10 tips on how to keep your child reading over winter break

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1. Set up “read-a-thons”. Pick a time of day to curl up on the sofa or big bed (ALL of you) and read. You can take turns reading pages or each read your own book, the important part is the whole family is partaking.

2. Create Competitions. Challenge your little reader to a contest to see who can read more, keep track of pages or time spent and have a healthy competition. Most children take a lot of pride in “beating” mom and dad.

3. Write a story together, or keep a journal. Sit down with your little reader and create a story. Start with “T’was the night before Christmas when….” Or “One winter’s day…” And let your imagination roll.

4. Keep a journal. At the end of each day write what you did on that day, how much fun you had and what you are looking forward to doing the next day. After, have your child read it to you before bed.

5. Create a schedule. Make reading a priority, set aside a specific time each day and keep it consistent. Ideally, this time would be first thing in the morning, before any fun activities wear your little one out.

6. Bake or cook with your child. Pick out fun recipes and have your child read you the ingredients and all the steps as you do them. It is a good way to sneak some reading in and have a favorite treat.

7. Give them a “surprise book” each night. Make it so that there is something to look forward to at bedtime. Create a game during the day where they can guess what the book will be about that night. Please keep in mind there is no need to buy a book for each day; go to the library and check out a stack and keep them hidden.

8. Create incentives. Before break begins, discuss something your child can earn by reading 20 minutes each day. Create a chart where they can see their progress each day, giving them a feeling of achievement and reward.

9. Create a game where you stop reading at any point during the text and do not let your little reader know where you are AND jump in and finish the paragraph. If your child does not know where you are immediately, that’s a point for you; however, if they can jump right in, they earn the point. Keep track of points to determine a winner at the end.

10. Find books that coordinate with activities of the day. For instance, if you are going ice skating, find a book about a famous ice hockey player or figure skater; if you are sledding, find a book about a blizzard; if you are watching a movie, find a book about Hollywood.

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How to help my child complete school assignments

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It’s mid-December and we are approaching winter break, but before you take your vacation or staycation, you really want to discover the root of the problem. Why does my child have such difficulty completing school assignments?? Isn’t the point of homework to reinforce the lessons in school and not create confusion or a struggle at home? So that you can put your mind at ease to start out the new year fresh, while helping your child complete their school work and homework more successfully, here is a list of questions that you should use to guide you and discuss in more detail with your child’s teacher(s).

1. Does my child understand the classroom lessons so that they can complete any projects/homework/follow-up assignments that they are based on? Maybe information needs to be presented to them in a different way so that they understand the lesson and in turn allows your child to complete assignments.

2. Is there too much information presented in the lessons to comprehend for completion of assignments? Maybe assignments are too long and need to include less information for them to comprehend the material.

3. Does my child understand and follow the directions on assignments? Does my child understand what is being asked of them when completing school assignments? Maybe they sit for an hour contemplating how to tackle the assignment when they do not understand what is being asked of them OR maybe they complete the assignment incorrectly because the directions are unclear.

4. Does my child ask for assistance to complete assignments, when needed? It is okay to ask for help and children do not always necessarily know that it is OKAY. Make it clear that they SHOULD ask for help if and when needed.

5. Does my child complete school assignments to the best of their ability or rush to complete it to say that it is finished? Most children would prefer to engage in something that is more “fun” than a school assignment. Are they motivated to complete assignments properly or are they more interested in completing assignments, especially homework, quickly and with careless mistakes so that they can move on to the next activity or not be bothered by the assignments.

 

 

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The Successful Child!

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Does your child experience difficulty understanding and explaining the classroom lessons?

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Your child comes home from school and spends hours on assignments that are only supposed to take 10-15 minutes. After dealing with questioning from you (and maybe some yelling), they finally admit to being confused in school by the classroom lessons and cannot recall what they have learned. As the parent, you are concerned and do not know how to identify the problem. In your quest to make things easier for your child in school, there are some questions to explore with your child and their teacher.
1. Does your child miss details during classroom lessons or on assignments?
2. Is your child unable to complete assignments based on classroom lessons because of lack of understanding?
3. Does your child follow the classroom lessons and/or need them simplified?
4. Does your child seem overwhelmed by information on the lessons presented at school?
5. Does your child ask for help or clarification, when needed, on the classroom lessons?
By answering these questions, you can start to identify the problem and work on areas of need.
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Have Fun Trick or Treating While Staying Safe on Halloween

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While children look forward to Halloween all year, parents often worry. Here are some tips to ensure that everyone has a safe and fun Halloween.

1. A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children trick or treating around the neighborhood on Halloween.

2. If your child is old enough to go trick or treating on their own, outline an agreed upon route and have them check-in via cell phone or be at central location where you will be waiting for them. Also, remind your child to stay in a group. Make sure that they are aware of the time and synchronize clocks so that you can agree on a time for them to return home or meet up with you.

3. Wear reflective stickers/tape/strips and/or attach flashlight or light up keychain to costume.

4. Be sure that your child is aware of allergies and what they should and should not take while out trick or treating.

5. Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat.

6. Don’t eat any unwrapped/open candy that they receive from trick or treating.

Everyone have a fun and safe Halloween!

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How to tell if your child has a difficult time listening to directions

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Does your child listen when you give them directions? Are they actively ignoring or is there a communication barrier? Here are 5 indicators that your child may not have their listening ears on OR need more assistance to follow through on directions.
1. My child does not pay attention or focus when I give directions.
2. My child ignores others when they give directions.
3. My child is usually distracted when given directions.
4. My child refuses to discontinue activities when given instructions for the next activity.
5. My child refuses to clean up after one activity before moving on to another activity.
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Top 5 Signs to Determine if your Child is Reaching their Potential in School

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Now that the school year is about a month in, how is your child performing in school? Are they reaching their potential in their academics? The following are a list of signals that might indicate if your child needs more of a push in school to reach their potential.

1. My child rushes through their schoolwork

2. My child would rather skip difficult items then ask questions

3. My child lacks focus (overall and/or in school)

4. My child cannot explain what they have learned

5. My child does not seem to be increasing in their skill set

 

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Top 5 signs that your child is struggling in school with academics

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We made it to October! Now that school is underway, how is your child performing academically? Here are signs to look for to identify if your child might be experiencing difficulty in school.

1. My child takes more time then their peers to complete academic assignments

2. My child has difficulty completing their schoolwork

3. My child lacks motivation in school

4. My child has difficulty following directions

5. My child is unorganized with homework and classroom assignments in school

 

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Questions to ask your child’s teacher on back to school night

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1. How much homework should I expect each night?

2. What are the classroom behavioral expectations/rules so that I can keep them consistent outside of school?

3. What can I do to help support learning at home?

4. How are conflicts between students handled?  How are conflicts between students and teachers handled?

5. What is the most effective way to contact you?

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Top 5 Questions to Ask Your Child’s Teacher About Homework

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1. How much should I be helping my child with their homework? Should he or she be able to do his homework on his own?

2. Should I correct my child’s homework before they hand it in or let the teacher do the correcting?

3. With reading homework, do I need to actually hear the child read aloud or can I let them do it silently?

4. Approximately how long should homework be taking my child to complete? How do I know if it is taking them too long?

5. If my child refuses to complete their homework or says they are unable to do the work, would you like me to contact you and how?

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