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Help Your Child Make the Grade

Nile Stanley Picture Volume 1 Number 1 September, 2006

Dr. Stanley's Reading Calendar is a monthly feature of the Department of Childhood Education, University of North Florida, 4567 Saint Johns Bluff Road, South, Jacksonville, FL 32224, nstanley@unf.edu,

by Nile Stanley, Ph.D.
Chair, Childhood Education

Imagine your child as a college freshman with a full paid scholarship, offers to work summers at prestigious corporations and owning a portfolio of personal investments. Such success is achievable, even reachable for children who study, work hard and learn early the power of goal setting. Parents can help their child make the grade by helping at home with school work!

  • Communicate often with your child's teacher about expectations. Ask, what grade level is my child on? How can I reinforce skills tonight so my child will be successful in school tomorrow? What long-term projects and assignments will be due? When are tests?
  • Show great interest in your child's progress in school. Display prominently the child's successful achievements. Reinforce what is taught at school by providing related experiences that build background knowledge. For example, if the child is studying dinosaurs, then read aloud on the subject or visit a museum together. Talk about what the child reads.
  • Set aside 30 or more minutes per day for learning time. Begin homework right after school. Provide a quiet place. Have a homework planning sheet listing the book, pages and "What I will Learn." If your child does not have a specific assignment, always encourage the practice of reading, writing and math skills. Dear time - Drop Everything and Read - should happen daily.
  • Make a list of learning goals and a step-by-step plan of action for the year. For example, one school year's resolution might be to get more A's. The plan for the child is to read more library books, to study longer, to do more homework and to have good behavior in school.
  • Limit the amount of TV watching your child does to no more than 12 hours a week. Monitor the types of programs watched, foster critical viewing and suggest educational shows found of PBS. Provide healthy alternatives to excessive viewing such as practicing a musical instrument, doing crafts, playing sports and participating in the arts.
  • Read together the newspaper daily. Buy children's books and magazines and visit the library regularly. Make sure your child observes you reading widely and that you develop positive attitudes by discussing enthusiastically what you read. Do the suggested activities in "The Reading Calendar."


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