Tips and Guides

Academic

Tips and advice in this section include both general and specific suggestions for how best to provide support as your child progresses through school. The tips for parents offer grade-appropriate ideas for ways in which you can assist your children at home with what they are learning in the classroom. The parent-teacher conference guide includes a checklist that you can use as a reference when discussing your child’s progress with teachers or guidance counselors.
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Pre-K

  • English Language Arts:

      Read Every Day

      Perhaps the single most important thing you can do at this stage to foster your child’s early reading and writing skills is to read to her every single day. A recent OECD study comparing the role of parents in education in several countries found that the factor that best predicts better reading performance when a child is 15 is whether she was read to during her early years. So read as often as you can to your child, even if just for 20 minutes a day, and do your best to make reading time a fun experience that both of you enjoy.

      Point Out Authors and Illustrators

      When you sit down to read a book with your child, start by reading the title and the name of the author and illustrator. This will help to familiarize her with these important attributes of a book. Soon she may have favorite authors or illustrators, such as Dr. Seuss, and will be able to recognize their work.

      Read the Same Books

      Make sure to read the same books to your child over and over again, over extended periods. The better she gets to know a book, the more ways she will find to enjoy it. During one reading she may just focus on the pictures. A week later, she may pay more attention to the story itself. A couple months later, she may notice the rhyming patterns of the words or focus on new vocabulary words.

      Make Reading Engaging and Interactive

      When you are reading to your pre-kindergartener, make it as engaging and interactive an experience as possible for her. Pause from time to time to ask her questions about what you’ve read so far and what is to come. Ask her how she thinks a character is feeling or what she thinks will happen next. Make sure she understands it’s fine if she guesses wrong. The fun is in the guessing.

      Discuss Stories

      Once you've finished a story, have a little discussion with your child about it. Ask her what she liked best about the story, who her favorite character was, and why they did specific things in the story. Learning to talk about what she has read will be an important foundation for the critical thinking skills that will be so important throughout her life.

      Read Non-fiction

      Make sure to include non-fiction books in the titles you choose. Pre-kindergarteners are fascinated by the world around them and learn a lot about how it works from non-fiction books. They especially love books about animals (including dinosaurs, of course!), outer space, and trucks and machines.

      Establish Good Reading Habits

      Reading skills will always be essential to your child’s academic success, so do everything you can to make sure that she develops good reading habits. It’s especially important that she sees you and other adults enjoying reading. This will help her view reading in a positive light.

      Use Songs and Lyrics

      Reading to your child isn’t the only way to ensure that she becomes a strong reader as she gets older. Singing songs with her and familiarizing her with a range of lyrics also helps develop language skills.

      Make Eye Contact

      Make sure that you make eye contact with your child when you speak to her. Adults are often so busy sitting at the computer, checking our iPhones, or doing household chores that we don’t pause and look directly at our children when they’re speaking. Try to stop what you’re doing and give her your attention when your child speaks to you.

      Fill in the Word

      Fill in the word. When reading nursery rhymes, poems, or books with rhyming words, read the verse then let your child “read” by filling in the rhyming word. When reading “Hickory Dickory Dock. The mouse ran up the _____,” pause to let your child fill in the word “clock.” This will come naturally and your child will enjoy helping you read.

      Encourage Writing and Drawing

      Encourage your child to write and draw as early as possible. Make sure she has access to plenty of crayons and markers. Don’t worry about whether she’s holding them correctly at this point. The important thing is that she learns to love using writing and drawing tools.

      Incorporate Toys

      Using playdough and toys that require her to manipulate small shapes will encourage the development of dexterity in her fingers that will be important as she learns to hold a pencil correctly and to write.

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  • Math:

      Practice Counting

      Practice counting regularly with your child. She should know how to count to 10 and beyond and understand what the numbers represent. Play games that involve counting, such as hide and seek, and incorporate counting into everyday activities, such as climbing stairs or eating.

      Practice Comparing Items

      Ask your child to compare different groups of items, such as carrot sticks and apple slices, and to tell you which group has more and which has fewer items. Incorporate these sorts of comparisons into ordinary activities around the home, including eating, organizing groceries, or sorting laundry.

      Practice Addition and Subtraction

      Practice basic addition and subtraction by having your child count how many objects are in a group, such as a plate of crackers, and then taking away some of those objects or adding more.

      Practice Recognizing Shapes

      Practice recognition of different shapes. Have your child spot things that are triangular, like pieces of pizza or the roof of a house, or rectangular, like paper money. As you talk about different shapes, have her describe why a shape she spots is a triangle (three sides) or a square (four equal sides) or a rectangle (two opposite equal sides and two other opposite equal sides of longer length).

      Practice Comparing Different Sizes

      Practice ways in which your child can compare different sizes. Have her organize a selection of toys in order from the smallest to the largest. Or have her talk about the members of your family, describing who is tallest, second tallest, and so on.

      Do Puzzles With Your Child

      Doing puzzles is a great way to develop important visual discrimination skills, or the ability to recognize differences and similarities in shape, form, pattern, size, position, and color.

      Play "Higher" or "Lower"

      Think of a number for your child to guess. After each guess respond with the words “higher” or “lower.” At different times use the words “more” or “less” so she learns different arithmetic vocabulary. This game helps her correlate number words and counting sequence with actual amounts.

      Practice Sequencing

      Practice sequencing with your child to develop her ability to recognize and store math procedures and number sequences. Make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or build a snowman together, then ask her to describe in order the actions that took place. She can also describe the sequence of events that took place in the day, in a movie she saw, or in a story she read.

      Use Timers to Develop a Sense of Time

      Use a timer for activities like watching TV or using the computer, so that your child becomes familiar with the concept of time and how long different units of time last. If your child doesn’t want to leave the playground tell her she can stay for 5 more minutes. She’ll start to develop an understanding of time and how long different units of time last if you do this regularly.

      Give Your Child a Piggy Bank

      Give your child a piggy bank and help fill it with spare change. Every month or so, empty it together and have your child sort the coins by denomination. Have her match the coins to the denominations indicated on coin wrappers, which can be obtained from some banks or purchased inexpensively. This will help your pre-kindergartner with counting, value recognition, and sorting, as well as hand-eye coordination.

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Kindergarten

  • English Language Arts:

      Read Every Day

      Perhaps the single most important thing you can do at this stage to foster your child’s reading and writing skills is to read to him every single day. A recent OECD study comparing the role of parents in education in several countries found that the factor that best predicts better reading performance when a child is 15 is whether he was read to during his early years. So read as often as you can to your child, even if just for 20 minutes a day, and do your best to make reading time a fun experience that both of you enjoy.

      Develop Your Child's Curiosity for Books

      Before you actually start to read a new book to your child, read just the title and look at the picture on the cover or first page. Ask him, "What do you think this book will be about?" “Tell me what you know about...?” These questions will help your child develop curiosity about books.

      Read Non-Fiction Books

      Make sure to include non-fiction books in the titles you choose. Kindergarteners are fascinated by the world around them and learn a lot about how it works from non-fiction books. They especially love books about animals (including dinosaurs, of course!), outer space, and trucks and machines.

      Develop Good Reading Habits

      Reading skills will always be essential to your child's academic success, so do everything you can to make sure that he develops good reading habits. It's especially important that he sees you and other adults enjoying reading. This will help him view reading in a positive light.

      Sing Songs to Your Child

      Reading to your child isn't the only way to insure that he becomes a strong reader as he gets older. Singing songs with him and familiarizing him with a range of lyrics will also help develop language skills.

      Play Word Games

      Play simple word games like I Spy With My Little Eye, seeking out things that begin with a certain letter. In the car, play games with road signs or license plates, such as having your kindergartener spot words or plates that begin with a specific letter.

      Act Out a Storyline

      Have your child "act out" the storylines of a book you're reading. This helps your child learn new vocabulary words and better understand plot and character development.

      Play Vocabulary Word Games

      Make a game out of broadening your child's vocabulary. Choose five unfamiliar new words for your child to learn each week and see how often everyone in the family can use those words in everyday conversation. This will help improve your kindergartener's vocabulary, reading comprehension, and speaking skills.

      Encourage Writing and Drawing

      As a parent, you can do so much to help your kindergartener feel like a writer. Encourage drawing, scribbling, and writing. Successful and fluent writers are confident in their abilities and writing every day, in whatever form, will help your child gain that confidence.

      Explore Different Uses for Writing

      Make sure that your child sees how you use writing in different ways for different tasks, purposes, and audiences. Provide a running commentary as you write, explaining what you're writing, to whom, and why. Explain why you're making sure to use more formal language and capital letters in a thank you note to your mother, compared to the conversational tone of a note to your spouse about groceries.

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  • Math:

      Incorporate Basic Math Concepts

      Try to incorporate basic math concepts into everyday activities. Have your child count objects regularly and pose easy counting challenges, such as counting the number of steps on a flight of stairs or the number of red cars you see while driving. Take opportunities to count by twos or fives or tens, for example, if you've bought many of the same item at the grocery store or need to count a pile of coins.

      Practice Shape Recognition

      Practice recognition of different shapes. Have your child spot things that are triangular, like pieces of pizza or the roof of a house, or rectangular, like paper money. As you talk about different shapes, have him describe why a shape he spots is a triangle (three sides) or a square (four equal sides) or a rectangle (two opposite equal sides and two other opposite equal sides of longer length).

      Solve Jigsaw Puzzles

      Doing puzzles is a great way to develop important visual discrimination skills, or the ability to recognize differences and similarities in shape, form, pattern, size, position, and color.

      Apply Math in Everyday Life

      It's especially memorable to children when they can use their new math concepts in their everyday life. Have your child arrange his favorite stuffed animals in a circle for a party and give two or three crackers to each toy. Have him add up the total number of crackers distributed. Ask him to predict how many more crackers he would need if one of his toy action figures joined the party. Then ask him to predict the total number of crackers needed with yet another guest. This give him an opportunity to "add up" in his head and then see if he is correct when he actually adds the next figure and counts up the new total. The game can be played in reverse when one of the figures leaves the party, taking his crackers with him.

      Play More or Less

      Think of a number for your child to guess. After each guess, respond with the words "higher" or "lower." At different times use the words "more" or "less," so he learns different arithmetic vocabulary. This game helps him correlate number words and counting sequence with actual amounts or sizes.

      Practice Sequencing

      Practice sequencing with your child to develop his ability to recognize and store math procedures and number sequences. Make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or build a snowman together, then ask him to describe in order the actions that took place. He can also describe the sequence of events that took place in the day, in a movie he saw, or in a story he read.

      Develop an Understanding of Units of Time

      Use a timer for activities like watching TV or using the computer, so that your child becomes familiar with the concept of time and how long different units of time last. If your child doesn't want to leave the playground, tell him he can stay for 5 more minutes. He'll start to develop an understanding of time and how long different units of time last if you do this regularly.

      Learn to Count Money

      Give your child a piggy bank and help fill it with spare change. Every month, empty it together and have your child sort the coins by denomination. Have him match the coins to the denominations indicated on coin wrappers, which can be obtained from some banks or purchased inexpensively. This will help your kindergartner with counting, value recognition, and sorting, as well as hand-eye coordination.

      Play Music

      Music is a great way for your child to engage with concepts related to math. Practicing an instrument means learning about tempo, measure, and meter - all of which involve math.

      Play Family Games with Math

      Plenty of family games incorporate math. Tic tac toe, Connect Four, and dominoes are just some of the many games that help build math skills.

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growth chart

1st

  • English Language Arts:

      Share Reading with Your Child

      It's one of the most basic pieces of parenting advice and still one of the most important, even when your child is in 1st grade: read to and with her. Now that she is in the early stages of becoming a proficient reader herself, this can become more of a shared activity. For example, take turns reading pages of a book, which gives her a chance to show off her skills and allows you to help her sound out difficult words.

      Keep Reading Material Handy

      Fill your house with a variety of reading materials and make sure that your child sees you and other adults reading regularly, so that she views it as a fun and positive activity.

      Allow Easy Access to Writing Supplies

      Make sure that your child has easy access to the tools and supplies she will need to practice the writing skills she is learning. Have a range of supplies on hand to make writing fun, such as different-colored pens, crayons, colored paper, and dry-erase boards.

      Encourage Writing Through Lists

      Encourage your child to practice writing by making lists. Make sure that writing is not something that is viewed as a just a school activity or homework. Give her reasons to write, for example by making lists. Encourage her to help with the grocery shopping by writing a list. For holidays or birthdays, ask her to write a list of presents she would like, or have her compile a list of the chores she is responsible for.

      Show How Writing is Practical

      Show her the practical use of writing by helping her compose short reminder notes at home or letters to other family members. When she sees that writing serves a useful purpose she will be more likely to try it and to initiate writing on her own.

      Value Your Child’s Writing

      Encourage your 1st grader to draw a picture and write a story that goes along with it, using any scribbling, characters, or spelling that makes sense to her. Display the result, as you do her artwork, by posting it on the fridge or framing it and putting it on your desk. This helps her see that you value her writing and think it is important.

      Don't Correct All Spelling Mistakes

      Don't go overboard in correcting your child's early efforts at writing. In the same way that, when she was learning to talk, you didn't correct every pronunciation error or grammatical mistake, now that she's learning to write, you don't want to inhibit her by focusing too much on what she's doing wrong. If you correct every error, beginning writers will start to close up, so by allowing them more latitude encourages them to view writing as a fun activity and not work.

      Make a Summer Scrapbook

      At the start of the school year, make a scrapbook of your 1st grader's summer vacation, including photos and items related to activities she took part in. Ask her to tell you about the places the items came from, including why she was there and what she enjoyed about that day. Jot down her stories and memories, capturing her exact words as much as possible.

      Always Carry Reading Materials

      Never leave home without reading materials, for both you and your 1st grader. Always having a book or a magazine on hand for moments like a wait at a doctor's office, a long car ride, or just waiting in the car to pick up a sibling helps your child understand that reading is an enjoyable activity that she can do at any time.

      Play Simple Word Games

      Play simple word games with your 1st grader. For example, when you're on the road, have her spot words on signs that begin with a certain letter.

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  • Math:

      Learn Math from Everyday Objects

      Your child can build an understanding of addition, subtraction, and the other math concepts she is learning in 1st grade by playing with everyday objects. Use items that she enjoys playing with, such as Legos, and place them into two groups of unequal number. Place the larger grouping on the left to develop the habit your child will need later for subtracting from left to right. Next, ask your child to add objects to the smaller group from the larger group until she counts the same number in both groups. As with all math activities, don't push it if your child resists, since math development varies greatly from child to child and she may just not be ready for certain concepts.

      Count with Items

      Count using items like blocks, pennies, and candy. Have some items handy for counting by ones and by tens. You can use interlocking blocks that allow students to connect 2 blocks to 3 blocks to represent 2 + 3. Use regular household items like pennies for counting by ones, and dimes for counting by tens.

      Develop Estimation Skills

      When things are stored or poured into varying size containers you have an opportunity to build your child's concept of estimation and quantity. At breakfast, ask her which bowl has more and which has less cereal. Ask her to compare the different amounts of the same liquid in three clear glasses by lining them up from least to most full. To build your child's vocabulary of comparisons, after successful practice use measuring cups with numbers. Ask her what she notices about the number each liquid reaches in the measuring cup when they are lined up in sequence from least to most and then from most to least full.

      Read Math Problems Aloud

      Help your child by reading math problems aloud slowly and carefully, so she can hear the problem and think about what is being asked. If she can read, have her read them.

      Use Real Money

      Children become so accustomed to seeing their parents pay with credit and debit cards that counting actual money can be an unfamiliar practice. Engage your child in the transaction of buying things at the store, allowing her to pay with cash and to count the change. This will help not only with her math skills but will foster an understanding of the concepts of saving and spending.

      Reward Effort for Math

      Speak positively about math and reward effort, rather than grades or ability. Think about how important reading is and how we are told to model this behavior for our children. We need to place math in the same category. Don't discount the importance of math by saying, "I'm not a math person, I was never good at math." Help your child read books that incorporate math, such as Millions of Cats, by Wanda Gag or On Beyond a Million, by David Schwartz.

      Use Analog Clocks

      Go pre-digital with time. Reading time on a digital clock is vastly different than on a clock with a face. First grade standards focus on telling time to the hour and half hour, so have some old-fashioned analog clocks around your house as your child is learning to tell time. Consider giving her a wristwatch with a face, rather than a digital display.

      Keep a Calendar at Home

      Keep a calendar displayed in your home. Review the days of the week with your child and encourage her to count down the number of days until an event she is anticipating.

      Play Games with Simple Math

      Play a game in the car using simple addition or subtraction. For example: I'm thinking of a number that equals 7 when it is added to 3. What number is that? Look for opportunities to play simple addition and subtraction games, for example, while she is eating, with the number of items on her plate.

      Play Games with Math Vocabulary

      Play a mind-reader game. Think of a number for your child to guess. After each guess respond with the words "higher" or "lower." At different times use the words "more" or "less" so she learns different arithmetic vocabulary. This game helps her correlate the number words and counting sequence with actual amounts or sizes.

      Play Family Math Games

      Plenty of family games incorporate math. Tic tac toe, Connect Four, and dominoes are just some of the many games that help build math skills.

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2nd

  • English Language Arts:

      Continue Reading with Your Child

      Your child's reading skills are improving steadily and he can now read on his own, but continue to read aloud with him regularly. As you read, stop to discuss what you've read and ask him questions about the content. Don't ask him obvious questions that are spelled out explicitly in the text, such as what color shirt a character was wearing. Instead, prompt him to think about the reasons behind the action. Ask him why a character did something specific? Ask him what he thinks the lesson of the story is so far? These aren't necessarily questions with wrong or right answers. The most important thing is to prompt him to think analytically about what he is reading.

      Take Turns Reading Through a Book

      Your child can practice shared reading with a parent, sibling, or friend. The child reads one page and the partner reads the next page. The goal here is to take turns and help each other with words the reader may not know. Each reader must follow along while the other one is reading. This activity helps build fluency, which is very important to becoming a strong reader.

      Play Audiobooks in the Car

      If you're planning a car ride of more than a few minutes, consider playing a CD of an audiobook. Children model their tones while reading aloud based on the ways in which they hear adults read, and oral fluency is an important skill that begins to develop very early in a child's literacy development.

      Encourage Questions!

      Encourage your child to ask for help when he doesn't understand a word and help him to try to figure out the meaning of unfamiliar words. If a character in a story is described with words that your child does not recognize, work with him to figure out their meaning from other clues in the text, rather than simply providing him with a definition. Children are praised and rewarded so much for showing off what they know, so make sure to praise him for asking about things he doesn't know. Show him that you also don't understand all the words you come across and demonstrate how you figure out the meaning of an unfamiliar word.

      Explore Different Writing Styles

      Encourage your child to develop his writing abilities and to tailor his writing to different purposes and audiences. Demonstrate how you do this in everyday life. Explain what you're doing as you write a work-related email, reading aloud as you write it and explaining how you're going to use capital letters and be a bit formal in your style. Or, if you’re just jotting a quick reminder note to your spouse to leave on the kitchen counter, explain why you're taking a much more familiar tone.

      Incorporate Non-Fiction Books

      Make sure to incorporate non-fiction books into your child's reading list, such as books about how plants grow or how machines operate, depending on his interests. If he's interested in dinosaurs and other animals, appoint him the family "animal detective" and have him present a new animal to the family every week.

      Use Writing Skills for Birthday Invitations

      Birthday parties can be a wonderful occasion to make writing fun. Your 2nd grader can join in the festivities by creating his own invitations to send to friends and family. With your help, he can draw a picture and write the important information about the party: Whose party it is, where and when it will be held, and how to RSVP. Pick out some paper together and either print out the invitations on a computer or make handwritten versions. And don't forget to add stickers and glitter! Your child will love being part of the action.

      Play Word Games on the Go

      Word games are a great way to help your child appreciate the magic of language, and playing with language can start him on the right path toward good writing. Here's one idea to try with your 2nd grader: When you're driving in the car, taking the bus, or walking in your neighborhood, ask your child what he sees. Beginning with one of his words, try adding another word that starts with the same letter, like "ferocious fire hydrant" or "tiny tree." See if you can expand by adding more and more words, like "twenty-two tiny tulip trees."

      Make a Game of Using New Words

      Make a game out of broadening your child's vocabulary. Choose five unfamiliar new words for your child to learn each week and see how often everyone in the family can use those words in everyday conversation. This will help improve your 2nd grader's vocabulary, reading comprehension, and speaking skills.

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  • Math:

      Make Math “Hands On”

      Helping your 2nd grader with math means helping him understand the meaning of mathematics concepts, not just the procedures of doing a written problem. Making math as "hands on" as possible is the best way to ensure that he will develop an understanding of concepts and number sense. To help your child really grasp the math that he needs to master, keep the learning simple, use real tools and everyday objects, and make it fun. Just call your learning activity a "game" and you can guarantee you will have your 2nd grader's attention!

      Speak Positively About Math

      Speak positively about math and reward effort rather than grades or ability. Think about how important reading is and how we are told to model this behavior for our children. We need to place math in the same category. Don't discount the importance of math by saying, "I'm not a math person, I was never good at math." Help your child read books that incorporate math, such as Millions of Cats, by Wanda Gag, or On Beyond a Million: An Amazing Math Journey, by David Schwartz.

      Cement Addition and Subtraction Relationships

      To help your child build number sense, have him take several small objects (beans, pennies, etc.) and count out a specific number., starting with a smaller number. Then take your hand (or a cup or small bowl) and quickly cover some of the objects. Ask: "How many are under my hand?" He should be able to figure it out by counting those remaining. So if there are 5 objects and you cover 3, your child should see the 2 remaining objects and determine that 3 are covered. Do a variety of different combinations of objects covered using the same number of items. Then try it with more items, up to twenty. Your child will get practice seeing the addition and subtraction relationships between numbers.

      Use Food to Demonstrate Fractions

      Your child is beginning to use unit fractions, like 1/8, 1/4 and 1/2 in 2nd grade. Cutting up sandwiches, fruit, or pastries into equal pieces and counting the fractional parts is one way to reinforce fraction identification.

      Read Math Problems Out Loud

      If your child is struggling with math problems, have him read each problem out loud slowly and carefully so he can hear the problem and think about what is being asked. This helps him break down the problem and come up with problem-solving strategies.

      Use Real Money

      Children become so accustomed to seeing adults pay with credit and debit cards that counting actual money can be an unfamiliar practice. Engage your child in the transaction of buying things at the store, allowing him to pay with cash and to count the change. This will help not only with his math skills but will foster an understanding of the concepts of saving and spending.

      Combine Analog and Digital Clocks

      To practice telling time, have your child draw an analog clock and a digital clock and put the same time on both. You want to help your child count time in 5-minute increments. Give your child a specific time on a clock and ask questions such as "What time was it two hours ago? What time will it be in a half hour?" Take a look at a calendar. Ask your child questions about the days and dates, such as "What day is the 5th of this month? How many Tuesdays are in the month? What date is the 3rd Friday of this month?"

      Use Cooking to Explain Time

      When cooking or baking, think about the time required for your recipe. Ask your child to help you figure out if a meatloaf takes about 45 minutes to bake and the vegetables you'll be having with it take 30 minutes to cook, how many more or fewer minutes than the meatloaf do the vegetables need? Which do you need to start cooking first?

      Work on Sequencing and Patterns

      You can build sequencing skills by asking your child to try to name his classmates in the order in which they sit in their classroom. Or have him outline the steps required to make a particular dish or meal. He can also put math information into patterns. Your child can learn the names of shapes with increasing numbers of sides by arranging sticks into a triangle, square, pentagon, hexagon, etc. in order and saying their names as he points to them.

      Explore Fractions

      Since children are most familiar with the fraction 12, as in "Can I have half a glass of milk," the unit is a strong base from which to start exploring fractions. Comparing half a glass of water to a whole glass, half a cookie to a whole cookie, half a book (opening it to the middle) to a whole book. Encourage your child to show you when he sees or hears fractions used in daily life.

      Play Family Math Games

      Plenty of family games incorporate math. Tic tac toe, Connect Four, and dominoes are just some of the many games that help build strategic thinking and math skills.

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3rd

  • English Language Arts:

      Make the Most of Your Library

      By now your child should have a library card and be familiar with your local library. Encourage her to develop her own taste in reading and to borrow books that interest her. Make sure that she has time at home, away from computers and television, to focus on reading independently.

      Use Technology as a Reading Tool

      Learn how to use technology to help develop your 3rd grader’s growing interest in reading. There is a large selection of online books for children, many with interactive features such as animations or voice recording. You can also encourage her interest in reading by helping her find online sites about topics that interest her.

      Include Non-Fiction Books

      Make sure to incorporate non-fiction books into your child’s reading list, such as books about how plants grow or how machines operate, depending on her interests. If she’s interested in dinosaurs and other animals, appoint her the family “animal detective” and have her present a new animal to the family every week.

      Use Incentives to Encourage Reading

      Model good reading habits for your child by making sure that she sees you and other adults enjoying reading. This will help her view reading in a positive light. Never leave home without reading materials for both of you. Always having a book or a magazine on hand for moments like a wait at a doctor’s office, a long car ride, or just waiting in the car to pick up a sibling helps your child understand that reading is an enjoyable activity that she can do at any time.

      Keep a Dictionary and Thesaurus Accessible

      Keep a dictionary and a thesaurus accessible in the house, and bookmarks some dictionary sites online, so that when an unfamiliar word comes up your child can easily consult these handy references. Encourage her to always look up words she doesn't know.

      Encourage Storytelling

      Kids love to tell stories with each other — the more outlandish, the better. Encourage your child to start a progressive story with a group of friends. Begin it with a catchy opening, like “The robot stepped off of the bright purple spaceship into a vivid green golf course.” Then, have the kids pass the paper around. Each writer adds a sentence or two until the writers collectively decide the story is finished. Watch the kids explode with laughter when they read the collaborative story out loud.

      Play Word Games

      Word games are a great way to get your child to see the magic of language. And playing with language can be a start toward good writing. Here’s one idea to try with your 3rd grader: When you’re driving in the car, taking a bus or walking in your neighborhood, spot the license plates on the cars that pass. Using the letters from the plate, try to create a sentence in which each letter becomes the beginning of a word. The license plate NJC124 could become “Nancy joins clubs” or “Nick juggles carrots.” Be creative and have fun!

      Write and Stage a Play

      Drama and performance can hook both lovers and non-lovers of reading and writing into enjoying language. Here’s one idea to try with your 3rd grader: Write and stage a play! Gather a group of your child’s friends and have them choose a favorite book. Help them pick a scene they love from the book and write a simple script—just by writing down what the characters said (or might have said). Help them pick a character to act out, find some props and dress-up clothes for costumes, and you’re set to go!

      Encourage Writing About Holidays

      Writing can be an important addition to your holiday observances. Invite your child to write and illustrate stories about her favorite holiday traditions. Encourage her to add lots of details by using all her senses in descriptions: How the potato pancakes smell at Hannukah, how the candles glisten at Kwanzaa, what the Christmas carols sound like, how the wrapping paper feels as she rips open her presents. Make the story into a book—either on the computer or handwritten and stapled together—and save as a new family tradition to read and reread each year.

      Play Vocabulary Games

      Make a game out of broadening your child’s vocabulary. Choose five unfamiliar new words for her to learn each week and see how often everyone in the family can use those words in everyday conversation. This will help improve your 3rd grader’s vocabulary, reading comprehension, and speaking skills.

      Play "Another Way to Say..."

      Another great game to play in the car is “Another way to say...” The goal is to find words that have a similar meaning to the selected word. So if you choose the word “big,” your child can take turns with her siblings or friends finding similar words, such as “huge,” “enormous,” or “large.” Give each child 10 seconds to come up with a suggestion. This helps build vocabulary and memory skills, and discussing how exactly the chosen words differ from each other adds another dimension to the game.

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  • Math:

      Discuss Math Class at Home

      Encourage your child to talk about the math concepts that she is learning at school. Don’t just ask, “How was math today?” Instead, ask her to tell you about something she learned in math class today.

      Model Good Math Behavior

      Speak positively about math and reward effort, rather than grades or ability. Think about how important reading is and how we are told to model this behavior for our children. We need to place math in the same category. Don’t discount the importance of math by saying, “I’m not a math person, I was never good at math.” Help your child read books that incorporate math, such as Millions of Cats, by Wanda Gag, or On Beyond a Million: An Amazing Math Journey, by David Schwartz.

      Talk Through Math Problems

      If your child is struggling with math problems, have her read each problem out loud slowly and carefully so she can hear the problem and think about what is being asked. This helps her break down the problem and come up with problem-solving strategies.

      Highlight Real-Life Math Problems

      Continue to find as many opportunities as possible to highlight math problems in real life. If you’re doubling a recipe and need to figure out measurements, enlist your 3rd grader’s help. Measuring cups provide an especially good opportunity for your child to familiarize herself with the concept of fractions that she is leaning about in school. If a recipe calls for a cup and a half of something, ask her how many 12 or 14 cups she would need until she had enough.

      Highlight Real-Life Examples of Fractions

      Encourage your child to spot real-life uses of fractions, such as menus that describe burgers as quarter pounders or sports games that are divided into halves. Have her practice fractions by drawing a shape, such as a circle or a square, and asking her to color in 12 or 34 of it.

      Play Math Games

      Time spent commuting or waiting in a car is a great opportunity to play math games with your child. Multiplication is one of the key math concepts she is working on in school and you can help her practice by asking her simple multiplication problems that relate to real life. Ask her to figure out the number of days until an event three weeks from today. Or have her calculate how many weeks she would have to save her allowance to buy a toy or game she wants.

      Use Money to Practice Math

      Make combinations of bills and coins using money from your wallet or your child’s piggy bank. Have her write the amount for different groupings, using a dollar sign and decimal point.

      Explore Math with Sports

      Sports provide a fun and engaging way of exploring a host of mathematical concepts, starting with basic addition. The halves of a soccer game or the quarters of a football game offer an illustration of how fractions work in the real world. If your child enjoys a sport, encourage her to explore it through math.

      Practice Telling Time

      Have your child practice her time-telling skills as often as possible. Ask her to check the clock when you want to know what time it is, and to compare the time on a face clock to see if it’s displaying the same time as a digital clock. If you have an appointment and need to leave by a certain time, have her help count down the minutes until then.

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growth chart

4th

  • English Language Arts:

      Encourage Reading

      Find ways to encourage your child to read independently. Make sure that he has the time and space to devote to reading and that he has plenty of material to read for fun. Take him to the library regularly.

      Use Technology to Encourage Reading

      Learn how to use technology to help develop your 4th grader’s growing interest in reading. There is a large selection of online books for children, many with interactive features such as animations or voice recording. You can also encourage his interest in reading by helping him find online sites about topics that interest him.

      Discuss What Your Child is Reading

      Ask your child about the books he is reading, both in school and for fun. Try to ask probing questions that go beyond having him just relate the action in a book. Ask about the themes of what he is reading and encourage him to summarize what he is reading and discuss it with you.

      Set an Example for Good Reading Behavior

      Continue to model good reading behavior by discussing what you are reading. If you’ve just read an interesting magazine article, tell your child what you learned from it.

      Foster Effective Arguing

      Encourage your child to learn to make a good argument. If he wants the privilege to do something that he has not previously been allowed to do, have him present an argument for doing so. Make sure he can back up the claims he is making. If he says that all his friends are allowed to do something, ask him to substantiate that claim.

      Discuss the News

      Engage your child in a discussion about the news stories you see on television or hear on the radio while you’re in the car. He should be developing the skills that will make him an informed and discerning consumer of information. By discussing what is happening in the world, you can explain why certain issues are important and share your values with your child.

      Find Reasons to Write

      Real writing can happen all the time, both inside and outside school. Help your child find useful reasons to write outside school: A letter of complaint about a broken videogame, an invitation to a get-together, or a request for information about a sporting event. Make writing connected to real life and not just an exercise.

      Use a Favorite Story

      Most children have a favorite story that they ask their parents to tell them over and over again, maybe about the day they were born or the time a special event took place. Encourage your child to write this story down and to make a book about it. It could be illustrated with photos and could become a lasting family keepsake.

      Play Vocabulary Games

      Make a game out of broadening your child’s vocabulary. Choose five unfamiliar new words for him to learn each week and see how often everyone in the family can use those words in everyday conversation. This will help improve your 4th grader’s vocabulary, reading comprehension, and speaking skills.

      Play Storytelling Games

      A fun game to play in the car or home that can involve the whole family is “what happens next.” Everyone should name a different object and then one person begins telling a story using all of these words. The next person must continue the story, picking up from where the last person stopped, while using at least one of the named objects, and having the story make sense as it continues. The silliness of where the storyline goes, combined with the use of the imagination, is a fun way to practice important listening and thinking skills.

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  • Math:

      Encourage a Positive Attitude Toward Math

      It’s around this age that many youngsters become discouraged by math and begin to think of it as a subject they’re just not good at. Be aware of this and try to prevent your child from developing a defeatist attitude toward math. Encourage him to stick with it when a problem appears difficult and to approach it in different ways.

      Read Math Problems Out Loud

      If your child is struggling with math problems, have him read each problem out loud slowly and carefully, so he can hear the problem and think about what is being asked. This helps him break down the problem and come up with problem-solving strategies.

      Integrate Math into Everyday Activities

      Continue to find ways to integrate discussion of math concepts such as “times as much” into your everyday activities. Compare the weights of your child and his siblings, or the family pet. Figure out how many times your cat’s weight your child weighs, and how many times your child’s weight his father weighs.

      Keep an Eye Out for Math Concepts

      Encourage your child to spot examples of some of the math concepts he is learning about. See how many right angles or right triangles he can spot. Or have him look for parallel lines, such as train tracks or pillars in a building.

      Highlight How Math is Used in Cooking

      Baking and cooking are among the best ways to familiarize your child with how fractions work. Having him help out in the kitchen also reinforced valuable sequencing skills and time management concepts.

      Practice Math in the Car

      When you have a long trip to take in the car and your child asks how long until you get there, have him answer the question himself by using math. Tell him how fast you’re traveling and how far away you are, and see if he can estimate how long it will take you to arrive.

      Use Math in House Projects

      Encourage your child to use his math skills for projects around the house. If you’re wallpapering or carpeting, for example, have him calculate wall or floor areas and figure out the total cost of various materials.

      Encourage Math Appreciation Through Sports

      Sports provide a fun and engaging way of exploring a host of mathematical concepts, starting with basic addition. The halves of a soccer game or the quarters of a football game offer an illustration of how fractions work in the real world. If your child enjoys a sport, encourage him to explore it through math.

      Encourage Music Appreciation

      Music is a great way for your child to engage with concepts related to math. Practicing an instrument means learning about tempo, measure, and meter—all of which involve math.

      Play Family Games

      Plenty of family games incorporate math. Tic tac toe, Connect Four, many card games, and dominoes are just some of the games that help build strategic thinking and math skills.

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5th

  • English Language Arts:

      Save Favorite Books

      Don’t be too quick to store away or discard books that your child enjoyed when she was younger. Plenty of older kids love to revisit their early favorites.

      Visit the Library

      Visit the library often with your child. Help her sign up for a library card and encourage her to borrow books regularly. Set a target for the number of books she will read in a year and reward her with a special treat if she reaches her goal.

      Encourage Reading A Range of Materials

      Provide books that match your child’s interests and encourage her to read in a variety of formats, including comics and magazines, and online books. Ask your child’s teacher about her reading level and seek out corresponding material. Reading level is often indicated on the back of paperback books, although several formats are used. RL5 means reading level 5, while 5.2 is a bit more specific, meaning a level equivalent to 5th grade, second month. Some publishers also use age guidelines, with 009-0011 meaning a book is appropriate for ages 9 to 11. You can always ask your librarian for guidance.

      Read Aloud

      You should continue reading aloud to your child as long as you both still enjoy the experience and you have the time. By this point, reading aloud should be a much more collaborative experience than it was when she was younger. You could take turns reading pages or have her do most of the reading. Reading aloud has been shown to build reading comprehension and a strong vocabulary, so try to continue providing this experience for your child, even if it’s through books on tape that you listen to together in the car.

      Discuss Reading

      Talk to your child about what she is reading. Ask her to tell you what a book is about and who the main characters are. Ask her what she’s enjoying about the book. Having her talk about what she’s reading prompts her to analyze the text as she’s learning to do in school and to ask the kinds of questions that are being discussed in class.

      Discuss Different Points of View

      Your child’s classroom discussion of reading is starting to focus on how different points of view can influence and shape perceptions. You can help develop her understanding of this concept with your conversations at home, whether you’re talking about what happened that day at school or about stories that are on the news. Ask her to tell you not just what happened, but why she thinks someone acted in the way they did.

      Discuss Familiar Stories Through Different Points of View

      Make a game out of exploring different points of view in familiar stories. Follow the example of The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, by John Scieszka, a popular book that tells the well-known tale of the destruction of the pigs’ houses from the viewpoint of the wolf. According to this book, it turns out the wolf just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and ended up being blamed for poorly timed sneezes. See how inventive your child can be at coming up with alternate versions of other children’s favorites. This is a fun way to pass time in the car.

      Look Up Answers

      When family conversation leads to questions that require looking up an answer, challenge each person to use a different print or digital resource to quickly find an answer to the question.

      Spot Metaphors and Similes

      As your child learns about new concepts like metaphors (He has a heart of gold) and similes (She’s busy as a bee) make a game out of identifying examples in everyday conversation, on television or in print.

      Find Writing Projects

      Keep an eye out for fun projects that involve writing. If your child put together a family tree when she was younger, she can update it with a companion piece of writing in which she provides short biographical entries about each person. She can make these as simple or as lengthy and involved as she likes.

      Use Social Media to Practice Writing

      If your family uses social networking sites, such as Facebook, ask your child to become a regular contributor to status updates. Writing short summaries of important family events or weekly activities will help her practice her writing skills and develop good social networking skills. Make sure to check her posts and to discuss concerns about content or language that you have with her.

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  • Math:

      Highlight Real-World Uses of Math

      As the math they’re learning becomes more complicated and less obviously connected with their everyday experience, some children start to develop math anxiety. It’s important to keep your child engaged with math and to help her understand the real-life applications of the concepts she’s learning in school. Coming up with a budget for back-to-school supplies or for her monthly allowance is one way for her to practice addition and subtraction. Asking her to help you with cooking or baking shows her how fractions work. Helping you calculate prices when you’re grocery shopping is also good practice.

      Help Prepare for Math Class

      Help your child reduce stress over math by familiarizing her with the concepts she will be covering in class. Ask her teacher for a syllabus and refer to this to preview each evening the material that will be covered in the following day’s math class. Skim over these pages with your child. No need to spend time working out the meaning of concepts or trying sample problems, although you can consult the glossary for definitions of unfamiliar words. Even this slight increase in familiarity with the terms that will come up the next day will help your child approach math with more confidence.

      Read Problems Out Loud

      If your child is struggling with math problems, have her read each problem out loud slowly and carefully so she can hear the problem and think about what is being asked. This helps her break down the problem and come up with problem-solving strategies.

      Keep Math Positive

      Speak positively about math and reward effort rather than grades or ability. Think about how important reading is and how we are told to model this behavior for our children. We need to place math in the same category. Don’t discount the importance of math by saying, “I’m not a math person, I was never good at math.” Help your child read books that incorporate math, such as Millions of Cats, by Wanda Gag, or On Beyond a Million: An Amazing Math Journey, by David Schwartz.

      Consult Online Resources

      Familiarize yourself with the range of online resources that can help your child practice and review the math concepts she is learning. See our Additional Resources section for some links.

      Practice Calculations Using Decimals

      Connect the work with decimals that your child is doing in class to the real world by encouraging her to shop for bargains. Have her divide the cost of bulk-packaged items by the number of single items to find the cost per item. So how much are you paying per roll of paper towel or per can of soda when you buy in bulk? Or ask her to calculate how much of a savings you’ll make per item with sale prices offering volume discounts.

      Practice Using Fractions

      Help your child familiarize herself with fractions by asking her to scale recipes for your family. Have her start by halving or doubling a recipe. When she feels comfortable doing this, ask her to convert it by 112, allowing a recipe that is supposed to feed a family of 4 to work for a family of 6.

      Set Up A Bank Account

      Set up a bank account for your child. Before you do this, discuss with her the basic concepts of banking – interest, checking and saving accounts, credit and debit cards, etc. The experience will help get your child excited about saving and increasing her money.

      Highlight Math in Sports

      Sports provide a fun and engaging way of exploring a host of mathematical concepts, starting with basic addition. Any hard-core baseball fan knows that the game can’t truly be appreciated without an understanding of some essential statistics, like a player’s batting average and runs batted in. If your child is passionate about a sport, encourage her to explore it through math.

      Play Games That Use Math

      Play family games that help foster math skills. These include card games like Go Fish, which requires counting and sorting cards into sets, or board games like Monopoly.

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6th

  • English Language Arts:

      Give Your Child Space

      Find a regular place for your child to read and study. Some people like to read and work in a quiet area while others prefer to hear background music. The most important thing is to make sure that your child has a space where he knows he can read and study effectively.

      Explore Short Novels

      Now that your child is in middle school, he will be given longer reading assignments, such as short novels. These might be classics you remember, like The Witch of Blackbird Pond, or newer works, like the Hunger Games trilogy. Try to read these assignments yourself, if you have the time. You’ll enjoy them and will be able to discuss them in detail with your child. Ask questions that go beyond just talking about what happened in the book. Ask him what motivated different characters or how he thinks they felt in different situations.

      Identify Essential Information While Reading

      As the amount of reading material your child is assigned increases, he will need to develop new strategies for synthesizing all that he is learning. Help him figure out how to process information by asking questions such as “What was the main idea in the article you just read?” “What are the most important things you want to remember about it?” Learning how to identify and focus on essential information will be an important skill throughout his life.

      Look Up New Words

      Keep a dictionary and a thesaurus accessible in the house, so that when an unfamiliar word comes up your child can easily consult these handy reference books. Encourage him to always look up words he doesn’t know.

      Ask “What If” Questions

      Ask “what if” questions about the books and stories your child is reading. What if the author had decided to change a specific plot point? What if a character in a biography had made a different decision at a key moment? Ask questions that prompt your child to think through the motivations behind the actions of different characters.

      Join a Book Club Together

      Parent-child book clubs are becoming increasingly popular. It takes just a handful of enthusiastic readers and a good book to generate a lively discussion. If doing this with some of your child’s friends and their parents doesn’t seem practical you could also try a family book club. Just search parent-child book club to find plenty of online resources offering suggestions.

      Encourage Debate and Discussion

      Encourage discussion as much as possible in your house. Ask your child for his opinion about political and social issues, or about books, movies, and TV shows. Listen carefully and prompt him to express his ideas thoughtfully, backing up his claims with evidence. Having dinner together as a family may be harder to do as your child gets older and there are more demands on his time, but this is one of the best ways to stimulate these kinds of conversations.

      Suggest Fun Writing Projects

      Keep an eye out for fun projects that involve writing. If your child made a family tree when he was younger, he can update it with a companion piece of writing in which he provides short biographical entries about each person. He can make these as simple or as involved as he likes. An especially interesting relative’s entry could become a longer profile, incorporating information from an interview with that relative and external published sources.

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  • Math:

      Review New Material Together

      As his assignments become more complicated, you might start to feel that your child's math homework is outpacing your comfort level. Continue to review math materials with him before class and supervise his homework, regardless of your confidence in your own skills. Instead of explaining new concepts, have him explain them to you. This will help him process and retain the information. If you are both confused, read the material and do your best to think it through and discuss it together. Go to sites like Khan Academy, IXL or XtraMath for extra assistance.

      Help Your Child Learn How to Study

      Help your child learn how to study effectively for math tests. This means working through problems, not just reading through them or skimming the review sheet. In elementary school, knowing the mechanics may be enough for some students. In middle school, many problems now have multiple steps and are best learned through repetition. The more problems your child practices, the more he'll internalize the various components. This increases speed and understanding so he can be better prepared to adjust the steps when required.

      Shop for Bargains

      Encourage your child to practice math by helping shop for bargains. Is a gallon of milk a better buy than a half gallon? What about a 16 oz. jar of peanut butter compared to the 12 oz. size? Have him divide the cost of bulk-packaged items by the number of single items to find the cost-per-item.

      Review Materials Before Class

      Sixth grade is a time of transition to middle school, when the comfort of a single teacher and classroom is replaced by a variety of classes and teachers. Sixth grade math is usually taught by a subject teacher instead of by a general-education teacher, as it was in elementary school. You can help promote your child’s success in 6th grade math by helping him understand both the content and the learning process. Review materials with him before class and continue to take an active role in supervising his homework.

      Break Down Complicated Problems

      Have your child discuss a problem that was easy for him and another that was difficult. Ask him to explain key features of the difficult problem to you. What did he find difficult? What was some of important information in the problem? Ask him to jot down any part of the problem that he still has questions about and ask him to share it with the teacher or a classmate the following day.

      Encourage Persistence

      Encourage your child to be persistent whenever a problem seems difficult. This will help your child believe that everyone can learn math.

      Highlight Math in Sports

      Sports provide an engaging way of exploring a host of mathematical concepts, starting with basic addition. Any hard-core baseball fan knows that the game can’t truly be appreciated without an understanding of some essential statistics, like a player’s batting average and runs batted in. If your child is passionate about a sport, encourage him to explore it through math.

      Play Games

      Play family games that help foster math skills. These include card games like Go Fish, which requires counting and sorting cards into sets, or board games like Monopoly.

      Develop a Homework Routine

      Help your child develop a consistent homework routine. Make sure that he not only reviews that was covered in school that day but also help him learn how to keep track of long-term assignments and plan ahead.

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7th

  • English Language Arts:

      Foster Conversation at Home

      Encourage discussion as much as possible. Ask your child for her opinion about political and social issues, or about books, movies, and TV shows. Listen carefully and prompt her to express her ideas thoughtfully, backing up her claims with evidence. Having dinner together as a family may be harder to do as your child gets older and there are more demands on her time, but this is one of the best ways to stimulate these kinds of conversations.

      Use Texting

      Several times each week, have your child text you a full sentence summarizing a theme of something she is currently reading. Ask that she do this in a full sentence and not with texting shorthand.

      Help With Time Management

      As your child’s workload and extracurricular interests increase, the way she manages her time will become increasingly important to her academic success. Most kids aren’t naturally good at time management and have to be taught effective strategies. Help her plan ahead and make a schedule of when assignments are due, so that she isn’t always racing to complete things at the last minute.

      Help With Study Strategies

      Do your best to figure out how your child learns. Has she always been very visual, relying since early childhood on images to help retain concepts? Or does she seem to do a better job processing information she has heard? As her schoolwork becomes more difficult, helping her figure out the study techniques that work best for her will be key to her future academic success. These could include preparing flashcards or reading texts aloud to herself.

      Encourage Note-Taking

      There is strong evidence that, despite the popularity of highlighters, highlighting or underlining text as we read is not the most effective way of learning information. Encourage your child to take notes of key ideas, perhaps on Post-its or colored index cards, as she reads. When she has finished a reading assignment she can compile all these notes and she’ll have a personalized study guide.

      Help Develop a Homework Routine

      Help your child develop a consistent homework routine. Make sure that she not only reviews that was covered in school that day but also help her learn how to keep track of long-term assignments and plan ahead.

      Plan a Movie Night

      With so many popular children’s books having been made into films, there are plenty of opportunities for movie nights that allow your child to practice some of the reading skills she’s learning in school. Plan an evening around watching the film of a book she has read and ask her about the differences between the film and the book. Were key details of the plot changed? Did the characters remain true to the way they were described in the book? Why does she think these changes were made?

      Have Conversations about Historical Events

      Pay attention to upcoming historical anniversaries and try to view several media pieces related to the event. For example, there are many documentaries about the Kennedy assassination and the 9/11 attacks. As you watch these, have a family discussion about the event as well as the various interpretations of its exact sequence, contributing causes, and lasting significance. These conversations will help develop analytical literary skills.

      Encourage Accurate Descriptions

      Word precision becomes more important as teens move through middle and high school. Encourage your child to regularly describe items, locations, and events to you. Identify words that you find vague in these descriptions and ask her to think of better, more descriptive, or more accurate words to express what she is thinking.

      Promote Reliable Online Information

      Help your child become a more discerning consumer of online information. Teach her to identify reliable websites by examining where their information comes from, who sponsors them, and how current their content is. Discuss why some sites are more informative and more reliable than others. Take a look together at some sites, such as Snopes or TheStraightDope, that examine online rumors, urban legends, and other stories to see examples of how inaccurate information can become widely accepted.

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  • Math:

      Think Through New Material Together

      As her assignments become more complicated, you might start to feel that your child's math homework is outpacing your comfort level. Continue to review math materials with her before class and to supervise her homework, regardless of your confidence in your own skills. Instead of trying to explain new concepts, have her explain them to you. If you are both confused, read the material and do your best to think it through and discuss it together. Go online to sites like Khan Academy, IXL, or XtraMath for extra assistance.

      Highlight Career Options That Require Math

      Mastering the math she’s studying now will mean more options in the future for college major and career choices, so encourage your child to enjoy the challenge of math. Help her become aware of the range of career paths and disciplines that incorporate math, such as engineering or economics or weather forecasting. One way to do this is by watching movies that highlight math and help your child understand how math can be put to use in the real world, such as Apollo 13 or Jurassic Park.

      Encourage Persistence

      Success in math has a lot to do with taking the time to understand a problem, thinking about different ways of solving it, and persevering if initial attempts to solve it fail. Encourage your child to stick it out with math that she finds challenging and to seek help if she needs it.

      Foster Effective Study Strategies

      Help your child learn how to study effectively for math tests. This means working through problems, not just reading through them or skimming the review sheet. The more problems your child practices, the more she'll internalize the various components. This increases speed and understanding so she can be better prepared to adjust the steps when required.

      Encourage Savvy Spending

      Shopping continues to be one of the best opportunities for your child to practice the math concepts she is learning. She can practice percentages and subtraction by calculating the exact amount you’ll save when something goes on sale and the final cost of discounted items. Have her help you calculate the tip when you eat in a restaurant. If she has a cell phone, familiarize him with the details of the cell phone bill and how much the charge is per text or per minute of usage, so that she can learn to keep track of how much she is spending.

      Discuss The News

      As you watch the news together keep track of how often statistics are cited. Discuss the details of any polls that are mentioned. Talk about how these concepts are being used and the points they are being used to support or refute.

      Calculate The Odds

      If your school is holding a raffle, discuss the details with your child. Have her find out how many tickets will be sold and how many prizes will be awarded. Then have her determine your probability of winning if you buy a ticket -- or 10 or 20.

      Do Home Improvement Projects Together

      Involve your child in big projects at home. She's building math skills that can be put to practical use, and by having her help out you reinforce what she’s learning. If you’re wallpapering or carpeting, for example, have her calculate wall or floor areas and figure out the total cost of various materials.

      Encourage Math Appreciation Through Sports

      Sports provide an engaging way of exploring a host of mathematical concepts. Any hard-core baseball fan knows that the game can’t truly be appreciated without an understanding of some essential statistics, like a player’s batting average and runs batted in. Football is also full of statistics, such as the percentage of passes a quarterback completed. If your child is passionate about a sport, encourage her to explore it through math.

      Play Games

      Play family games that help foster math skills. These include card games like Go Fish, which requires counting and sorting cards into sets, or board games like Monopoly.

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8th

  • English Language Arts:

      Ask Your Teen's Opinion

      Encourage discussion as much as possible in your house. Ask your child for his opinion about political and social issues, or about books, movies, and TV shows. Listen carefully and prompt him to express his ideas thoughtfully, backing up his claims with evidence. Having dinner together as a family may be harder to do as your child gets older and there are more demands on his time, but this is one of the best ways to stimulate these kinds of conversations.

      Encourage Keeping a Diary

      Give your child a journal or diary and encourage him to update it regularly. Assure him that his privacy will be respected and that you will not read his journal.

      Suggest Writing Projects

      Suggest some writing projects for your child that would be of interest to the entire family. Perhaps he could research and write about some aspect of your family’s history, using personal interviews, books, and online information. He could share what he writes with other family members.

      Encourage Reading Aloud

      Encourage your adolescent to read aloud to and tell stories to younger siblings.

      Encourage Note-Taking

      There is strong evidence that, despite the popularity of highlighters, highlighting or underlining text as we read is not an effective way of learning information. Instead, encourage your child to take notes of key ideas, perhaps on Post-its or colored index cards, as he reads. When he has finished a reading assignment he can compile all the notes and he’ll have a ready-made study guide.

      Discuss The News

      Encourage your child to become a more discerning consumer of news and information. Have an ongoing discussion with him about how you get your news and how you decide which sources to trust. Point out examples of misleading information you see, such as in ads, so that your child learns to be skeptical of some sources. Bookmark some Internet sites that you consider to be reliable and that he can use as reference or information sources.

      Help Develop a Homework Routine

      Help your child develop a consistent homework routine. Make sure that he not only reviews what was covered in school that day, but also help him learn how to keep track of long-term assignments and plan ahead. By this age he should have a system for managing his workload, but continue to help him by asking what he’s working on, how he’s progressing with long-term assignments, and whether he needs any help.

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  • Math:

      Highlight Math in Sports

      Sports provide an engaging way of exploring a host of mathematical concepts. Any hard-core baseball fan knows that the game can’t truly be appreciated without an understanding of some essential statistics, like a player’s batting average and runs batted in. Football is also full of statistics, such as the percentage of passes a quarterback completed. If your child is passionate about a sport, encourage him to explore it through math.

      Use Shopping to Practice Math

      Make a habit of asking your child to help out with the shopping by calculating which items are better buys. For example, is it better to purchase 2 six-packs of 12 oz. cans or two 2-liter bottles that cost the same price? How much do you save per item when something is priced as buy two get one free? This will help develop his facility with these kinds of calculations as well as good long-term shopping habits.

      Seek Out Help from Online Resources

      If your child is struggling with math help him find resources online that may be useful. Sites such as Khan Academy or IXL offer extensive opportunities to review and practice math skills.

      Highlight The Ways Math is Used in Different Careers

      Encourage your child to explore the specific ways in which math is used in different careers. Do doctors use math? Engineers? Bankers? What is he starting to think of as career goals. Help him explore, perhaps by researching online or talking to other adults, what role math plays in the fields he is starting to consider?

      Seek Out Films Featuring Math

      Help your child become aware of the many career paths and disciplines that incorporate math, such as engineering or economics or weather forecasting. One way to do this is by watching movies that highlight math and help your child understand how math can be put to use in the real world, such as Apollo 13 or Jurassic Park.

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9th

  • English Language Arts:

      Keep A Consistent Routine

      Now that your child is in high school, her academic success will have more bearing than ever on her future. As her social and extracurricular schedule gets busier, it’s important to keep her focused on her schoolwork and to make sure that she has an effective and consistent homework routine.

      Encourage Reading and Discussion

      Continue to encourage your child to read as much as possible. Make sure she’s staying on top of her assigned reading and also that she has enough down time for leisure reading. Consider choosing books or even long magazine articles to read together that you can then discuss and debate. Talk to her about things you’re reading and find interesting, and prompt her to do the same.

      Share Your Struggles

      Reading classic literature, such as Shakespeare, can be intimidating. As your child reads books read when you were her age, tell her about your struggles and success with the same texts. Just knowing that you also went through a similar experience could provide some needed encouragement for her.

      Use Technology to Build Vocabulary

      As your child progresses through high school, specialized vocabulary becomes increasingly important in many of her classes. If your child uses a smartphone or iPad, help her locate apps that focus on vocabulary development for specific subjects. There are many versions of digital flashcards that can help your child expand her vocabulary.

      Discuss The News

      Help your child become a more discerning consumer of news and information. Have an ongoing discussion with her about how you get your news and how you decide which sources to trust. Point out examples of misleading information you see, such as in ads, so that your child learns to be skeptical of some sources. Have her look for corrections in the local newspaper so that she sees examples of how news can be misreported. Bookmark some Internet sites that you consider reliable and that she can use as reference or information sources.

      Ask About School

      Depending on how moody your adolescent is, it could be more difficult than ever to have extended conversations with her. But continue to ask her regularly about what is going on at school, how she’s doing in class, what she’s struggling with, and which subjects she is enjoying.

      Discuss Career Possibilities

      As your child starts to think about future study concentrations and even career possibilities, use your discussion of the subjects that interest her to steer those conversations. Help her start thinking about the expertise that different careers require. What do lawyers need to study? What about doctors or engineers? Suggest family friends or relatives in various professions that she can talk to for advice and guidance.

      Suggest Making a Video

      Encourage your high schooler to make her own videos. She could make a public-service announcement for an issue she cares about, such as a concern about the environment, a particular product, or a community issue. She can start by brainstorming what she wants to talk about and doing some research. Next, she can learn how public service announcements are structured by watching some online. You can help by talking through with her what she notices about effective PSAs. Finally, she can write the script for her PSA, film it, and upload the finished video online!

      Encourage Longer Writing Projects

      The long days of summer are perfect for teen writers to take on bigger projects. Challenge your high schooler to uncover the stories of relatives, neighbors, or friends and to turn those stories into a published history project. For example, she might investigate who has lived in the neighborhood the longest, how the street has changed, or what happened when relatives moved to their current home. Start by helping your teen develop a list of questions. She can then interview these relatives and neighbors to find out some interesting facts and stories and write up the findings as a narrative, a poem, or even in question/answer format. Finally, she can illustrate or take photographs to make the history come alive!

      Include Writing in Your Family Traditions

      Help your child be a part of your family holiday traditions and include writing at the same time. Have her interview elderly family members or friends about their traditions in celebrating the holidays. She can then turn the information from these interviews into several kinds of writing, from photos with captions to illustrated stories to poems. These writings could turn into a special and much-valued gift to the family member or friend.

      Play Word Games

      Word games are a great way to get your children to see the magic of language. Playing with words can be the beginning of good writing.

      Here’s one idea to try with your high schooler: Together create 6-word memoirs that capture a moment in their lives. For example, if your teen has just finished her first day of school, she might write, “New universe, old self, what now?” If she’s dreading a hard test, you might write, “Killer test awaits. 3 more hours.”

      Encourage Reading About Famous Scientists and Inventors

      Encourage your child to read biographies of famous inventors, scientists, or computer experts, like Steve Jobs or Albert Einstein.

    Print This:  
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  • Math:

      Access Online Resources

      For many parents, the biggest challenge they face helping their child with high school math is that the material is too difficult for them to easily help out. Familiarize yourself with the range of online resources, like Khan Academy and IXL, that provide your child with plenty of opportunities to review the concepts she is studying, take tutorials, and do practice problems. Even if you can’t solve the problems yourself, you can help steer your child toward helpful resources.

      Find a Math Mentor

      If your child is struggling with math and doesn’t understand what use it could ever be to her, it might help for her to have a mentor. This could be a friend or family member who uses math in their work, such as an accountant or an engineer or a programmer. Enlist this person to talk to your child to help to demystify math for her.

      Encourage Persistence

      Success in math has a lot to do with taking the time to understand a problem, thinking about different ways of solving it, and persevering if initial attempts to solve it fail. Encourage your child to stick it out with math that she finds challenging and to seek help if she needs it.

      Subscribe to Magazines That Feature Math

      Subscribe to magazines like Wired or Popular Science that cover subjects related to math in an entertaining and informative format.

      Watch Movies That Feature Math

      Plan a family movie-watching night around a film that features math, like A Beautiful Mind, Moneyball, or The Da Vinci Code.

      Highlight Real-World Examples of Math in the News

      Highlight examples of the real-world use of the math concepts that your child is learning when you’re watching the news together. Some are obvious, such as statistics and poll numbers that are often cited, and others are less so. Recent news stories that involved math included the complicated operation to right the capsized Costa Concordia cruise ship and Felix Baumgartner’s record-setting jump to earth from the stratosphere. Encourage your child do further research into stories that interest her and learn more about the math that was involved.

      Encourage Investing

      Consider giving your child a small sum of money to invest in the stock market. If that’s not an option, have her open a “fantasy” account and track its ups and downs as though she were investing real money.

      Ask Your Child to Teach You

      Ask your child to teach you the math she is studying. The best way to learn a concept is often to teach it to someone else, and verbalizing the ideas she is learning helps to clarify them for your child.

      Discuss Math-Related Career Options

      Encourage your child to explore ways in which math is used in different careers. How do doctors use math? Engineers? Bankers? What is she starting to think of as career goals? Help her explore, by researching online or talking to other adults, the role of math in the fields she is starting to consider.

      Highlight Math in Sports

      Sports provide an engaging way of exploring a host of mathematical concepts. Any hard-core baseball fan knows that the game can’t truly be appreciated without an understanding of some essential statistics, like a player’s batting average and runs batted in. Football is also full of statistics, such as the percentage of passes a quarterback completed. If your child is passionate about a sport, she’ll enjoy exploring it through math.

    Print This:  
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growth chart

10th

  • English Language Arts:

      Keep A Consistent Routine

      Now that your child is in high school, her academic success will have more bearing than ever on her future. As her social and extracurricular schedule gets busier, it’s important to keep her focused on her schoolwork and to make sure that she has an effective and consistent homework routine.

      Encourage Reading and Discussion

      Continue to encourage your child to read as much as possible. Make sure she’s staying on top of her assigned reading and also that she has enough down time for leisure reading. Consider choosing books or even long magazine articles to read together that you can then discuss and debate. Talk to her about things you’re reading and find interesting, and prompt her to do the same.

      Share Your Struggles

      Reading classic literature, such as Shakespeare, can be intimidating. As your child reads books read when you were her age, tell her about your struggles and success with the same texts. Just knowing that you also went through a similar experience could provide some needed encouragement for her.

      Use Technology to Build Vocabulary

      As your child progresses through high school, specialized vocabulary becomes increasingly important in many of her classes. If your child uses a smartphone or iPad, help her locate apps that focus on vocabulary development for specific subjects. There are many versions of digital flashcards that can help your child expand her vocabulary.

      Discuss The News

      Help your child become a more discerning consumer of news and information. Have an ongoing discussion with her about how you get your news and how you decide which sources to trust. Point out examples of misleading information you see, such as in ads, so that your child learns to be skeptical of some sources. Have her look for corrections in the local newspaper so that she sees examples of how news can be misreported. Bookmark some Internet sites that you consider reliable and that she can use as reference or information sources.

      Ask About School

      Depending on how moody your adolescent is, it could be more difficult than ever to have extended conversations with her. But continue to ask her regularly about what is going on at school, how she’s doing in class, what she’s struggling with, and which subjects she is enjoying.

      Discuss Career Possibilities

      As your child starts to think about future study concentrations and even career possibilities, use your discussion of the subjects that interest her to steer those conversations. Help her start thinking about the expertise that different careers require. What do lawyers need to study? What about doctors or engineers? Suggest family friends or relatives in various professions that she can talk to for advice and guidance.

      Suggest Making a Video

      Encourage your high schooler to make her own videos. She could make a public-service announcement for an issue she cares about, such as a concern about the environment, a particular product, or a community issue. She can start by brainstorming what she wants to talk about and doing some research. Next, she can learn how public service announcements are structured by watching some online. You can help by talking through with her what she notices about effective PSAs. Finally, she can write the script for her PSA, film it, and upload the finished video online!

      Encourage Longer Writing Projects

      The long days of summer are perfect for teen writers to take on bigger projects. Challenge your high schooler to uncover the stories of relatives, neighbors, or friends and to turn those stories into a published history project. For example, she might investigate who has lived in the neighborhood the longest, how the street has changed, or what happened when relatives moved to their current home. Start by helping your teen develop a list of questions. She can then interview these relatives and neighbors to find out some interesting facts and stories and write up the findings as a narrative, a poem, or even in question/answer format. Finally, she can illustrate or take photographs to make the history come alive!

      Include Writing in Your Family Traditions

      Help your child be a part of your family holiday traditions and include writing at the same time. Have her interview elderly family members or friends about their traditions in celebrating the holidays. She can then turn the information from these interviews into several kinds of writing, from photos with captions to illustrated stories to poems. These writings could turn into a special and much-valued gift to the family member or friend.

      Play Word Games

      Word games are a great way to get your children to see the magic of language. Playing with words can be the beginning of good writing.

      Here’s one idea to try with your high schooler: Together create 6-word memoirs that capture a moment in their lives. For example, if your teen has just finished her first day of school, she might write, “New universe, old self, what now?” If she’s dreading a hard test, you might write, “Killer test awaits. 3 more hours.”

      Encourage Reading About Famous Scientists and Inventors

      Encourage your child to read biographies of famous inventors, scientists, or computer experts, like Steve Jobs or Albert Einstein.

    Print This:  
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  • Math:

      Access Online Resources

      For many parents, the biggest challenge they face helping their child with high school math is that the material is too difficult for them to easily help out. Familiarize yourself with the range of online resources, like Khan Academy and IXL, that provide your child with plenty of opportunities to review the concepts she is studying, take tutorials, and do practice problems. Even if you can’t solve the problems yourself, you can help steer your child toward helpful resources.

      Find a Math Mentor

      If your child is struggling with math and doesn’t understand what use it could ever be to her, it might help for her to have a mentor. This could be a friend or family member who uses math in their work, such as an accountant or an engineer or a programmer. Enlist this person to talk to your child to help to demystify math for her.

      Encourage Persistence

      Success in math has a lot to do with taking the time to understand a problem, thinking about different ways of solving it, and persevering if initial attempts to solve it fail. Encourage your child to stick it out with math that she finds challenging and to seek help if she needs it.

      Subscribe to Magazines That Feature Math

      Subscribe to magazines like Wired or Popular Science that cover subjects related to math in an entertaining and informative format.

      Watch Movies That Feature Math

      Plan a family movie-watching night around a film that features math, like A Beautiful Mind, Moneyball, or The Da Vinci Code.

      Highlight Real-World Examples of Math in the News

      Highlight examples of the real-world use of the math concepts that your child is learning when you’re watching the news together. Some are obvious, such as statistics and poll numbers that are often cited, and others are less so. Recent news stories that involved math included the complicated operation to right the capsized Costa Concordia cruise ship and Felix Baumgartner’s record-setting jump to earth from the stratosphere. Encourage your child do further research into stories that interest her and learn more about the math that was involved.

      Encourage Investing

      Consider giving your child a small sum of money to invest in the stock market. If that’s not an option, have her open a “fantasy” account and track its ups and downs as though she were investing real money.

      Ask Your Child to Teach You

      Ask your child to teach you the math she is studying. The best way to learn a concept is often to teach it to someone else, and verbalizing the ideas she is learning helps to clarify them for your child.

      Discuss Math-Related Career Options

      Encourage your child to explore ways in which math is used in different careers. How do doctors use math? Engineers? Bankers? What is she starting to think of as career goals? Help her explore, by researching online or talking to other adults, the role of math in the fields she is starting to consider.

      Highlight Math in Sports

      Sports provide an engaging way of exploring a host of mathematical concepts. Any hard-core baseball fan knows that the game can’t truly be appreciated without an understanding of some essential statistics, like a player’s batting average and runs batted in. Football is also full of statistics, such as the percentage of passes a quarterback completed. If your child is passionate about a sport, she’ll enjoy exploring it through math.

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growth chart

11th

  • English Language Arts:

      Make Time for Reading

      As your child’s academic and extracurricular schedule becomes busier than it has ever been, it’s important to help him continue to make time for some basics. Make sure that he is staying on top of assigned reading, but also that he has enough down time for leisure reading.

      Encourage a Range of Reading

      Encourage your child to read a wide range of materials, from novels to biographies to informational texts and scientific material. When possible, try to engage him in discussion about the themes and ideas of what he is reading. Some of the texts he’s reading may be of interest to you, and discussing them could offer a valuable starting point for meaningful conversations.

      Ask About Reading

      One focus of your child’s classroom reading is determining what a text is saying explicitly and what it leaves unsaid. You can help prompt him to think critically in this way by asking probing questions about what he has read and what he has learned from it.

      Make Time for Family Discussion

      Make sure you continue to make time for family conversation and discussion. Sit down to meals together as a family and engage your child in discussion about what is going on in his life, both personally and academically.

      Share Your Struggles

      Reading classic literature, such as Shakespeare, can be intimidating. As your child reads books you read when you were his age, tell him about your struggles and success with the same texts. Just knowing that you also went through a similar experience could provide some needed encouragement for him.

      Ask Your Child's Opinion

      Include your child in conversations about news developments and world events, as well as family matters. Ask for his opinion on important topics and listen carefully to his responses. Ask him to back up his opinions and statements with evidence.

      Discuss Career Possibilities

      As your child starts to think about future study concentrations and career possibilities, use your discussion of the subjects that interest him to steer those conversations. Help him start thinking about the expertise that different careers require. What do lawyers need to study? What about doctors or engineers?

      Include Writing in Family Traditions

      Help your child be a part of your family holiday traditions and include writing at the same time. Have him interview elderly family members or friends about their traditions in celebrating the holidays. He can then turn the information from these interviews into several kinds of writing, from photos with captions to illustrated stories to poems. These writings could turn into a special and much-valued gift to the family member or friend.

    Print This:  
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    Share This:  
  • Math:

      Ask to See Math Homework

      You might not be able to help your child with the more difficult elements of his math homework, but by asking to see his work and offering to help out you can continue to make sure that he is maintaining good study habits and staying on top of his assignments. Ask him to explain to you what he is studying. Verbalizing the concepts he is learning will help him process and retain the information.

      Encourage Persistence

      Encourage your child to persevere when he encounters difficulty in math. If he is having difficulty solving a problem, encourage him to think about it in other ways and to look for patterns among similar problems. It’s important that he isn’t discouraged by math and continues to see it as something that is doable, even if it’s getting more difficult.

      Use Online Math Resources

      For many parents, the biggest challenge they face helping their kids with math in high school is that the material their high schoolers are studying is too difficult for them to be able to easily help out with. Familiarize yourself with the range of online resources, like Khan Academy, IXL, and Hippocampus, that provide your kids with plenty of opportunities to review the concepts they’re studying, take tutorials and do practice problems. Even if you can’t solve the problems yourself, you can help steer your child toward helpful resources.

      Find a Math Mentor

      If your child is struggling with math and doesn’t understand what use it could ever be to him, it might help for him to have a mentor. This could be a friend or family member who uses math in their work, such as an accountant or an engineer or a programmer. Enlist this person to talk to your child to help to demystify math for him.

      Find a Tutor

      If your child is really struggling it might be necessary to enlist the help of a math tutor. Ask your child’s math teacher and guidance counselor for advice. Many schools will suggest that students in higher grades help out as tutors.

      Discuss Math-Related Careers

      Encourage your child to explore ways in which math is used in different careers. How do doctors use math? Engineers? Bankers? What is he starting to think of as career goals? Help him explore, by researching online or talking to other adults, the role of math in the fields he is starting to consider.

      Watch Movies That Feature Math

      Plan a family movie-watching night around a film that features math, like A Beautiful Mind, Moneyball, or The Da Vinci Code.

      Encourage Reading About Famous Scientists and Inventors

      Encourage your child to read biographies of famous inventors, scientists or computer experts, like Steve Jobs or Albert Einstein.

      Highlight Math Through Sports

      Sports provide a great forum for your child to delve into many of the math concepts that he is studying, from statistics and probability in baseball to geometry in racquet sports.

      Play Math Games

      Plenty of games can help foster math skills. These include card games, board games, dice, and dominoes.

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growth chart

12th

  • English Language Arts:

      Make Time for Reading

      As your child’s academic and extracurricular schedule becomes busier than it has ever been, it’s important to help him continue to make time for some basics. Make sure that he is staying on top of assigned reading, but also that he has enough down time for leisure reading.

      Encourage a Range of Reading

      Encourage your child to read a wide range of materials, from novels to biographies to informational texts and scientific material. When possible, try to engage him in discussion about the themes and ideas of what he is reading. Some of the texts he’s reading may be of interest to you, and discussing them could offer a valuable starting point for meaningful conversations.

      Ask About Reading

      One focus of your child’s classroom reading is determining what a text is saying explicitly and what it leaves unsaid. You can help prompt him to think critically in this way by asking probing questions about what he has read and what he has learned from it.

      Make Time for Family Discussion

      Make sure you continue to make time for family conversation and discussion. Sit down to meals together as a family and engage your child in discussion about what is going on in his life, both personally and academically.

      Share Your Struggles

      Reading classic literature, such as Shakespeare, can be intimidating. As your child reads books you read when you were his age, tell him about your struggles and success with the same texts. Just knowing that you also went through a similar experience could provide some needed encouragement for him.

      Ask Your Child's Opinion

      Include your child in conversations about news developments and world events, as well as family matters. Ask for his opinion on important topics and listen carefully to his responses. Ask him to back up his opinions and statements with evidence.

      Discuss Career Possibilities

      As your child starts to think about future study concentrations and career possibilities, use your discussion of the subjects that interest him to steer those conversations. Help him start thinking about the expertise that different careers require. What do lawyers need to study? What about doctors or engineers?

      Include Writing in Family Traditions

      Help your child be a part of your family holiday traditions and include writing at the same time. Have him interview elderly family members or friends about their traditions in celebrating the holidays. He can then turn the information from these interviews into several kinds of writing, from photos with captions to illustrated stories to poems. These writings could turn into a special and much-valued gift to the family member or friend.

    Print This:  
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    Share This:  
  • Math:

      Ask to See Math Homework

      You might not be able to help your child with the more difficult elements of his math homework, but by asking to see his work and offering to help out you can continue to make sure that he is maintaining good study habits and staying on top of his assignments. Ask him to explain to you what he is studying. Verbalizing the concepts he is learning will help him process and retain the information.

      Encourage Persistence

      Encourage your child to persevere when he encounters difficulty in math. If he is having difficulty solving a problem, encourage him to think about it in other ways and to look for patterns among similar problems. It’s important that he isn’t discouraged by math and continues to see it as something that is doable, even if it’s getting more difficult.

      Use Online Math Resources

      For many parents, the biggest challenge they face helping their kids with math in high school is that the material their high schoolers are studying is too difficult for them to be able to easily help out with. Familiarize yourself with the range of online resources, like Khan Academy, IXL, and Hippocampus, that provide your kids with plenty of opportunities to review the concepts they’re studying, take tutorials and do practice problems. Even if you can’t solve the problems yourself, you can help steer your child toward helpful resources.

      Find a Math Mentor

      If your child is struggling with math and doesn’t understand what use it could ever be to him, it might help for him to have a mentor. This could be a friend or family member who uses math in their work, such as an accountant or an engineer or a programmer. Enlist this person to talk to your child to help to demystify math for him.

      Find a Tutor

      If your child is really struggling it might be necessary to enlist the help of a math tutor. Ask your child’s math teacher and guidance counselor for advice. Many schools will suggest that students in higher grades help out as tutors.

      Discuss Math-Related Careers

      Encourage your child to explore ways in which math is used in different careers. How do doctors use math? Engineers? Bankers? What is he starting to think of as career goals? Help him explore, by researching online or talking to other adults, the role of math in the fields he is starting to consider.

      Watch Movies That Feature Math

      Plan a family movie-watching night around a film that features math, like A Beautiful Mind, Moneyball, or The Da Vinci Code.

      Encourage Reading About Famous Scientists and Inventors

      Encourage your child to read biographies of famous inventors, scientists or computer experts, like Steve Jobs or Albert Einstein.

      Highlight Math Through Sports

      Sports provide a great forum for your child to delve into many of the math concepts that he is studying, from statistics and probability in baseball to geometry in racquet sports.

      Play Math Games

      Plenty of games can help foster math skills. These include card games, board games, dice, and dominoes.

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growth chart

Academic Growth Charts

States across the country are implementing new standards for student achievement, designed to better prepare young people for careers and college. These academic benchmarks are meant to help parents understand the course material for each grade. They are based on the standards in most of the country and are intended as a general resource for parents, not as a comprehensive breakdown of the contents of your child’s curriculum.

Academic

The information included in this Parent Toolkit is thorough and comprehensive, but there are many more additional resources that parents can consult when seeking support and guidance. Included here are some links that may be helpful.

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