A matter of manners

6 - 8 years
Everyday ways to help your child with literacy
Child talking on phone

Developed in partnership with Education Services Australia

Speaking and listening are important literacy skills – not just in the classroom, but also in everyday conversations with other children and with adults. To help your child master the social 'rules' of face-to-face conversation:

  • make sure your child knows how to say hello, look at the people they are talking with, and listen carefully
  • teach what words to use when beginning, interrupting and ending conversations, including hello, excuse me, I'm sorry and goodbye
  • teach what behaviours might be interpreted as rude, such as interrupting or saying goodbye without giving the other person a chance to reply
  • talk about any different rules in your language or culture
  • include your child in conversations with others, and make sure they hear plenty of adult conversations, so they can learn from your modelling.

Phone communication is different from face-to-face conversation, so your child needs to practice this too. In particular:

  • have clear family rules about when your child can answer the phone
  • teach what they should say (and what they shouldn't say!) when they answer
  • teach them what to say when they make a phone call – eg saying hello, who they are, and asking how the other person is
  • teach them how to end a phone conversation before hanging up
  • give them opportunities to make calls to family and friends, and to answer the phone
  • when appropriate, make calls when your child is around, so they can hear and learn from your modellling.

If you like to send emails or texts to friends and family, you might also invite your child to contribute a sentence or two. It's good practice, and they’ll love it!

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Last modified
5 March 2020