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Kirrawee High School

Kirrawee High School

Telephone02 9521 2099

English Faculty


It is that time of year again when NAPLAN is underway for our Year 7 and 9 students. Each year, this often inspires many parents and caretakers to start asking important questions about how to help their children to develop their literacy skills and succeed in English. For many parents, caretakers and students alike, these questions can be quite overwhelming. However, there are a number of simple strategies that can be adopted into the weekly household routine that can significantly support our students and help them along in their literacy and English learning journeys.

1. Talk to them about their English homework and classwork.

This can include supporting them in the completion of their fortnightly spelling homework (juniors only), talking to them about the texts they are studying in class, and reading over their homework tasks and assessment preparation. Having someone to 'bounce' ideas around with can be an enormous help for many of our students.

2. Talk about, and model reading at home.

Reluctant readers are becoming more and more prevalent as the humble novel competes with the likes of social media and devices. However, studies confirm that one of the strongest catalysts for teenagers that read for enjoyment are those who have it modelled at home. One of the best ways to do this is to find a novel that both you and your child enjoy and read them at the same time. This will give you lots to discuss and enable you both to share your opinions about characters, the plot and the writing. Alternatively, if YA Fiction might not be for you, read different texts but do so at the same time in the evenings and build it into the household routine - before bed is often a great way to improve sleep quality, too!

For those students who may need a step in between before picking up a novel, comic books, graphic novels, magazines and short story anthologies are more accessible options. And if you really don't know where to start, ask your child's English teacher for some recommendations! We love 'nerding out' over books.

3. Watch the news and talk about current affairs at home

One of the most significant barriers for students when they are developing their conceptual learning in English is a lack of knowledge about the world around them. Many of our texts require students to think critically and reflectively about world issues and this can be very difficult if they are hearing about this topic for the first time in class! Watching or listening to the news together and talking about (age appropriate) current events is a great way to increase our children's worldliness and develop their communication skills. It also helps build their confidence in forming their own opinions and perspectives, which are valuable skills that they will need both in life and for the English HSC.

4. Seek additional support

If you notice that your child struggles with aspects of English and/or their literacy skills, early intervention is often key. Many families decide to wait until Year 11 or Year 12 to engage in private tutoring or external support, which is often not ideal, as students are already balancing content and skill development by this stage. Instead, we recommend a proactive approach in the earlier years to address any issues with students' skills (reading, writing, spelling etc.) so that these are addressed prior to their senior years. However, engaging this level of support in senior years can still be very valuable for students who require more one-on-one intervention. Many of our ex-Kirrawee students go on to offer tutoring services and many other experienced tutors will often advertise on local community pages on Facebook and in The Leader.

And of course, reach out to your child's English teacher if you have any specific concerns and come and speak to us at events such as Parent Teacher Night to discuss their progress. 

So, here's to developing our students' love for English. We love doing this in the classroom and greatly appreciate your support on the home-front!