How to Help Your Child at Home


Many parents have asked me what skills they can work on with their child at home. Research has shown that pencil and paper activities are not the only resources from which children learn. They are great when being used to reinforce learned concepts.  We need to remember that the young child learns though play - exploring their world by building, climbing, pretending, creating, and manipulating real objects. Almost any activity done at home can be a learning experience for your child. The following are some everyday activities, which can be learning experiences. The list is by no means complete; you will be the best judge of those things most appropriate to your child.

Challenging Extensions for Home

1.Design a science experiment to bring in and share with the class.
2.Make a map of your neighborhood, your house, your room or your class…
3.Keep a daily journal. Write all about your activities.
4.Pretend you are your family pet and write a story through the eyes of your pet.
5.Make lists – grocery, toys you own, books that you like to read, etc.
6.Follow a recipe to make a special treat. Make sure you have some help!
7.Write a “review” about a movie or TV show that you liked.
8.Tape record your voice reading a story and bring it into our class to use in our listening center.
9.Act out a story using finger or hand puppets, or as a play. Bring it in for sharing time.
10.Look up facts and write about your favorite animal, sport, etc. Draw a picture to go with it.
11.Write a story about a new person in our class or school. How would it be like to be new at a school?
12.Write a page in your journal about your family.
13.Write and send an email to your teacher:
14.Make a card for your grandparents and send it to them.
15.Create a pattern using different materials at home: macaroni, paper shapes, shells, etc.
16.Create your own work of art and write about it.
17.Talk to your parents, grandparents, other family members or friends about where they were born and grew up. Write down what they say to share with the class.
18.Write a story using all of your spelling words.
19.Create your own extension. Bring it in to share.

How Parents Can Help
* Read to your child every night.
* Listen to your child read.
* Play games with your child.
* Help your child get a library card from the public library nearest you.
* Write notes to your child.
* Help or encourage them to write notes and letters.
* Encourage your child to keep a scrapbook or collection about a subject that interests him/her.
* Limit your child’s television watching.
* Select a special place at home where your child does their homework. Provide materials that they may need (pencils, markers, glue, crayons, etc.)
* Give your child a specific job that they are accountable for every day (set the table, clear the table, make their bed in the morning, etc.)
* Practice your address and phone number with your child.
* When traveling, read road signs with your child.
* Practice the names of the streets you and your child take to school.
* Give your child a special place to keep items he/she must take to school each morning.
* Reinforce the subjects at home as we cover them in school.
* Look up words in the dictionary with your child.
* Set a bedtime and stick to it. A set routine is very important at this age.
* Teach your child to tie their shoes.

Strategies for Parents to Support Literacy
* Take your child to the public library at least once a week. Arrange a specific day and time so that your child will look forward and expect the library visit.
* Read with your child at least 20 minutes per day (part of our homework assignment.)
* Make sure your child sees you reading.
* Encourage and assist your child to read “on the road” maps, street signs, billboards, grocery store labels, etc.
* Give your child books as gifts. Encourage other family members and friends to do so.
* Help children make books at home. Have appropriate materials on hand (paper, staples, crayons, glue, etc.)
* Do word searches, crossword puzzles with your child. Read jokes, comics and riddles.
* Encourage your child to write out grocery lists, to do lists, chore reminders and telephone messages.
* Encourage your child to keep a journal for personal feelings.
* Create a “reading corner” or area with your child at home where they can read regularly.
* Have a family reading night once a week on a specific day and time. Each family member can read apportion of the same story aloud, or share a book with family members.
* Encourage siblings to read to each other.
* Help your child to tape record his/her voice as she reads.
* Assist and encourage your child to write letters to pen pals and family members. *Make or buy special stationary for your child.
* Check out Reading Rainbow videos from your public library along with the books that is the same as on the video, or covers the same topic as the video.
* Look at “grown up books” with your child that covers t his/her topics of interest (cars, dogs, soccer, etc.) Discuss the pictures and paraphrase text for his/her level of understanding. Be an enthusiastic audience as your child acts out skits or puppet shows of books he/she has read. Record on video if possible.