Date : April 15, 2019
NAPLAN is a time that’s often fraught for parents and children alike. The stress and the pressure of performing on the big day can be too much for some of our little learners. Uncertainty about expectations, a misunderstanding about the intention of the tests and the hyper-focus of some (thankfully not all) schools can leave little heads flustered and anxious.
There is space inside NAPLAN preparation, particularly to do with the reading and language convention tests, for parents to help alleviate some of the stress and make the tests a more enjoyable exploration of all things literacy.
What does the NAPLAN reading test involve?
Students will be given a range of reading materials covering different text types. This might take the form of a short newspaper article, a snippet from a story and a visual advertisement. They will then be asked comprehension questions about the text type which will form their analysis. These answers will be recorded into their accompanying booklet or online.
Parents can help at home with preparation for these tests. Reading to your child and then discussing content, character, motivation and themes is key to helping them develop their understanding. Ensure that your conversations are natural and light – many students will be sitting practice tests at school so differentiating between the two is key to forging a connection.
You can read delightful Australian classics like May Gibbs’ texts, the newspaper, articles in magazines, something from your own reading pile (if appropriate) – there is no boundary to literacy. Those little minds are capable of some big things so don’t hold back!
What does the NAPLAN language convention test involve?
Language conventions explore student understanding of concepts like punctuation, grammar, sentence structure and other working elements of language.
You can work on this in your home, too. Identifying nouns, verbs and adjectives can go a long way towards helping students understand functional grammar. Looking at clauses, phrases and punctuation can help your child identify where they are struggling and if they need a little extra work.
And the best way to work at grammar? Reading.
Read, read, read. As much as you can. You can’t catch me, Banksia man!
Working on NAPLAN
NAPLAN should not be a cause of stress or panic. Its original intention was to provide an accurate snapshot of student abilities and struggles in a whole school context. Help your child enjoy, not dread, the process by engaging in reading and talking about reading at home.