Tips and Ideas to Foster Reading at Home Over the Holiday

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Reading Ideas:

  • Read holiday bedtime stories.
  • Have your child read the grocery list as you shop for your holiday meal.
  • Bake holiday treats together and have your child read the recipe.
  • Get excited to visit the library.
  • Play board games and have your child read the cards.

Reading Tips:

  • Don’t leave home without it! Always have reading materials available to read in the car or at appointments.
  • Once is not enough. Re-read favorite stories to help build fluency, speed and accuracy.
  • Dig Deeper! Ask your child questions about what they just read.
  • Be patient, correct gently and praise with enthusiasm

Giving at the Holiday Season

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The holidays are a great time to teach children compassion and empathy for others. It is easy for children to be excited to receive gifts, but how do we develop the same enthusiasm for giving? Here are some examples of how you can involve your child in the joy of giving.

  • Let your child shop for a few gifts for others using their own money
  • Do a holiday craft or bake cookies to give to neighbors or friends
  • Let your children wrap a few gifts themselves
  • Have your child make cards for others
  • Give your child the opportunity to present the gift to someone so they can see the joy it brings
  • Volunteer in a local soup kitchen or participate in Toys for Tots

7 Helpful Online Learning Sites for Kids

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PBS Kids This is a great site for kids of all ages featuring all of your kids’ favorite characters from PBS!

Random House Featuring books, activities, games and more all surrounding your favorite characters from Random House Books! This is a great way to make books come alive for little ones!

Starfall Education This is a great website for learning to read. Starfall takes your kids all the way from ABCs to Learning to Read! There are some fun games and more that surround phonics, sounds and putting sounds together in words! This is great for preschoolers learning to read!

Scholastic Kids There are tons of great videos and games about the environment and science. This is a great website for older children who want to learn about weather, geography and more.

Highlights Kids This site has games, books, crafts and of course hidden pictures.

ABCYa This is another great learning site for kids. There is everything from counting games, to graphing, patterns and more. This site is great for learning early math skills. 

National Geographic Kids  This is a great site for exploring our world and learning all you can about the ocean, animals, geography and more! There is a TON of information on this site and also some great videos, puzzles and quizzes!

So, How was School Today?

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Have you ever asked your child “How was School Today?” only to get an answer such as “fine”, “good” or “bad”? This could be because of how the question is phrased. It is too easy for students to just give a one word answer. Here are a few examples of ways to ask and actually get an answer!

  1. What was the best/worst thing that happened at school today?
  2. Tell me something that made you laugh today?
  3. If I called your teacher tonight, what would he/she tell me about today?
  4. Tell me one thing you learned today.
  5. Where do you play the most at recess?
  6. Who in your class do you think you could be nicer to?

Help Your Child Set Goals and Achieve Them

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In school, we often use the term goals with your children. How can we help our students set realistic goals and stick to them? Consider these ideas you can also support at home:

  1. Make the goal specific. The target needs to be very clear for your child. Help him/her clearly articulate what it is they want to achieve. For example, instead of a goal to get better at reading, the goal could be to better understand what is being read.
  2. Set a short timeframe. Many goals fail because the timeframe is too long. Set small, specific timeframes (2-3 weeks) that can be more easily monitored.
  3. Make a plan. Help your child figure out actions they can take to reach their goal. How will you better understand what you are reading? Will you write a summary after a certain number of pages? Will you ask questions as you read?
  4. Adjust the goal. There is nothing wrong with your child adjusting his/her goals. Adjusting will be more successful than quitting.
  5. Celebrate. Celebrate the small successes like sticking to the goal’s steps. There is something about acknowledging progress, even small progress, that propels us to keep at it and work toward the next small step along the road of attaining a goal.

Help your Child be a Successful Student

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Every parent wants to help their child do their best in school. Here are some tangible things that can be done at home to help foster success at school. 

  • Feed your child a healthy breakfast each morning
  • Make sure they are getting enough sleep each night
  • Attend Parent-Teacher Conferences and ask for specific things to work on at home
  • Support homework expectations
  • Help your child study by providing a quiet place where they can concentrate
  • Know the school rules and let your child know your expectations of them at school

Be Prepared for the First Day of School

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  1. Shop from the teacher’s supply list
  2. Sharpen all of the pencils
  3. Turn in forms on time
  4. Return to a school bedtime routine
  5. Prep for lunchtime by practicing how to open items in lunches
  6. Label all of your child’s things
  7. Keep reading at home each day
  8. Remind your kids that you expect their best, but that doesn’t mean perfection. Students learn from mistakes that are made, so bring on the mistakes!

Tips for making Praise Matter

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Praising children is very important whether you are a teacher or a parent. Here are some tips that will help make praise mean more to the child.

    1. Be Specific. “Good job Johnny” is not specific and can be said to anyone for any reason. “Johnny, I noticed that reading that paragraph was tough, but you took your time and tried your best, nice job.” This is specific enough so that Johnny knows that you mean it and it is real.
    2. Give praise when you really mean it.  This teaches children that you recognize when a task is tough for them. It also helps them value the praise that you give.
    3. Quality over quantity. Praising too much can cause a child to feel belittled and actually achieve lower. Give specific praise when praise is due instead of meaningless praise often.

 

Open House

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Open House is an opportunity for families to come to school and meet teachers for the upcoming school year. It also gives students a chance to see where they will be for the year and can help reduce stress and anxiety. It also gives parents a chance to connect with the school and possibly sign up for ways to become involved throughout the school year. We hope to see you at Open House on Aug. 18.