by M Spellings · Cited by 7 — does is more important to a child’s school success than how much money the family Careful observation and note taking are valuable school skills.
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2 U.S. Department of Education Margaret Spellings Secretary First published in November 1992. Revised 2002 and 2005. This booklet is in the public domain. Authorization to reproduce it in whole or in part for educational purposes is granted. While permission to reprint this publication is not necessary, the citation should be: U.S. Department of Education Office of Communications and Outreach Helping Your Child Succeed in School Washington, DC, 2005 To order copies of this publication in English or Spanish write to: ED Pubs Education Publications Center U.S. Department of Education P.O. Box 1398 Jessup, MD 20794Ð1398 or fax your request to: 301Ð470-1244 or email your request to: edpubs@inet.ed.gov or call in your request toll-free: 1Ð877Ð433Ð7827 (1Ð877Ð4EDÐPUBS). If 877 is not yet available in your area, call 1Ð800Ð872Ð5327 (1Ð800ÐUSAÐLEARN). Those who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or a teletypewriter (TTY), should call 1Ð800Ð437Ð0833. or order on-line at: www.ed.gov/pubs/edpubs.html. This publication is also available on the DepartmentÕs Web site at: www.ed.gov/parents/academic/help/hyc.html On request, this publication is available in alternate formats, such as Braille, large print, audiotape or computer diskette. For more information, please contact the DepartmentÕs Alternative Format Center at (202) 260Ð9895 or (202) 205Ð0818. Books, magazines and programs are mentioned in this booklet as examples and are only a few of many appropriate resources. Listing of materials and resources in this book should not be construed or interpreted as an endorsement by the Department of any private organization or business listed herein.

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5 Foreword At the heart of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 is a promise to raise standards for all children and to help all children meet those standards. In support of this goal, President George W. Bush is committed to promoting the very best teaching programs. Well-trained teachers and instruction that is based on research can bring the best teaching approaches and programs to all children and help to ensure that no child is left behind. However, the hours in a school day are few and the time a teacher can spend with any one child is limited. For children to be successful in school, parents and families need to be actively involved in their childrenÕs learning. They need to become involved early and stay involved throughout the school year. In fact, many studies show that what the family does is more important to a childÕs school success than how much money the family makes or how much education the parents have. By showing interest in their childrenÕs education, parents and families can spark enthusiasm in them and lead them to a very important understandingÑthat learning can be enjoyable as well as rewarding and is well worth the effort required. We hope that you will use the information and activities in this booklet to get involved and stay involved and help your child to read better, to take on challenging math and science classes, to value the study of history, the social sciences, art and musicÑand to prepare for a rewarding life of continuous learning. LetÕs get started.

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6 Contents Foreword Introduction The Basics Activities Can You Top This? Listen! ItÕs a Match LetÕs Read Author! Author! Now You See It, Now You Don’t How Much Does It Weigh? Start to Finish Where Did I Put That? My Place Making Money Reading on the Go My Time Line Time Flies Homework Made Easy (!) Divide and Conquer Help Wanted TV Time Working with Teachers and Schools Helping Your Child with Test-Taking Resources Acknowledgments

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7 Introduction Every child has the power to succeed in school and in life and every parent, family member and caregiver can help. The question is: How can we help our children succeed? The answer comes from a combination of common sense and research about how children learn and about how to prepare them to learn. We know, for example, that children tend to do the same things as their parents do. What we say and do in our daily lives can help them to develop positive attitudes toward school and learning and to build confidence in themselves as learners. Showing our children that we both value education and use it in our daily lives provides them with powerful models and contributes greatly to their success in school. As our childrenÕs first and most important teacher, itÕs important that all parents build and keep strong ties to our childrenÕs schools. When parents and families are involved in their childrenÕs schools, the children do better and have better feelings about going to school. We help our children to succeed by working with teachers to make sure that they provide curricula and use teaching methods that are based on strong scientific evidence about what works best in helping students to learn. The purpose of this booklet is to make available to you information that you can use to help your child to succeed in school. The booklet includes § information about things that you can do at home to contribute to your childÕs school success; § activities that you can use to help your child acquire the skills to succeed in school; § answers to often-asked questions about how to work with teachers and schools; and § tips on how to help your child with test taking.

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9 If you feel uncomfortable with your own reading ability or if you would like reading help for yourself or other family members, check with your local librarian or with your childÕs school about literacy programs in your community. § Get help for your child if he has a reading problem. When a child is having reading difficulties, the reason might be simple to understand and deal with. For example, your child might have trouble seeing and need glasses or he may just need more help with reading skills. If you think that your child needs extra help, ask his teachers about special services, such as after-school or summer reading programs. Also ask teachers or your local librarian for names of community organizations and local literacy volunteer groups that offer tutoring services. The good news is that no matter how long it takes, most children can learn to read. Parents, teachers and other professionals can work together to determine if a child has a learning disability or other problem and then provide the right help as soon as possible. When a child gets such help, chances are very good that she will develop the skills she needs to succeed in school and in life. Nothing is more important than your support for your child as she goes through school. Make sure she gets any extra help she needs as soon as possible and always encourage her and praise her efforts. For more information about reading, see the U.S. Department of Education booklet, Helping Your Child Become a Reader, listed in the Resources section, page . Talk with Your Child Talking and listening play major roles in childrenÕs school success. ItÕs through hearing parents and family members talk and through responding to that talk that young children begin to pick up the language skills they will need if they are to do well. For example, children who donÕt hear a lot of talk and who arenÕt encouraged to talk themselves often have problems learning to read, which can lead to other school problems. In addition, children who havenÕt learned to listen carefully often have trouble following directions and paying attention in class. Think of talking with your child as being like a tennis game with wordsÑinstead of a ballÑbouncing back and forth. Find time to talk any place, for example: § As you walk with your child or ride with her in a car or on a bus, talk with her about what sheÕs doing at school Ask her to tell you about a school assembly or a field trip. Point out and talk about things that you see as you walkÑfunny signs, new cars, interesting people. § As you shop in a store, talk with your child about prices, differences in brands and how to pick out good vegetables and fruit. Give your child directions about where to find certain items, then have him go get them.

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10 § As you fix dinner, ask your child to help you follow the steps in a recipe. Talk with him about what can happen if you miss a step or leave out an ingredient. § As you fix a sink or repair a broken table, ask your child to hand you the tools that you name. Talk with her about each step you take to complete the repair. Tell her what youÕre doing and why youÕre doing it. Ask her for suggestions about how you should do something. § As you watch TV together, talk with your child about the programs. If youÕre watching one of her favorite programs, encourage her to tell you about the background of the characters, which ones she likes and dislikes and who the actors are. Compare the program to a program that you liked when you were her age. § As you read a book with your child, pause occasionally to talk to him about whatÕs happening in the book. Help him to relate the events in the book to events in his life: ÒLook at that tall building! DidnÕt we see that when we were in Chicago?Ó Ask him to tell in his own words what the book was about. Ask him about new words in a book and help him to figure out what they mean. ItÕs also important for you to show your child that youÕre interested in what he has to say. Demonstrate for him how to be a good listener: § When your child talks to you, stop what youÕre doing and pay attention. Look at him and ask questions to let him know that youÕve heard what he said: ÒSo when are you going to help your granddad work on his car?Ó § When your child tells you about something, occasionally repeat what he says to let him know that youÕre listening closely: ÒThe school bus broke down twice!Ó Monitor Homework Let your child know that you think education is important and so homework has to be done. Here are some ways to help your child with homework: § Have a special place for your child to study. The homework area doesnÕt have to be fancy. A desk in the bedroom is nice, but for many children, the kitchen table or a corner of the living room works just fine. The area should have good lighting and it should be fairly quiet. Provide supplies and identify resources. For starters, have available pencils, pens, erasers, writing paper and a dictionary. Other supplies that might be helpful include a stapler, paper clips, maps, a calculator, a pencil sharpener, tape, glue, paste, scissors, a ruler, a calculator, index cards, a thesaurus and an almanac. If possible, keep these items together in one place. If you canÕt provide your child with needed supplies, check with her teacher, school counselor or principal about possible sources of assistance.

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11 § Set a regular time for homework. Having a regular time to do homework helps children to finish assignments. Of course, a good schedule depends in part on your childÕs age, as well as her specific needs. YouÕll need to work with a young child to develop a schedule. You should give your older child the responsibility for making up a schedule independentlyÑalthough youÕll want to make sure that itÕs a workable one. You may find it helpful to have her write out her schedule and put it in a place where youÕll see it often, such as on the refrigerator. § Remove distractions. Turn off the TV and discourage your child from making and receiving social telephone calls during homework time. (A call to a classmate about an assignment, however, may be helpful.) If you live in a small or noisy household, try having all family members take part in a quiet activity during homework time. You may need to take a noisy toddler outside or into another room to play. If distractions canÕt be avoided, your child may want to complete assignments in the local library. § DonÕt expect or demand perfection. When your child asks you to look at what sheÕs doneÑfrom skating a figure 8 to finishing a math assignmentÑshow interest and praise her when sheÕs done something well. If you have criticisms or suggestions, make them in a helpful way. One final note: You may be reluctant to help your child with homework because you feel that you donÕt know the subject well enough or because you donÕt speak or read English as well as your child. But helping with homework doesnÕt mean doing the homework. It isnÕt about solving the problems for your child, itÕs about supporting him to do his best. You may not know enough about a subject such as calculus to help your child with a specific assignment, but you can help nonetheless by showing that you are interested, helping him get organized, providing a place the materials he needs to work, monitoring his work to see that he completes it and praising his efforts. For more information about homework, see the U.S. Department of Education booklets, Helping Your Child with Homework and Homework Tips for Parents, both listed in the Resources section, page . Monitor TV Viewing and Video Game Playing American children on average spend far more time watching TV or playing video games than they do completing homework or other school-related activities. Here are some suggestions for helping your child to use TV and video games wisely: § Limit the time that you let your child watch TV. Too much television cuts into important activities in a childÕs life, such as reading, playing with friends and talking with family members. § Model good TV viewing habits. Remember that children often imitate their parentsÕ behavior. Children who live in homes in which parents and other family members

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12 watch a lot of TV are likely to spend their time in the same way. Children who live in homes in which parents and other family members have ÒquietÓ time away from the TV when they read (either alone to each other), talk to each other, play games or engage in other activities tend to do the same. § Watch TV with your child when you can. Talk with him about what you see. Answer his questions. Try to point out the things in TV programs that are like your childÕs everyday life. § When you canÕt watch TV with your child, spot check to see what sheÕs watching. Ask questions after the program ends. See what excites her and what troubles her. Find out what she has learned and remembered. § Go to the library and find books that explore the themes of the TV shows that your child watches. § Limit the amount of time your child spends playing video games. As with TV programs, be aware of the games he likes to play and discuss his choices with him. Encourage Your Child to Use the Library Libraries are places of learning and discovery for everyone. Helping your child find out about libraries will set him on the road to being an independent learner. Here are some suggestions for how to help: § Introduce your child to the library as early as possible. Even when your child is a toddler, take him along on weekly trips to the library. If you work during the day or have other obligations, remember that many libraries are open in the evening. ! If your child can print his name, it is likely that your library will issue him a library card if you will also sign for him. See that your child gets his own library card as soon as possible so that he can check out his own books. § When you take your child to the library, introduce yourself and your child to the librarian. Ask the librarian to show you around the library and tell you about the services it has to offer. For example, in addition to all kinds of books, your library most likely will have magazines of interest to both your child and to you. It will likely have newspapers from many different places. Most libraries also have tapes and CDs of books, music CDs and tapes, movies on video and on DVD and many more resources. Your library also might have books in languages other than English or programs to help adults improve their English reading skills. Ask the librarian to tell your child about special programs that he might participate in, such as summer reading programs and book clubs and about services such as homework help.

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