It’s the beginning of the school year and kids are doing A LOT of testing. Some school districts even have special days set aside to test students. This is a great way for teachers to get to know each student individually. Sometimes parents get upset about the test scores their children bring home. Please be reassured that these scores are just one piece of evidence of your child’s academic abilities and your child’s teacher will use the test scores to determine how best to teach your child the skills/concepts he or she needs to learn. If your child’s scores aren’t what you expected, definitely ask your child’s teacher to explain the scores to you. Then, monitor your child’s progress. If your child isn’t making academic gains, you might want to think about getting some additional help, like a private tutor. The key is to remember that the scores are not a total picture of your child academically, but just one piece of the academic puzzle.
I love this bulletin board that was shared on Facebook. It was on a page called Volunteer Spot. Although it’s a bulletin board for a classroom, I think it would be great to write these positive, encouraging thoughts on post-its and put them throughout the house. What a great way to change your child’s attitude about things, and maybe change how you think about things too. I know I will be looking back on this often as a reminder of the positive things I should be saying to myself, my family, and my tutoring kids.
There are games to purchase that require your child to match a picture card with a letter card. For example, a “z” letter card would match the “zebra” picture card. You can also make a game similar to this if you print pictures from the internet and attach them to notecards and then write letters on other notecards
Take pictures of your family members and various things around your home. Be sure to take pictures of things that start with different letters of the alphabet. Place the pictures upside down in front of your child. Have him or her look at one picture at a time. Then have him or her name the letter, the letter sound, and the word that is associated with the picture.
Reading alphabet books with your child is a great way to help your child learn letters, sounds, and words. You don’t have to read the book in order. Have your child choose letters to look at in any order he or she would like to. That way you are giving your child a choice and ownership over his or her learning.
Use a clear plastic shower curtain for this game. Divide the shower curtain into 26 sections using a sharpie. Write one letter of the alphabet in each square. After laying the shower curtain on the floor, call out a letter to your child and have him or her jump to that letter. Once your child has jumped to the correct letter, he or she should say the letter name, the letter sound, and a word that begins with that letter.
Are your kids using good word choices or fantastic word choices in their writing? As teachers, we would like to see them choose really wonderful words, even if they can’t spell the words correctly. For example, I have several kids that I tutor who use words like “run” or “said” because they don’t know how to spell “dashed” or “shouted.” Try having your kids make verb webs and help them spell those better word choice words.
Are your kids using describing words when they are writing? If not, you might want to try having them make adjective webs. It’s a fun way for kids to think of lots of describing words and a good way for them to get used to using adjectives in their writing. Check out the picture for an example of an adjective web.