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Parent Resources

Helping at Home


Thank you for taking the time to read with your child. Here are some hints for helping your child improve reading skills:

  • Using your district online log in, visit myON Reader,
  • Set aside 20 to 30 minutes a day for reading. Your child can read to you when you get home or read to you while you cook dinner. The more time your child spends reading or being read to is directly related to improvement in school. You may set a kitchen timer to keep track of the time. Try to make your "appointment to read" the same time every day to establish a tradition.
  • Celebrate the number of minutes spent reading at the end of the week. For example, set up a chart to record the number of minutes read each day. Each time your reach 100 minutes, do something special together to celebrate.
  • Read more difficult books TO your child. Your child’s brain is a "work in progress." Reading aloud helps your child build vocabulary, reading comprehension, listening, speaking, and writing skills.
  • Read WITH your child.
  • Take TURNS reading. You read one paragraph, your child reads the next.
  • If the book is difficult, use echo reading. You read 2 lines, your child reads them back to you (your echo). This way you provide a model of how the words are read.
  • Give your child a chopstick or a marker (any kind of pointer) to follow along in the book as you read.
  • Have your young reader find a favorite page in the book and rehearse it until it can be read perfectly. Then let your child perform that page for you. Brag about how well your child read that page to other relatives and friends. Ask your child to read that page to them.
  • Ask your child to read to a younger sibling. Self-concept for reading improves when a child helps others learn to read.
  • Children love break-in reading. You start reading and they can break in and begin to read any time you come to the end of a sentence. You can break in next. Another form of this game is called hot potato: you begin reading and stop at any sentence and say "Hot Potato!" Your child begins reading and stops at any sentence and says, "Hot Potato, Mom!"
  • Talk to your child about what you have read: why did a character act a certain way, how would you react in a similar situation?
  • After you have finished the book ask your child if they enjoyed the book or not. Why?



Anytime Math Activities

  • While in the car, have your child look for all the numbers she/he can find and ask that he/she double every number he/she finds. Talk about effective strategies for doubling (i.e. – when you double "97", is it easier to double 100 and subtract 6?)
  • Visit where you'll find printable flash cards, Magic Square (a FUN logic math game), links to 23 math games and other mat sites, math biographies, math history, math help and much more. Have fun!
  • Caution on math facts. According to our math consultant, Nancy Nutting, rote memorization of math facts has limits. Nancy says, "Years ago many of us learned our facts by memorizing the tables or using random flash cards. Some people have good memories but now we know from research that isolated pieces of information are harder to use. When new information is connected to other allow children to make connections among numbers. These connections are based on mathematical ideas-they are not "tricks" or "crutches"-they are relationships between numbers that we often use when we study algebra, number theory and other areas of mathematics." We want our students to be "automatic" with basic facts, using connections so they are fast and accurate. Once they have the foundations of basic facts, their retrieval rate will be better.
  • Help your child look up the population and land area of the state and city in which you live and compare these facts with those of other states and cities. Make a chart or graph of what you find.
  • When you are at home or at a store, ask your child to identify different types of polygons, such as triangles, squares, rectangles, pentagons, and hexagons.
  • Help your child identify advertisements in signs, newspapers, and magazines that use percents. Help your child find the sale price of an item that is discounted by a certain percent. For example, a $50 shirt that is reduced by 50% is $25.
  • If you are planning to paint or carpet a room, or plant a garden, consider allowing your child to measure and calculate the area (length x width) and show you the calculations.
  • Have your child construct word problems on common life situations. For example, have your child estimate the cost of going to McDonald’s for what each family member might like to order. Then, on your next trip, see how close his/her estimate is.
  • Check out the Houghton Mifflin ThinkCentral, using your student's district login.