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Building Vocabulary

If your child needs help expanding their vocabulary, here is a simple technique that will help you. Although technology is a wonderful tool that we have access to today, not everyone can afford the newest vocabulary education software. Therefore, I believe that the old ways, in this case, are the best. To help your child with their vocabulary you first need three things: a dictionary, a thesaurus, and a story book (be sure it is a book your child is able to read on their own). As your child reads this book, have them identify any words that are confusing or new to them. They can either mark these words with a sticky note or write them down on a piece of paper. For each mystery word, have your child find the definition of the word, and a synonym and antonym (if possible) for the word. If your child can't find synonyms or antonyms for the word, have them come up with adjectives and nouns related to the word. For example, "house" can be described as being made of... read more

Building Basic Fact Fluency

If your child is struggling with remembering their basic facts, here is a method I like to use to make flashcards fun. It is a game called "Math Dueling" First, get some flashcards. These can be any type of flashcards as long as it meets your child's development level. Split the deck evenly into two new decks. Give one to your child and keep the other for yourself. Decide which of you will be Player 1 and Player 2. Player 1 will take a card from their deck. They will show the card to Player 2 and Player 2 will have to give their best answer. If it is correct, Player 2 wins the card and keeps it in their winning pile. If it is incorrect, Player 1 keeps the card in their winning pile. Then, it is Player 2's turn to show Player 1 a card and the process begins again. Both players will take turns performing the different roles until all of the cards in their decks are gone and all they have left are their winning piles. Each player will then count how many cards... read more

Visualizing the Equation Using Manipulatives

If your child is struggling with math, try using manipulatives. Manipulatives can be anything from Legos, coins, erasers, pencils: practically anything that you can hold in your hand. These objects come in handy when your child is trying to solve an addition or subtraction equation or even a story problem. Using these to solve the problem not only helps them to visualize the numbers they are working with, but it also helps them to graduate from counting their fingers and toes in order to solve the problem. By giving your child strong visualization skills, he/she will be able to solve math problems in the future simply by drawing a picture or by solving the problem in his/her head. This is an important skill since many standardized tests like the SAT will not allow students to use anything but a paper, a pencil, and sometimes a calculator during the test. Therefore, build this skill now so your child will be successful in the future.

Reading Comprehension with Sticky Notes

If your child is struggling with understanding a text or remembering what the text was about, this strategy is a quick and easy way to help them improve their reading comprehension. Just purchase some sticky notes. The small square ones work the best. Your child can then use these sticky notes to mark sections in the text that are confusing, interesting, or important. Your child can write down some notes on the sticky note in order to explain why they marked that passage. If they are an emerging writer, they can just write a single word on the sticky note to jog their memory or draw a small sketch. This is great for marking difficult words your child may be struggling with so they can return to it later. It also helps them to make connections with the text, sort out anything that is raising questions for them, or anything they believe is an important message in the text. By marking these passages, your child will become actively engaged in reading, and this will cause... read more

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