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As I am getting my own college bound Senior ready for applications, tests, and essays, I find myself realizing how important an extensive vocabulary can be to help with all the preparations.   For a student with a 504 Plan or an I.E.P., advanced vocabulary can be a real challenge on standardized tests.  For many students, so much time has been spent on study skills and reading for content, often higher level vocabulary is overlooked.  What can you do?  Look online for games that encourage vocabulary building skills.  Go to a site like Quizlet and look up words from the PSAT, SAT, or ACT to study.  There are games and flashcards already done, or you can make your own.   Try to learn a new word every day and use it!  It is a fun challenge and a great way to expand your knowledge.  Then, when you get into higher level readings, you have built a better base to help you understand the content and context of your readings.   Happy... read more

Okay, it is almost the 4th of July and you and the kids are already bored! It has been rainy, or too hot, or too buggy....you know all the excuses. So here are 5 things I suggest to get over the summer slump: 1. Take a walk with your camera - take pictures of anything interesting - not a real, true photo, but get close up and take a picture of a leaf, a bug, an blade of grass and upload them to see if others can figure out what they are. 2. Download a Night Sky app on your phone and sit out and look at the night sky - hold the phone up to the sky and see if you can see the star formations. 3. Open up a dictionary and have everyone in the family find one word they think no one knows - and then have everyone try and guess the meaning. Pass the book to the next person. 4. Find a book that was made into a movie. Read the book with a friend and then see the movie with the same friend. Write down the things that stayed the same and the things that were different - and talk... read more

Summer is here - the kids could not wait until they could have their summer days with no homework or a schedule and suddenly they are bored. Don't let the summer slide hit your kids this summer. The best way to keep them engaged in learning without them thinking they are learning is to develop a summer learning unit. When my son was about 5, we would pick a topic and then explore every aspect we could. One year we picked the topic of "Bugs". We went to the library to get all kinds of bug books. We would look at the pictures and find stories about bugs (The Hungry Caterpillar, The Very Quiet Cricket, Big Bad Bugaboo). Then we would go out exploring to see what kinds of bugs we could find in the cracks of the sidewalks, at the park, or on a nature trail. One year he received a microscope kit and we made slides of dead bug legs and wings - what fun we had. The library is a great source of puzzles and movies as well as books. As he got older, we studied dinosaurs... read more

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