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Can I Skip My Reading Tonight?

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Did you know one of the most prominent indicators of a successful reader is the amount of time spent actually reading? Let’s figure it out — mathematically!

Student A reads 20 minutes five nights of every week;
Student B reads only 4 minutes a night…or not at all!

Step 1: Multiply minutes a night x 5 times each week.
Student A reads 20 min. x 5 times a week = 100 mins./week
Student B reads 4 minutes x 5 times a week = 20 minutes

Step 2: Multiply minutes a week x 4 weeks each month.
Student A reads 400 minutes a month.
Student B reads 80 minutes a month.

Step 3: Multiply minutes a month x 9 months/school year
Student A reads 3600 min. in a school year.
Student B reads 720 min. in a school year.

Student A practices reading the equivalent of ten whole school days a year.
Student B gets the equivalent of only two school days of reading practice.

By the end of 6th grade if Student A and Student B maintain these same reading habits,
Student A will have read the equivalent of 60 whole school days.
Student B will have read the equivalent of only 12 school days.

One would expect the gap of information retained will have widened considerably and so, undoubtedly, will school performance. How do you think Student B will feel about him/herself as a student?

Some questions to ponder:

+ Which student would you expect to read better?
+ Which student would you expect to know more?
+ Which student would you expect to write better?
+ Which student would you expect to have a better vocabulary?
+ Which student would you expect to be more successful in school….and in life?

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Busy Parents Guide

familyNo matter how busy parents are, there are things they can do to help their children. Parents of first- and second-graders in the “School Transition Study,” conducted by the Harvard Family Research Project, have discovered creative ways to stay involved in their children’s learning and development. Researchers conducting the survey learned important and useful tips to share with busy parents.

Use Your Time Well

  • Organize your time. One single parent of four who is going back to school tries hard to organize her class schedule so that she has time with her children. She is able to be home with them in the afternoons on most school days. In another family where the mother and father both work full time, they are able to organize their work schedules so that one of the parents is always at home with the children. One day a week after school, the children walk to their mother’s workplace where they wait a short time with her until their father picks them up.
  • Do a few things at once. One father arranges to do quiet household chores right beside his daughter who does her homework at the kitchen table. Then the father is there to answer questions. Another mother has her daughter start her homework in the family’s car while they are waiting for her older brother to get out of school. The car is a quiet place where they can talk together.
  • Find other people to help. One single parent who cannot be home in the afternoon or evening has the babysitter help the children with homework. Another single parent who works two jobs during the summer arranges for her son to get taken to his neighborhood summer program every morning by his grandfather, who lives nearby. When the program is over, the mother’s friend takes the child to football practice and then back home, where the mother serves everyone a late dinner.

Balance Work Schedules and Family

  • Do some school things at the beginning of the day. One single father in the study who works a late shift uses the morning when he is home to check over homework with his son. Then he takes him to school. Sometimes he will sit in the classroom and watch or chat with the teacher before he goes to work.
  • Make breakfast the big family meal. Another mother who also works late has her high school-aged daughter make a simple dinner for the younger children. Then the mother cooks a big hot breakfast every morning when she is home before the children go to school.
  • Do things differently on the weekend. One mother leaves for her job every morning before the children are up. But on Sundays she wakes them up early, so she can share time with them before she goes to work. A special thing for this family is eating lunch at the restaurant where the mother works.


Ways to Stay Involved with Your Child’s School When You Are Busy

Being involved with school is an important way to show you care about your child’s learning.

  • How busy parents stay involved at school. One mother, who cannot volunteer because of her work schedule, finds it easier to go to meetings at night, and has been to some school council meetings. Another mother volunteers to help keep things organized in the halls at the end of the school days, when she is there picking up her child. In a family where the mother is taking care of a baby, the father is able to help out in his older son’s classroom two hours a week.

Source: Early Childhood Digest, Sept. 1999, National Institute on Early Childhood Development and Education, and U.S. Dept. of Education, 202/219-1935.

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40 Ways To Say “Good For You!”

starEveryone knows that a little praise goes a long way.  But a little praise really needs to be something more than the same few phrases, repeated over and over.  Students need more than the “traditional” teacher comments (good and very good), especially if you are trying to encourage a student.  These are phrases that parents can use, too!  Try these……

That’s really nice.
Wow!  That’s great!
I like the way you are working.
Keep up the good work.
That’s quite an improvement.
Much better.
Keep it up.
What neat work.
You really outdid yourself today.
I am pleased by this kind of work.
Good for you!
I’m proud of you.
You’ve got it now.
You make it look easy.
Your work is coming along nicely.
Excellent work!
I am impressed.
You’re on the right track now.
Very creative.
Now you’ve figured it out.
Superior work!
You’ve made a very good point.
I appreciate your effort.
That’s “A” work for sure.
You put a lot of work into this.
That’s the right answer.
Nice going!
Very interesting ideas here.
Good thinking!
That’s clever.
Super Job!
You should be proud of this.
Congratulations on the good score.
Right on!
Quality effort went into this work.
Fine job!
* Source:  N.S.E.A.

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Practice Math Online


Number Cracker Game


Interactive Thermometer

Practice with Measurement   

Measurement with Ruler

Which is Heavier

Telling Time

Gumball Greater and Less Than

Seashell Round Up

Whack a Mole Counting Patterns 

Balloon Probability

Space Arrays 

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Read a Magazine Online

Category: Language Arts, Parent Resources, Reading Fluency  Comments off

Reading Comprehension Tips

Here are some tips for families to help their children become better readers. Reading Comprehension Newsletter

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Helping Your Child Be On Time

time-fliesIn her article Helping Your Child Be on Time, Susan Heid gives us great advice for helping our children (and us) be on time.  Whether you have a dilly dallier like me or just some poor habits to address, this article will help reduce the rushing and help your child be on time.

Check out this link:

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School Success: Planning Matters

Boy_ReadingIn the article School Success: Planning Matters, Laura offers up some great advice and tips for helping our kids succeed in school this year. Whether your kids struggle with learning issues or not, Laura offers ups some great ideas that can help keep us focused on learning and succeeding in school.

Check out this link:

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Perseverance: A Must-Have for Children


Many children have set out to accomplish something–sports, music, good grades–only to realize that the path is uphill and the prize is not free. Certainly, you’ve experienced seeing excited eyes and faces as your children share dreams of accomplishing some new endeavor; then, you later see the frustration and hear those distressed words, “I can’t.” This is the time when being a parent counts.

Children need to feel successful. The actual accomplishment of a task is not as important as the work they do to accomplish it. You may need to help your child adjust a goal, or you may need to give an explanation about why he or she can’t fly to the moon tomorrow on a rocket, but it’s important for you to find a way to help your child experience the satisfaction of persevering to the end.

As the close of the school year approaches, consider working on the following three “Be’s” that will help your children develop perseverance.

  • · Be interested. There’s a reason kids say, “Daddy, watch this!” Children never really outgrow the need to know that you care about what they do. Show that you want them to be successful.


  • · Be a teacher. Parents are teachers. Kids have classrooms at school, but the laboratory for learning is the home. You don’t need chalkboards, fancy technology, or advanced degrees in math or reading to teach your children. Simply watch for, and take advantage of, teaching moments–a chance to encourage, lift, explain, or share one of your life’s experiences.


  • · Believe. Your children can do anything. Do you believe it? Children can tell. Give them the gift of truly believing in them, and then brace yourself for them to do things that may astound you.
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Your Child’s Learning Style

Your Child May Not Learn Like You Do


You probably remember what school was like when you were a child. You know what subjects you enjoyed–and you may remember the subjects you didn’t like. You also know how you learned new information the best. Maybe you retained more when you read your textbook, or maybe you liked it better when the teacher lectured, or maybe you did the best with hands -on activities. You likely still discover new information in the same way you picked it up in school.


However, when it comes to your child, you need to forget everything you remember about your school preferences. That may sound drastic, but it’s really necessary if you want your child to do his or her best. Your child is a unique individual.  Not only is it likely that his or her subject preference differs from yours, but your child may also learn differently than you do.


In terms of learning styles, there are three main types: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic or tactile. Your child may use one or all of these styles as he or she progresses through school. The rest of this message will define these styles and give you strategies to help your child make the most of his or her dominant learning style in school.


Visual learners benefit from seeing or observing the way something looks or works.

Think about and ask your child the following questions. Does he or she have a hard time remembering names although he or she can always remember a face? How does he or she recall information? Does he or she see images? If so, your child is likely a visual learner.


If your child is a visual learner, try the following approaches:

*Ask your child to highlight important information on worksheets or handouts with a marker or draw a line under it with a pencil.

*Make flash cards for your child. Simple math facts and vocabulary words lend themselves well to flash cards.

*Help your child make charts, diagrams, and graphs to better understand and express information.


Auditory learners learn best by hearing or listening.

If your child is an auditory learner, he or she probably retains more information when the lesson is presented verbally and when the teacher questions the whole class. Ask your child if he or she does well in class discussions. Is he or she easily distracted by noises? If the answer to either of these questions is yes, your child is likely an auditory learner.


You can help your auditory learner do better in school by:

*Reading aloud to him or her or having the child read material aloud.

*Using mnemonic devices or phrases when memorizing materials. Do you remember all of the colors of the rainbow? If you memorized RoyG.Biv, you probably do.

*Allowing your child to study with a friend so he or she can hear and talk about information.


Kinesthetic or tactile learners learn best by touching or doing.

You’ll know easily if your child is a tactile learner. Is he or she the only person in the family who can set the digital recorder or run the computer? Does he or she love to build things? Is your child often out of his or her seat in the classroom? Yes, yes, and yes? Then your child learns best with hands-on activities.

You can try the following things to help your kinesthetic learner do better in the classroom:

*Ask your child to act out or demonstrate concepts. For instance, to help your child understand that verbs are action words, you might have him or her act out the meaning of the word.

*When helping your child with homework, give him or her a real world perspective on the content. For example, if your child is working with fractions, get out the measuring cups.

*Take advantage of hands-on projects. Your tactile learner will enjoy these assignments the most.

*Allow your child access to multimedia applications and learning tools on the computer.


Help your child discover his or her own learning style.

By doing so, you not only make your child more responsible for his or her own learning, but you heighten his or her awareness of how he or she learns. With your help, your child can develop strategies for making the best use of his or her dominant style, as well as overcoming any obstacles he or she may have with other learning styles.

                                From “Cut & Paste” vol. 12/#3/March 2011

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