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A few months ago a concerned mom shared that her children, who were at the time my creative writing students, do not like to read when she asks them to. She added that they become spacey and can’t answer her follow up questions for discussion. She also wanted to know if I had any suggestions for her. Well, of course I had! I suggested to her what I suggest to every parent I meet with such concerns and to parents who simply want to be involved in their children’s reading. Choose and Book on your Child’s  Reading Level Help your child find books on his/her independent reading level (depending on how your child’s reading has been assessed, Grade Level Equivalent (1.0 to 12.9), Guided Reading (A-Z), DRA (A,1-80), Lexile Measure (200L-1600L)). It is important for children to read on their independent reading levels so that the materials read will not be too easy and lead them to boredom,... read more

      As students and teachers it is our hard earned right to take the summer to relax and have fun. As a student myself I find it hard to adjust to “back to school” and the biggest struggle I see among my students is that they cannot break through their summer addiction of playing video games. Last year I literally had to drag a student from the monitor and put him on his study chair after asking him for 10 minutes to turn the game off and come for his study session. I had another student in my 10th grade Social Studies class who I knew was an intelligent boy, but because he spend most of his time playing a video game he was constantly absent or late and sometime fell asleep during his classes. We finally figured out he was spending his evenings playing and going to sleep late which of course made him sleep through the morning and miss school. All these encounters over the years led me to a small study... read more

To all my teenagers who are working over the summer, may I suggest something? Yes? Great! I had my first paying job at the age of 16, it was a low paid summer job, but it taught me how to be disciplined about money and save a portion of my earnings. When you get paid make sure you divide your paycheck into 3: 1/3—pay for expenses 1/3—leave for daily spending 1/3 save for the future Simple enough. This will help you spend within your means, while saving and having a security blanket. This also applies to your weekly allowance that you might get from a parent or a guardian. Save some of it, don’t spend everything. Be smart about your finances and invest, you never know when you might need your security blanket. Happy smart financing!

WyzAnt wants to know: If you could go back in time and give your younger self one piece of academic or professional advice, what would it be? If I could go back in time and give my younger self one piece of academic or professional advice, I would tell myself to study more, get involved in more school activities and be more social and motivated to achieve something special. I started going to school in NYC as a High School freshman and had to adapt to many new things in my life, both academically and personally. When I think about my HS years now, I always wonder why I didn’t study harder. I didn’t even start studying until the summer before the 10th grade. I would tell my younger self to pay more attention in math and chemistry classes, both of which bored me so much. I was fascinated with physics and yet I never got more than 86 on the exams, if I had studied longer and harder I would have done much better. Also, I was more concentrated in humanities and the... read more

I get calls and inquiries from parents complaining that their children are lacking writing skills and I ask them what they are doing to help their child write better. Pause ... I usually get an answer that goes something like this, “well ... we thought to hire a tutor.” It’s the wrong answer, here’s why. When your child is old enough to write, lets say 1st grade because children already write in the 1st grade—they don’t write essays, but most children can manage cat and hat—buy them a journal. Encourage your child to write daily for 5 minutes, even if they are writing the same things each day. After about 7-9 entries you will see that your child if adding new information and new words, even expressing their feelings. If you give your child the tools to write from an early age they will be good writers, don’t wait till they are failing 4th grade. Idea: Buy your child a nice notebook and write a little message in it to show him/her that you have put thought into the... read more

Your children are going back to school, some of them, are excited, some might hate school some might love it, and some are looking forward to seeing their friends and making new ones. Whatever the situation might be it is your job as parents to make sure your child's school year goes as smoothly as possible, of course you can't control what happens at school, but you can control what happens at home. One of the most important parts of your children's future is the education they receive today. With over crowded classrooms our children are not getting the education they need and when it comes time for state testing parents start to panic. In order to keep yourself from panicking prepare your children ahead of time by buying them workbooks to work on around the year. When children have fun and the books are interesting it increases their curiosity to study a little more. Go on Amazon and type workbooks for grade 4, and see how many different materials come up, truly the... read more

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