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Parent Tips

Tips to Help Your Child Succeed:

Raising your Child’s Comprehension:

  • Read, read, read! Read to your children every day. Make it part of your bedtime routine, an after-dinner activity, or a fun way to spend time together on the couch.
  • Set a good example by letting your children see you read. Show them that reading is a good choice for leisure activity and sure beats watching TV. Talk about the book you’re reading. Listening to you summarize your book teaches your children how to take what they’ve read, absorb it and condense it.
  • Use pre-reading comprehension techniques. Before reading a book, have your child look at the cover and the inside pictures and predict what the story is about.
  • Read books together and discuss. Read to your children every evening. At the end of each chapter, discuss what happened. Parents can still share books with older children by reading the same book separately. Ask your child every day, “Where are you in the book? Did you get to Chapter 5 yet? What do you think about what happened to Harry?” Allowing children to retell a story that they read lets them practice comprehension skills.
  • Play board games with your children. Board games require putting into action everything that is read, and can help increase reading comprehension. Help your children read the instructions to a new board game or review the rules of an old favorite. Ask if they’d like to change the rules or game play slightly and implement their suggestions.
  • Cook or bake with a recipe. Find a lengthy recipe for something that your children love to eat and make it together. Turn over recipe reading duties to your children and watch them take what they’ve read and turn it into something delicious.
  • Play Hangman. The simple word game is a good way to build your child’s vocabulary. It only requires a pencil and paper and can easily be played while waiting in waiting rooms or the car.
  • Use the book club discussion questions in the back of books. Many chapter books include discussion questions for book clubs, which provide good discussion points for at-home book talks.
  • Play with inflection. Try this with your young child: Read a line from a book and have your child repeat it back to you with dramatic expression, inflection and phrasing.

Getting your Child Interested in Reading

Family Reading Time

  • Read together often, ideally every day. The more a child reads, the more proficient he will become. Integrate reading into everyday activities. Have your children read everything they come across, like labels, signs and menus. Enforcing regular family reading time is a good way to ensure children read regularly. Parents can read to their children or read books individually, so long as they do it together. This is a good way to set a positive example for children; if a child sees his parents enjoying reading, he is more likely to engage in reading.

Make Reading Fun

  • Go to the library. Make picking out library books fun for your child by getting them involved in the process. Ask your child what types of books he wants to read and race to see who can locate those books first. Also, take advantage of the reading programs and activities library’s host, such as story time. Some book stores host reading events as well, and children can often meet authors through these events. Reluctant readers can gain an appreciation for the fun side of reading through library activities and by meeting the authors of books they read.

Quantity and Quality

  • Build a large family library. Make sure the child has plenty of books are around his reading level. Also, make sure the books the child has to choose from are books he will actually want to read. If the book topics are too complex or not of interest to the child, it could make reading less appealing for him. Familiarize yourself with the child’s interest. Share those interests with librarians and booksellers to see if they can direct you to books that may be of interest to your child.

Books for Struggling Readers

  • Read books designed for struggling readers with your child. Books for struggling readers have an easy-to-read typeface, and engaging illustrations and content. The book should clearly explain difficult vocabulary words or concepts, and reinforce the idea throughout the text. Easy-to-read books also boast simple sentences also help struggling readers.

Download “Read 20 Minutes a Night”

Teach About Money

  • Money is not only an effective way to teach basic math, but it helps children understand more complicated principles like fractions. Lay out a series of coins on the table, such as a penny, nickel, dime and quarter. Talk about how much a penny is worth—1/100th of a dollar—and that one hundred pennies is the same thing as a dollar. Expand the lesson to the other coins, such as how five pennies equal one nickel, two nickels equal one dime, and so on. Write down an amount of money on a piece of paper, and help your child collect the proper coins in order to equal that amount.

Use Flash Cards

  • Some children are visual learners and may benefit by using flash cards. These can be of great benefit to parents who haven’t studied their multiplication tables in several years, as well, as the answers are usually on the back of the flash card. Spend time regularly with your child using the flash cards to help him understand basic math principles and memorize things like addition, subtraction and multiplication. Flash cards are convenient because of their size, meaning you can take them anywhere and pull them out for a quick math practice session when the time is right.

Make mathematics part of your children’s daily life.

  • Mathematics will become more meaningful when your kids see how important it is in so many real-life situations. Encourage them to use math in practical ways. For example, ask them to space new plants a certain distance apart, double a recipe, and pay bills in stores. 

Try out my wiki space website
  • We study Saxon Math in class.  I have put a link to the Saxon Math website on my wiki space.  There are also tons on other useful links to practice math facts, time, money, and other math games.  It is  If you forget it, it is in the corner of the newsletter every week.
From  Spelling is closely connected to reading, and as a child’s ability to spell increases, so does their reading proficiency, according to R. Malatesha Joshi, professor of literacy education at TexasA&M University.

Step 1
Provide your child with authentic activities during which he can practice spelling. Write thank you notes together, ask him to copy down the grocery list as you dictate it, and write down activities on the calendar. Encourage him to keep a daily journal where he can write down his thoughts. The more writing is integrated into everyday life, the easier spelling will become.

Step 2
Teach your child to recognize spelling patterns in words. Point out that she already recognizes some of them, as the double-consonant word “bell” looks correct but a double-consonant word such as “bbel” does not. Teaching your child spelling patterns for the silent “e,” for example, can give her spelling skills a boost.

Step 3
Ask your child to draw words with which he is having an especially difficult time. For example, the word “city” can be drawn so that the letters resemble tall buildings. Encourage your child to spend some time turning the word into a colorful picture, and chances are that he’ll always remember how to spell that particular word.

Step 4
Watch closed-captioned television together and ask your child to identify misspelled words. Make a game out of it, and give her a point for each misspelled word she catches. This activity can also increase fluency in reading and is recommended by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for this purpose.

Step 5
Keep a running list of all of the spelling words your child has had in school during the year. Save the spelling lists and review several words a day from them. You can quiz your child in the car when you go on errands or make a routine of reviewing spelling for a few minutes each evening after dinner. This will increase your child’s retention of words learned earlier in the year. Keep in mind that some children will do better if they have an opportunity to write the words down rather than spelling them out orally.

Step 6
Allow your child time to determine how a word is spelled. Calculating which discrete sounds make up a word and putting them together are both parts of the process of learning how to spell and can make your child a better speller, according to Harvard University’s Project EASE.

Step 7
Read to your child and encourage her to read on her own. When you read out loud, encourage your child to track the words with her eyes as you read. Give her books to read that are interesting and are on her reading level. The more your child sees the written word, the more proficient she is likely to become in spelling.
If your child asks you to spell a word, do NOT spell it for them!  Ask them how they think it should be spelled.  If they are incorrect, then help them break it into “chunks” (syllables) and break down the spelling that way.
There is also a website for our weekly spelling words.  It is  Just type in Wendi Akins as the teacher and it will bring up the 3rd and 4th grade lists for you.

Links to learning sites:


Download: School Connection

AZ Department of Child Safety

  1. Create an environment in your home that encourages learning.
    Doing so will have a major influence on how well your children do in school. Provide them with many different opportunities to become excited about learning.  Make sure that appropriate materials – from puzzles to paints to computers – are available to stimulate their curiosity.
  2. Provide you children with a well-balanced life.
    A stable home filled with love serves as a solid foundation for getting straight A’s.  Establish routines so that your children get enough sleep, eat regular, nourishing meals, and exercise.  Limit time watching TV and playing video and computer games.
  3. Read to your children every day.
    Most of the learning you children achieve in school involves reading.  Read to your kids to raise their interest in reading, to expand and enrich their vocabularies, and to broaden their experiences.  Reading aloud exposes them to books that would be difficult for them to read on their own.
  4. Help your children learn how to tackle homework.
    Doing homework reinforces what your children learn in school Show them how to do it so that homework quickly becomes their responsibility.  Help them learn what assignments to do first and how to plan their time.  Encourage them not to rush through their homework, but to consider every assignment a learning experience.  Be sure to proved them with a quiet place to focus and complete assignments.
  5. Talk to your children about school.
    Your children spend hours in school every day.  A lot can happen during that time.  Show that you are genuinely interested in their day by asking questions about what they did and talking with them about the papers they bring home.  When problems occur, work with your kids to find solutions.