Here are the four most important questions to ask about reading success (just in time for conferences)

the 4 stages of succcessful reading

Reading is much more than reciting words that one sees on paper. Even before a reader achieves phonemic awareness and phonics, he’s learning to comprehend, understand, internalize and make connections. These are the essential stages necessary to teach kids to read, and to reach success in reading. How can parents help? By reading with children and encouraging reading and discussion time. And by recognizing the most four most important reading questions to ask themselves and their child's … [Read more...]

When we couldn’t find a simple word in the dictionary, we turned to the internet. So we ask: why are schools paying for dictionaries?

Why spend time teaching and learning dictionary skills when you can just hop on the internet?

In second grade, my son was tasked with a fun project to follow up on a class reading book, Donavan’s Word Jar (Trophy Chapter Book), which is suggested for grades 2 and up, age 6 and up. The story’s main character, Donavan, is obsessed with words and learning their meanings.  He creates a word jar where he keeps slips of paper listing his favorite words and their definitions. Following the reading, my son’s assignment was to create his own jar, selecting 10 words that are interesting to … [Read more...]

These Assignment Books Will Help Get Homework in Order

how to create your own assignment book that will help your homework habits

Sometimes the hardest part about homework is in the formation of creating the habit of recording assignments. While many schools offer assignment books to their students, some, especially as the students get older, expect the students to create their own. (Or just assume that kids already have their own methods. Many students, unfortunately, don't.) Here are a few options for your own assignment book, to help students in elementary school, middle school and high school be more … [Read more...]

Want to know the secrets to being a “best” student? It’s not just straight A’s and brown-nosing

what does it take to be a best student? It's not just straight-As and being a teacher's pet. It starts with good discipline and role models at home -- read some easy tips to help your child develop good-student habits

I read an interesting article recently. In an unscientific poll, (of the Nemours Foundation) asked about 3600 teachers what they feel makes the best student. The results were fairly obvious to a parent: The student is willing to try his/her best every day. (26%) The student is willing to ask questions when he/she doesn’t understand. (14%) The student is polite and respectful to the teacher. (14%)   But I wondered if they were obvious to a student? Do our … [Read more...]

Is Reading a Low Priority? 9 Ways to Encourage Reading In Your Home

9 easy ways to help your family learn to love to read, no matter their ages

"I assign 30 minutes of reading each night," said my 6th grader's reading teacher at Back to School Night. Then, he shrugged and finished his sentence. "But we all know that reading is the lowest priority for the kids and they aren't doing it." Say what?! Nope. My husband and I weren't happy with that at all. Reading is what comes first in our family, and there's a good reason for it: we've always embraced and encouraged reading, and a reading teacher who isn't going to do that is a genuine … [Read more...]

Putting fun in learning: use Play-Doh (plus, a classroom giveaway for an awesome teacher!)

so many fun ways to learn with Play-Doh! and a teacher giveaway!

As forever the parent who forgets to bring the distractions to activities, I loved learning this easy distraction trick when a mom had a few extra canisters of Play-Doh in her bag. Borrowing just a small canister each, I noticed the kids were engrossed in created their own games and activities with the little bits of compound. Soon, several kids of all ages pressed out shapes, balls, worms, practiced creating letters and began to create sculptures. As I glanced over to one of my kids, I … [Read more...]

How To Use Note Cards to Help with Homework and Learning

Help kids learn writing, reading, math and phonics the easy and fun way -- with note cards

From homework to spelling activities to games, there are so many ways to use note cards (3x5, 4x6, 5x7 or other sizes) to help your children learn and help them with homework. I always keep them on hand--in fact, they're hidden in drawers in most rooms in our home. Here are some ways to use note cards to help your children with homework. Using note cards to supplement learning 3x5 cards are the easiest way to reinforce a spelling  word, a word pattern or a math problem. When my kids are … [Read more...]

How to help your child learn to describe

how to teach kids to describe and use describing words in speaking and, later, writing

"What's that?" she says, pointing at something we're passing. "I don't know," I reply. "I'm driving." My daughter and I have this exact exchange of words countless times a day. It twists my insides, how often I have to ask her to describe the object that she's referring. Describe. Describe. Describe. I want to burn it into her head. Then, I remember that teaching kids to describe isn't easy. They imagine you can see exactly what they see and will naturally focus on exactly the item which they're … [Read more...]

Need an inside activity for your kids? Here’s how to get hours and hours of quiet fun

Hours and hours of fun, the kids rarely realize how much education is involved in creating and playing games

Game creation is an excellent way to teach children to create and solve problems on their own. When given the opportunity, they'll use many learning elements, such as math, writing, reading, geography and, sometimes, science, all without probing and pushing from parents and teachers. And making a game is simple with very little supplies and a lot of reward. It also offers the opportunity to cater to both competitive and cooperative learning. On a Tuesday after a doctor appointment, rather … [Read more...]

Back to School Supplies Your Teacher Left Off the List

back to school supplies that your teacher left off the list but you should buy right now

The school supply list. It's on everymom's mind and a part of everymom's conversation this month. It’s a prized possession or an abhorred asset. Either way, it’s necessary and, my friends, it's time to start back to school shopping. Fast. Because you’ll want to buy all the things you’ll need before the stores run out of stock and you’re left running around trying to track down the specific kinds of pencils and erasers your child’s teacher requested.   School Supply List Must-Haves, … [Read more...]