Learning to Read

Children use a variety of techniques when learning to read. They decode the words using phonics, they learn to recognize frequently used words, and they use the context of the story or the sentence to figure out the right words. You can help your child with reading in the following ways;

Help them sound out words -- Teach them the difference between vowels and consonants and the sounds associated with them. Covering up part of the word can help them concentrate, especially on long words, such as compound words. Sometimes if they get the first and last letter sound they can fill in the rest from context.

Make a word wall -- Write common short words like “and, the, her, me,” etc. on a chalkboard so your child will learn to recognize them.

Point out words -- Have your child read signs and words on products at the grocery store. Show your child that reading is something we do everyday in lots of different places.

Have reading materials in your home -- Visit the library or build a home library for your child. Encourage them to read the funnies in the newspaper or the back of the cereal box. Be willing to help them with words they don’t know yet.

Keep reading to them -- Once your child begins to read on their own you should still continue reading to them. This is a good time to begin reading longer chapter books that your child can’t read by their self. It helps to build vocabulary and familiarizes them with the grammar and syntax of written language which will help build their own writing skills.

Learning Math

While children still learn to add, subtract, multiply, and divide in elementary school, some of the techniques that teachers use to teach these skills have changed a lot since most parents were in school. Nevertheless, parents can still be supportive at home.

Have “manipulatives” on hand -- Manipulatives are counting objects that teachers use to help children visualize math concepts. Sometimes children need to see concrete representations to understand abstract math concepts. Keep a pile of poker chips, pennies, or beans for children to use to do their homework.

Teach them about money -- Count change with your children. Teach them how many nickels are in a quarter. Ask them to show you what coins you need to make 38 cents?

Teach them about measurement -- Give them a ruler or yardstick, which also doubles as a number line and teach them how many inches are in a foot. Have them help you with baking. For some real excitement, double the recipe.

Calculators -- Students in elementary school are taught how to use calculators. They are a useful tool and schools begin familiarizing students with them in the early grades. They shouldn’t be used on homework when students are trying to learn new concepts. You can give your child an inexpensive calculator to help them become comfortable with using one. Later, in middle or high school, when your child is learning more complex math, they’ll need a more sophisticated model.

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