When parents ask me, “What should I do to help my child in school?” I invariably tell them to make some time to visit our class. Take note of the layout, design, and content, chances are they’ll find a “child-friendly, print-rich” room that can be recreated at home.
You can create centers of exploration in your home. Dedicate space in a family room, kitchen corner, or your child’s bedroom for a Literacy Center. Fill colorful plastic bins with your child’s favorite books and stories. Provide plenty of lined/ unlined paper and creative writing tools such as pencils, pens, markers, and crayons. Don’t forget about items like rubber alphabet stamps and stamp pads. Even with email these days, “Snail-mail” is still a great option for young writers. Remember grandparents still love to receive cards, letters, and love notes through the regular mail.
Include real-life items such as fliers, newspapers, and magazines for children to read, then cut them up for some fun literacy projects. Speak to the manager of your local neighborhood restaurant to get some laminated menus for a host of fun writing and math activities, and some good old-fashioned “role-play”. I visited the local IHOP and received several free menus for my class. The kids love them!
Create a refrigerator Word Wallwith index cards; it’s a display of new vocabulary, spelling, and sight words. These are words that are commonly found in many types of reading that often do not follow conventional spelling rules—simply put, they ‘re not pronounced the way they’re spelled. Words like “night” or “right”, “of” “through” often give young readers a difficult time and become an obstacle to understanding.
Backyard Science Centers provide endless hours of inquiry. You can find inexpensive magnifying glasses, bug containers, notebooks and more at your local dollar store or discount center. You can also purchase butterfly kits at craft stores and online at InsectLore. You’ll receive live butterfly larvae, food, containers, and a butterfly house. Everything you and your child will need to raise Painted Lady Butterflies. When your child has observed, illustrated, and journaled about this amazing process, you can schedule a celebration to free your winged beauties.
What “homeroom” would be complete with out the Technology Center. This is one center that your child as a “digital native” will feel quite at home. With the popularity of smartphones and tablets, parents can easily pack hundreds of books, activities, and educational experiences for summer.
The list of parent resources is endless to help your children in school— even when they’re out of school!