There are many ways that you can help your child be successful in school. You can:
Read with your child every day! I cannot stress how important it is to spend 10-15 minutes every night reading with your child.
- you can have your child read a book to you.
- you can read a more challenging book to your child. You will be modeling good fluency and good reading habits.
- your child can read independently, and you can ask them to tell you about what they've read. Retelling is an important part of becoming a good reader.
- Remember, good readers ALWAYS "check for understanding"! We want to know the "who?" and the "what"?. What happened? Who did it happen to?
- Check homework every night. You can explain the assignment, but try to let your child do the homework independently. Children can sometimes trick us into doing their work for them (they try this on me all the time!) If the child is really struggling, then it is okay to help them.
Practice Sight Words:
- You can make flash cards and practice sight words. Remember, sight words must be read automatically or they are incorrect. If a student pauses or tries to sound the word out, then they do not yet know the word as well as they need to. Automaticity is key when it comes to knowing sight words. When a student has mastered his/her sight words, reading becomes much, much easier. Writing and spelling will improve, as well. It only takes 2-3 minutes per day to practice sight words. It can be done during breakfast or during a commercial break. Remember to shuffle the order of the flash cards. You would be amazed at how well students can memorize the order of the words, and then you won't be able to tell if they are really reading the word, or just going from memory of which card comes next.
- Check for capital letters and periods/question marks: Whenever your child is writing something, whether it be homework or something they are writing at home, be sure that they are beginning sentences with a capital letter and ending sentences with a period or a question mark (is it an "asking" sentence or a "telling" sentence?). This is extremely difficult for many students. Some students can write two or three page stories, with fantasic details and descriptive words, but they are inconsistent with capitals and periods. This is one of the biggest battles we fight in first grade!
- Discuss the behavior chart daily with your child: Reward and praise your child if they are consistently coming home on green, blue or purple. If your child is on yellow, orange or red, ask them why they are on that color? Discuss with them how they can make more positve choices in the future. Also, remember that everyone has a "bad" day once in a while. Don't overreact if a student comes home on a bad color once in a while. We are all learning, and your child is experiencing new things every day. The goal is for the student to learn to make positive behavior choices. It takes some children longer to develop this skill than others. It's all about being positive and growing as people.