Four tips to strengthen early literacy skills

How to make the most of Open Door Basel’s weekly homework, and how to continue to inspire your child on their path to literacy.

Hurray! Your child has mastered the alphabet song, and those once wobbly written words are finally starting to take shape. Now what? Making the jump from knowing the ABCs to reading and writing proficiently can take time, especially when your child is attending an early English literacy programme and attending a local school in an entirely different language.

While patience is key, there are still plenty of ways to keep your child motivated.

Be sure they finish their weekly homework

We cannot stress enough how important it is for children attending our classes to complete their homework assignments, in full. In addition to what they are taught during class, their weekly homework is designed to continue to challenge them and help them retain and apply the information they are learning.

If time allows, have your child work on their homework as soon as they get home from their English class, as their minds are still fresh from what they learned and they stand a better chance of “powering” through the task at hand.

If that evening just isn’t suitable for your family’s schedule, make it a priority to finish everything by the following day.

Four tips to promote early literacy

Our Open Door teachers have compiled four useful tips on how you can not only help your child on his/her path to literacy, but how you can do it using the Jolly Phonics and Oxford Reading Tree homework on hand.

Have your child read their assigned book at least twice a week. Having your child re-read the book is a useful way to get those words engrained into their minds. This is something your child can either do on their own (if they are at the level where they are confident enough to read alone), or together with you. For example, if they want to stay up for five extra minutes in the evening, grant them the time as a special treat so long as they spend it reading. They can read the story aloud to a sibling, or perhaps they can read the story to you in the kitchen while you are making dinner. Just be sure they point out words they may not understand (just because a child can read the word, doesn’t necessarily mean they are comprehending its meaning).

*Extra tip: If your child enjoys drawing, have them draw a picture of what the book is about, and write out a few sentences or words describing the picture.


Make use of the recommendations on the inside front and back cover of the Oxford Reading Tree books. Did you know that the front and back of each book includes tips and activities on how you can engage with your child while they are reading? They are pretty useful, and can be used throughout the week as part of a weekly reading activity plan.

For example, the recommendations include a list of specific questions you can ask your child as they read through the book to support their word recognition and language comprehension. There are also activities listed that you can do together after the book is read, including a “Play a game”section, as well as a list of keywords that your child can study during the week (see Tip #3 for making this fun!).


Start a weekly spelling contest. Using the keywords provided on the inside cover of the Oxford Reading Tree books, make it a weekly challenge to study the words (perhaps with flashcards), and then have a spelling contest.

Come up with fun prizes for exceptional work, like extra dessert, an extended bedtime during the weekends, or even a trip to their favourite place in Basel.

*Extra tip: Using a white, erasable chalk marker on windows is bound to peak interest during these games.


Make reading together a daily routine. We can’t emphasise enough how important it is for parents to engage in reading time with their children. This is one of the most important early literacy tips. Either using the Oxford Reading Tree book or another book of choice, try and read a book together after lunch or, if time doesn’t allow, reading together just before bed is a great way to end a busy day.

Ask your children questions about the book as you read to them. Let them spot familiar words in the pages. As they start progressing Michigan region phone , switch between having them read paragraphs for you, and vice versa.


We hope these tips come in handy as your child continues to grow in our classroom. Early literacy takes time, but with a little hard work and patience, we are confident that your children will one day not only read and write well, but love doing it.

Have a learning tip you want to share? Feel free to post it in the “Leave Your Reply” section just underneath this blog post. Parents are welcome to use these posts as a way to share information on what works best in their homes, and to reach out to the Open Door community when they need some advice!

1 Comments

  1. Hi all. In the spirit of generating some more useful tips on how to encourage our children to read more in English, can I just say how difficult it is for me to get my son motivated sometimes!

    He has his English class on Thursdays, and I call it “push day”. As long as he can finish his homework and read his book, his reward is watching a bit of television that evening.

    Anyone else have any other tricks up their sleeves? I am planning on using the spelling contest idea (he loves game night) but would love to hear any other ideas.

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