Back to School

back to school

Summer is over and school has begun. Are you ready for the school year? Are your children ready for a successful new year? Here are some things you can do that will help your children have the great year you want them to have.

  1. Begin a routine right away. When will your children do homework? When will they play? When will you have family reading time? Once you have established a routine, stick to it as much as you can. Kids crave and thrive on routine so they know what is expected of them. For help establishing a homework routine, see my blog here.
  2. Ask your children questions about school so that you know what is going on in their lives? Be sure to ask open-ended questions as I have suggested in my questions blog so that you don’t just get yes/no answers.
  3. Establish a family reading time each evening and enjoy reading together. Reading is a life-long skill that will help your children now and in their futures.
  4. Be positive about new teachers, new friends, new classrooms, new homework amount, etc. Your children will follow your lead with their attitudes.
  5. Give your children time to play. Don’t overschedule them with extra-curricular activities. They work hard all day and they need a little downtime just like adults do.

Enjoy the new school year ahead! And, remember to check my blog for helpful hints, tricks, and information.


Picture Cards


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.

Shower Curtain Letters


imagesOFAS2W8RUse 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.

Free Typing Programs for Kids

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Do you know any free typing programs for kids?



Yes, definitely. Try the games on I tried a few of these games this morning and they are fun and interactive. I also like that the beginner level of each game has students typing using just the home keys. This is a good place to start when learning to type.

Why is typing important for your kids? Unlike the old standardized tests where kids used a number 2 pencil and filled in bubbles, the new standardized tests are all computerized. This means that your student needs to not only be able to read, interpret and answer the question, but he or she also needs to be able to type the answer on the computer. Knowing the location of the keys on the keyboard and how to navigate a mouse are very important skills for all students in elementary school.

Besides testing, children will need to know how to use a computer once they enter middle school and go on to high school and college. They will be required to type papers and find information on computers. Parent The more familiar they are with the keyboard and the mouse, the easier this will be for them.

So, start your kids off early on keyboarding skills with this fun online game.

Chapter Books for Kindergarten thru Second Graders

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It’s important at this age to let your child read some independently, but also to read aloud with you. A good way to do this is to have your child read several pages to themselves. Then discuss with your child what happened on those pages.   Then, sit with your child and do some shared reading. This means you read a page and then your child reads a page. This way you model fluent and expressive reading for your child. You can monitor their fluency and expression. You can also see if your child is getting stuck on words and what strategies your child is using to figure out the challenging words. By doing shared reading, you can decide if the book is too easy, too challenging, or just right for your child’s reading and comprehension ability.


The Magic Tree House series

Ivy and Bean series

Nancy Drew and the Clue series

Judy Moody series

Junie B. Jones series

Cam Jansen series

Frog and Toad series

Nate the Great series

Henry and Mudge series

Rainbow Magic series

The Ramona Quinby series

Reading and Writing Milestones

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Most parents know the milestones their babies should be meeting. When to crawl, when to sit up, when to talk, etc. But, do you know if your child is meeting the milestones for reading and writing once they are in elementary school? Check out this great website I stumbled across. It identifies and explains milestones for reading, writing, and more from toddlers to third graders.

20 Minutes a Day

imagesBVIAWKEOThis is an excellent article about why teachers are always telling your child he or she has 20 minutes of reading homework each evening. I think the key is not to make reading a homework assignment, but to make it a fun family time each day. Everyone can do their 20 minutes of reading at the same time, either reading a book together or reading separately, but in the same general area. Your children should see you reading as well. What a fun way to spend family time!