsure of when it is acceptable to enter a conversation, to make a joke or when a discussion has moved on. Working in groups simply offers yet another opportunity to inadvertently offend your peers. Teachers will need to structure groups carefully and flexibly, and define each pupil’s specific role within the group. 

  • The school environment. 

The school environment can be an ASD child’s nightmare: narrow, bustling corridors full of noisy pupils, crowded exits and entrances, busy, chaotic playgrounds and open plan teaching areas with very few quiet areas for the child to self-calm. Pupils with ASD will appreciate the provision of peaceful and safe spaces. 

  • Unpredictable situations.

Children with ASD like predictability. They do not like surprises. Any changes of room, class, teaching staff or timetable will unsettle the child and may leave them agitated for the rest of the day. They will need advanced warning of any change to routine.

  • The co-morbidity of Specific Learning Difficulties and a spiky profile.

Many children with ASD also experience dyslexia, ADHD, dyspraxia or dyscalculia. 

Neurodivergent individuals will have extreme strengths and extreme weaknesses. The stereotypical ‘little professor’ being the perfect example of a child who is adult in their speech and language, but incapable of kicking a ball. Every child needs to be treated as an individual.

  • Social problems with peers. 

Many ASD young people can seem rude or anti-social. They tend to not enjoy chatting or making small talk. They want to be friendly, but simply don’t know how.

  • A lack of appreciation of the role of ‘special interests’.

Most autistic children have special interests that are extremely important to them. Engaging in their interests helps them to self-regulate, handle stress and anxiety, and can be helpful socially if they connect with peers who enjoy the same hobbies. They may even forge a successful and satisfying career using their specialist knowledge. It will help if schools can recognise and work with the child’s interests.

  • A misunderstanding of the purpose of stimming.

Stimming involves the repetitive movement or action that help the ASD child to self-regulate. While many neurotypical people will tap their foot or click a pen whilst thinking, stimming is more than this for the child with ASD. They need to stim to comfort and regulate themselves. Common stimming habits include humming or repeating certain words or phrases.

Support for ASD children in school must be based around understanding, flexibility and personal choice. They are not the only pupils who appreciate: quiet time, individual rather than team sports, to be alone rather than forced to socialise, a comfortable uniform, smaller dining areas, staggered breaks, natural light and fresh air flow in classrooms. 

A little compassion and empathy will go a long way towards reducing the child’s need to mask.


To assess, or not assess, that is the question.

Many parents find it difficult to decide whether or not to have their child assessed for a Specific Learning Difficulty such as dyslexia, ADHD, dyspraxia or Aspergers Syndrome. Some parents prefer their child not to have a diagnosis because they do not want them to be labelled. Other parents might feel that a diagnosis will help others to understand the child’s strengths and weaknesses, and the impact this has on their performance and behaviour. 

The decision will depend on several factors, for example: the severity of the child’s difficulty, the type of school they attend, the level of support the parents can provide, and the impact of any difficulty upon the child’s mental health. 

 One child may have moderate dyslexia, but their school is dyslexia friendly, their parents supportive and knowledgeable, the child outgoing and confident, popular with peers and adults alike. The child may have talents in specific areas: design, sport, science, art, drama or creative writing to boost their self-esteem. In such a case the parents may feel that dyslexia could be viewed as a personality trait, more of an inconvenience than a handicap, an irritating weakness that requires the child to work hard and devise strategies to help themselves: both useful skills for life.

Another child may experience similar levels of dyslexia, but attend a less supportive school, have less knowledgeable parents, be shy and less willing to self-advocate. In such a case, the parents may decide they would like the child to have the protection of an EHC plan, and so press for an assessment.

Even if the assessment does not give a definite diagnosis, it is likely that any child judged to require an assessment will be placed somewhere on the spectrum of ASD, dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia or ADHD. This increased understanding of the child will give everyone involved, (parents, child and school), an improved insight into what the child requires by way of support. Knowledge is power.

Several positives can emerge from an assessment for a Specific Learning Difficulty: –

  • For the school: – Although support in school is not based on a child having a diagnosis, an assessment will enable teaching staff to understand the child’s strengths and weaknesses in more detail. This can be particularly important if the child has complex needs that interact. 
  • For the child: – The child may welcome an explanation for the difficulties they experience, and why they feel different to their peers.
  • For the parents: – An assessment will help the parent to understand their child better, to be supportive in a more appropriate way, and to be able to plan for the child’s future schooling.

How to help the child with ADHD

The behaviour of a child with ADHD can be exasperating, but is not deliberate. Adult help with problem solving is important if the child is to find ways to circumnavigate their difficulties: – 

  1. Stop fidgeting. Why can’t you sit still? 

Movement helps the child with ADHD to concentrate. In addition to lots of opportunities for physical activity and sport to use up excess energy, encourage regular movement breaks in order to re-focus. Suggest ways to fidget discreetly that will not irritate others: rolling a piece of blu-tack, paperclip or a small stone between the fingers, doodling or chewing gum.

  1. Why do you leave everything until the last minute?

When children with ADHD are given a long list of things to do, they may not know where to start, be overwhelmed and so do nothing. Breaking tasks down into smaller parts will make the activity seem less daunting. Help the child to use the alarm on their phone as a timer to tell them when they must finish breakfast, leave the house for school, go to revision club, get ready for Saturday morning football, and so on. Demonstrate the use of visual aids, for example, checklists written on whiteboards so the child can rub out completed tasks and have a visual reminder of what still needs to be done. Leave check and tick lists around the house in places where they will be obvious, perhaps on the bedroom door, by the light switch, on the fridge or bathroom mirror.

  1. Your room is always such a mess.

Be specific and set the child one task. ‘Put your Lego back in the Lego box please.’ ‘Could you put the dirty clothes into the laundry basket please.’ Provide lots of storage in their bedroom, and encourage the child to spend a couple of minutes every day tidying one thing in their room, perhaps just putting stationery or books in a cupboard.

  1. Why do you interrupt people all the time? 

The child may blurt out their own ideas, appearing rude and dismissive of anyone else’s thoughts. Teach the child to practise not interrupting: to listen and echo back what people are saying. If they can manage to do this for the first five minutes of a conversation, they will feel more relaxed and less likely to jump into discussions because they are nervous.

  1. Your writing is so untidy.

Experiment with different types of pens. Which pen makes your writing look neat? Write on every other line of file paper to separate tall and tailed letters. Write on one side of the paper to avoid a shadow from writing on the other side. 

Word-process work. In addition to improving presentation, the child can then email work to teachers, as well as saving copies of their work in case they misplace originals.  

  1. Why on earth did you do that?

Punishments for poor behaviour tend not to work because the child is not deliberately misbehaving. Catch the child being sensible and thoughtful, and respond with positive feedback. Their self-control will be better in the morning and will diminish as the day goes on, therefore anything demanding focus and concentration will be accomplished to a higher standard in the first half of the day. 

Good sleep habits are important for the child with ADHD. Tiredness will add to their general problem with focus.

  1. You can concentrate if you try.

The child may be able to hyperfocus on things that interest them for long periods of time. This will make it seem as if the child is simply being lazy when they lose concentration with the everyday mundane. Incorporating their own interests into activities can improve focus and attention. 

  1. Why can’t you look after your belongings.

The child with ADHD is certain to lose belongings, so label everything. The situation will not improve if adults get cross; it is preferable to help the child problem solve. Provide lots of labelled files and boxes in their bedroom. Keep lists of friend’s phone numbers. Keep spares of everything in several places: spare Maths equipment in their school locker, schoolbag and at home: spare timetables in their locker, school bag and at home. 

Develop habits, then even when the child is distracted, they will be more likely to do behave automatically. I always look at my timetable in the morning as I clean my teeth. My lunch pass always in the inside pocket of my jacket, my bus pass always in front pocket of my school bag, my keys always in zipped pocket inside my school bag. 

  1. Why are you always late?  

Teach the child how to set reminders and alarms on their phone or watch. Encourage them to ask others to help: perhaps a reliable friend could offer reminders, or check on their whereabouts and state of readiness.

  1. Listen to what I’m saying.

The child with ADHD will be distracted by everything, lights flickering, a wasp at the window, feeling hungry, sleepy or uncomfortable. They are distracted by their own thoughts with ideas circulating constantly in their head. If it is essential for the child to listen to an instruction, say their name, engage eye contact, give the instruction as succinctly as possible, ask the child to repeat the instruction in their own words to show that they have understood, then ask them again in 5 minutes. For added support, provide the child with a notebook to keep in their pocket to jot down instructions, tasks and timings. 

ADHD, Dopamine & Women

Many women with ADHD are mis-diagnosed as having anxiety, depression or a mood / personality disorder rather than ADHD. One of the reasons for these mis-diagnoses is the hormonal fluctuations that complicate a woman’s ADHD presentation. 

Studies suggest that people with ADHD have an imbalance of chemicals in their brain. One of these chemicals is dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, (a chemical that sends signals between nerves in the body) Research shows that the brains of individuals with ADHD do not release dopamine in adequate amounts, resulting in the typical ADHD difficulties with emotional regulation, self-control, organisation, motivation, time management, memory and attention. 

The menstrual cycle and ADHD

Levels of dopamine in the female brain are regulated by oestrogen and progesterone hormones. During the first half of the menstrual cycle, the average woman’s level of oestrogen is high, progesterone is low and dopamine is high. During the second half of the cycle, the average woman’s level of oestrogen is low, progesterone is high and dopamine levels drop. This drop in dopamine will have a bigger impact on women with ADHD because of their already low levels of the chemical.  This drop will affect each individual differently, but can exacerbate such symptoms as: –

  • Emotional regulation. The woman may become irritated by apparently minor issues, and lose her temper quickly.
  • Self-control and impulsivity. The individual may indulge in risky behaviours or find it impossible to, for example, keep to a diet plan.
  • Anxiety. Daily life becomes more problematic. The woman finds it harder to concentrate, doesn’t sleep well, and has difficulty focusing on work or motivating herself. 

Additional fluctuations in hormone levels during puberty, adolescence, pregnancy and the menopause, will mean that this will be an ongoing problem for some women from their teenage years to late middle age.

How to help yourelf.

  1. Identify your own areas of difficulty. Do your research around your own specific problems. Find out how other women cope. Knowledge is power.
  2. When speaking to medical professionals, bear in mind that you have the  comprehensive understanding of your own symptoms, both previous and current. Be proactive and prepared to question professionals about your diagnoses and any treatment they suggest.
  3. Investigate ADHD medication. Medication is used to improve the balance of neuro-transmitters such as dopamine in the brain. Stimulants like Ritalin, help to balance dopamine release and ensure a steady supply to the individual’s nervous system.
  4. Be open about difficulties with your partner, family, friends and work colleagues to enable them to be supportive and to anticipate and understand any mood swings.
  5. Time spent in activity that the individual finds relaxing and enjoyable is known to increase dopamine levels: yoga, gardening, painting, walking, meditation, listening to music, sewing, doing jig-saws, spending time outdoors or reading. 
  6. Organise yourself during those times when you are at your most efficient to prepare for those times when you find things more challenging. Use IT to create systems to help you with organisation, planning, time keeping and routine.
  7. When you are feeling irritable, use email rather than the phone or speaking face to face. Communicating by email will give you time to reply in a measured, reasonable manner, as well as acting as a backup for your memory. 
  8. Studies show that physical activity increases the release of dopamine, so take regular movement breaks. Walk round the block at lunchtime, walk up the stairs rather than use the lift, walk to the second bus stop rather than use the closest one.
  9. Exercise regularly: play badminton or tennis, swim, go for a walk or a bike ride, join a fitness, Pilates, dance or yoga class, jog around the block.
  10. Try to ensure you get adequate amounts of sleep. 
  11. Maintain a healthy diet. Protein rich foods like fish, eggs, nuts and lean meat are used by the body to make neuro-transmitters such as dopamine. 
  12. Become an advocate for women. Promote a greater appreciation of women’s issues in schools, the work place and society generally.

Winners of the ‘Happiness is…’ competition

I had such an amazing reaction to my ‘Happiness is…’ competition – over 50 amazing entries! A huge thank you to all who took the time to enter. I have so enjoyed looking through these colourful and hugely artistic entries, and it was extremely hard to pick the winners, so hard in fact that I added 3 more winner prizes.

I am excited to share the winners with you all, so you can enjoy the sheer happiness of the entries too.

Congratulations to all who won, I will be contacting you all to arrange sending your hoody prizes.

All the best,

Pat Guy

Picture 1. Ethan Guo – 7 years. Happiness is creating my own board games.

Picture 2. Christian Swinn – 5 years. Happiness is lots of things.

Picture 3. Rachel Zhao – 5 years. Happiness is flying.

Picture 3. Rachel Zhao – 5 years. Happiness is flying.

Picture 4. Yiyi Zhong – 6 years. Happiness is making  breakfast for Mum.

Picture 4. Yiyi Zhong – 6 years. Happiness is making  breakfast for Mum.

Picture 5. Yishi Zhong – 8 years. Happiness is redesigning iPad games.

Picture 6. Emma Lau – 7 years. Happiness is drawing pictures.

Picture 7. Isabella Amatsari – 11 years. Happiness is the colour of a morning sunrise.

Picture 8. Rosie Zhang – 7 years. Happiness is being with my family.

Aren’t they just WONDERFUL?

Pupils should not be defined by their secretarial skills

Children learn to read and write at primary school. All Key Stage One and Two lessons will have some element that is designed to develop the pupils’ literacy skills. 

  • Primary teacher training courses have a strong literacy component. Primary teachers become literacy specialists because of this training and their subsequent classroom experience. 
  • Primary teachers teach the same class for a year and get to know the children well. They will understand that different children learn in different ways and will vary their approaches to teaching literacy accordingly.
  • Primary schools have an extensive range of literacy resources, games and computer programmes, in addition to reading material to suit every pupil: the competent reader needing to be challenged, as well as the struggling or reluctant reader.
  • Most primary classrooms have timetabled support from Teaching Assistants, who are available to help individuals and small groups with literacy. These Teaching Assistants tend to be linked to the same class or year group, and will know individual children well.

In secondary schools, pupils use literacy to access curriculum subjects. Secondary teachers are not literacy specialists, they are subject specialists. Secondary subject teachers in mainstream schools will not have time to focus on a pupil’s literacy needs during lessons, as the curriculum content of their subject, be it Design, History, Drama, Biology, etc, will take priority.  

Pupils in secondary school with weak literacy skills may be withdrawn for ‘catch-up’ lessons, perhaps being taught reading and writing in ways that haven’t worked for them previously. These catch-up lessons may take place after school when pupils are tired, or at lunch time when they need to take a break from studies. They may have to drop subjects, or be withdrawn from subjects they enjoy to attend support lessons. This may be in spite of the pupils having an average or above average IQ.

If children continue to experience difficulties with literacy when they transfer to secondary school, the focus should be on finding ways around such problems. There is a balance to be struck between the child reaching a level of functional literacy, achieving the qualifications they are capable of, and maintaining reasonable levels of self-esteem. The support focus is misdirected if a pupil attends a Nurture Group to boost their confidence, when their low self-esteem is due to inadequate literacy levels.

There is no need for pupils to be held back by weak secretarial skills in a technological age. Extra lessons in basic literacy should be dropped in favour of assistive technology used in mainstream classes: speech recognition software, text to speech software, mind mapping apps, note taking apps, electronic calendars, smart phones apps and so forth. A.T. will allow pupils the opportunity to work at a level close to their potential rather than bang their head against the same brick wall.

‘The Times They Are a–Changing’ – Bob Dylan.

It’s only words…

Current research confirms that lockdown had a significant impact on children’s language development. A survey of schools across England revealed an increased number of four- and five-year-olds needing support with language. Of the 58 primary schools surveyed, 76% of headteachers said that children starting school in September 2020 needed more assistance with their verbal communication than had been necessary in previous years.

The acquisition of an adequate vocabulary is an essential part of language development. There is already known to be a wide variation of language experience between different groups of children. For example, some eight-year-olds will have a vocabulary of 7,000 words, while others will have a vocabulary of 3,000 words. Such a discrepancy disadvantages some children from an early age. By the time these eight-year-olds are eleven and starting secondary school, they will need a vocabulary of 9,000 words to access the secondary curriculum. When pupils can understand the words they read in formal texts or hear in classroom discussions, they are free to focus on the overall meaning of what is being read or discussed. 

To help children extend their vocabulary: –

  1. Talk with the children. All children learn words through discussion, especially when listening to and participating in conversations with adults. Even if they are only hearing conversational words, this will provide them with a solid foundation to build on.
  2. The easiest way for any child to develop their vocabulary is through reading. Reading enables the child’s personal word bank to expand gradually with regular reinforcement and repetition. This creates a virtuous circle. The more the child reads, the better their vocabulary becomes. The better their vocabulary, the more complex the texts they can tackle, which in turn exposes them to additional complex words. 
  3. If children find age-appropriate texts difficult to read, encourage them to listen to material on CDs or the internet. Use text-to-speech facilities on devices to read the texts aloud. Encourage the child to click on any unknown words for dictionary definitions.
  4. Play word games: crosswords, anagrams and word quizzes. Think of as many animals, countries, place names, pieces of scientific apparatus, vegetables, musical instruments, etc, beginning with a letter of the alphabet in two minutes. It is always useful to link any new vocabulary to groups of known words, for example, names of countries beginning with ‘I’: add the new country ‘Indonesia’ to the already known countries of Ireland, India, Israel and Italy.
  5. Watch television with sub-titles. Children often mishear words and mispronounce them, which may lead to embarrassing errors. If they have the opportunity to see the word as it is spoken, they will be more likely to recognise it and pronounce it correctly when they see it again.
  6. Point out the more obvious suffixes and prefixes to help work out the meanings of unknown words. Aqua meaning water links with: aquarium, aqueduct, aquatic and Aqua-park, so sub-aqua will be something to do with being under water. The ‘tri’ in triceratops, triangle and tricycle relates to the number three: three horns, three sides and three wheels, so tripod will mean three legs.
  7. Read material to them that would be too difficult for them to read by themselves, perhaps articles from the newspaper that you think might interest them. Explain some of the more complex words as you read.
  8. Read non-fiction books, and children’s newspapers and magazines to expose the child to technical and topic specific words. It will seem more natural to discuss unfamiliar vocabulary when reading information and subject specific books aloud.
  9. Raise awareness of proverbs. An understanding of common proverbs helps children understand the concept of ‘reading between the lines’. For example, the proverb, ‘Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill’, isn’t telling you to go digging, but to not exaggerate the size of a problem you are facing.  
  10. Share puns and jokes, nonsense poems and limericks. Puns that humorously interchange the meanings of words, (such as those found in Christmas crackers), are particularly useful.