It's time to head back to school. And while kids are stuffing their backpacks with new school supplies, we're packing a different sort of bag here at Reading Rockets — one filled with resources to help make one of the most important evening events of the school year really sparkle — back-to-school night.
Self-advocacy is an important skill for even young kids with dyslexia to develop. But sometimes it’s hard for grade-schoolers to know what to say. Find out how you can help your child by rehearsing common situations she may face.
Whether your child has mild or severe Autism Spectrum Disorder, making reading a fun activity can help your child's learning and social skills. You'll find sharing books together can be a good way to connect with your son or daughter. Reading also helps your child's language development and listening skills.
Here are 10 simple yet powerful things that parents can do at home to support teachers in their daily work of teaching our young children.
National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Gene Luen Yang calls us all to read Without Walls, exploring books about characters who look or live differently than you, topics you haven’t discovered, or formats that you haven’t tried.
Dialogic reading involves an adult and child having a dialogue around the text they are reading aloud together. Learn how to use this strategy effectively to help kids build vocabulary and verbal fluency skills and understand story structure and meaning. Downloadable handouts to help guide parents in using dialogic reading are available in English and 14 other languages.
In a world where children are "growing up digital," it's important to help them learn healthy concepts of digital use and citizenship. Parents play an important role in teaching these skills. Here are a few tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics to help parents manage the digital landscape they're exploring with their children.
How do you choose books to read aloud with your child? There are many things to think about: how interesting the topic or characters might be for your child; an intriguing setting, time period, or plot; the liveliness or beauty of the language; or how engaging the illustrations are. Some books are more appropriate based on social and emotional development at each stage of a young child's life. Find guidance here in choosing great read alouds.
Discover 12 easy tips that encourage multisensory learning at home.
Is your child enrolled in kindergarten in a school that is implementing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)? In this overview for parents, learn more about what Common Core is and how to know whether a teacher is providing developmentally appropriate instruction to address the CCSS for your child. Here are some of the questions you might ask yourself.
There are many people at your child's school who are there to help your child learn, grow socially and emotionally, and navigate the school environment. Here's a selected list of who's who at your school: the teaching and administrative staff as well as organizations at the district level. You might want to keep this list handy all year long.
Reading Rockets has developed a set of reading adventure packs to encourage hands-on fun and learning centered around paired fiction and nonfiction books.
Is your school using the new Common Core standards? This is a big change for students — and their parents. Get to know the four "anchors" of the Common Core writing standards and simple things you can do at home to help your child build skills in all of these areas.
Is your school using the new Common Core standards? This is a big change for students — and their parents. Get to know what the four main areas of the Common Core reading standards mean and simple things you can do at home to help your child build skills in these areas.
Smartphones and tablets are everywhere, and even our youngest children interact with technology on a daily basis. Find out what you as a parent can be doing to help your young learner navigate the digital world — you may need to reconsider how you connect with your child during technology use.
Your child may be at a school where they are using an approach called "flipped classroom" or "flipped lesson." If so, keep reading to find out more about the concept, and three ways that you can support flipped learning at home.
Our interconnected and digital world demands a lot of our learners. Here are five simple ways to help build your child's critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
The Lead for Literacy initiative is a series of one-page memos for policymakers and early literacy leaders on how to improve young children's literacy, birth to age 9. Using evidence from research, these briefs are designed to help leaders avoid common mistakes and present solutions and strategies for scalability and impact.
Reading Rockets has packed a "virtual beach bag" of activities for teachers to help families get ready for summer and to launch students to fun, enriching summertime experiences. Educators will find materials to download and distribute as well as ideas and resources to offer to students and parents to help ensure summer learning gain rather than loss.
This checklist helps parents find out how well they are doing in creating a literacy-rich environment in their home, and what more they can do to enrich their child's exposure to books and reading.
Parents are a child's first teacher, and there are many simple things you can do every day to share the joy of reading while strengthening your child's literacy skills.
Children with speech and language problems may have trouble sharing their thoughts with words or gestures. They may also have a hard time saying words clearly and understanding spoken or written language. Reading to your child and having her name objects in a book or read aloud to you can strengthen her speech and language skills.
What do parents need to know about the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)? How will they affect teaching and assessing mathematics and English language arts? What are the benefits and what can parents do to prepare for the CCSS?
All parents want their children to receive the best education possible. One way to help your child succeed is to know if the school is using effective teaching and intervention practices. But how can schools and parents know if a practice is effective? One method is to see if there is any research or "evidence" to prove that the practice works. This handout explains the meaning of "evidence-based practices" and why they are important. It also lists resources where parents can learn more.
The purpose of report cards is to communicate about a child's progress across subject areas. Some kids, especially those having difficulty in school, dread report card time. Here are some suggestions for making report card time a little less scary and a little more productive.
Homework is important, but helping children with homework isn't always easy. Here are some ways you can make homework easier for everyone!
No one wants to start their day in a frenzied mess of untied shoes and breakfast in hand as the school bus approaches. Follow these five short recommendations for smoothing out those rough mornings.
Our Top 8 back-to-school tips for parents emphasize communication, organization, and staying up-to-date on special education news.
Our top 10 back-to-school tips for special education teachers emphasize communication, organization, and a focus on student success.
Some parents are reluctant to contact their child's teacher. Don't be! A quick conversation or email exchange can solve simple misunderstandings, or make it clear that a longer, more formal conversation is needed. Here are three situations where parent contact is appropriate and even encouraged.
Back-to-School Night is a great opportunity for families to learn more about their child's school and teacher. Here are some signs to look for that indicate your child is in a place where good reading instruction can take place.
When the back-to-school bell starts ringing, parents often hear and read school-related terms that are unfamiliar to them. Below are three terms and descriptions related to reading instruction that may help give you a better understanding of what's happening in your child's classroom and what it all means for your young learner.
Libraries are great resources for families with young children; you can find books, entertainment, educational and cultural enrichment, literacy tips, and other valuable information. Here are nine reasons to visit your public library!
Heading off to kindergarten is a big event for all kids and parents. For young children who have struggled socially or academically during preschool, it is a transition that needs careful planning and attention. Below are four suggestions for parents of children who may need extra help making a successful move to kindergarten.
Here are some strategies to help a child who does his or her homework, but doesn't turn it in.
How can you hold an effective parent-teacher conference with the parents of English language learners if they can't communicate comfortably in English? This article provides a number of tips to help you bridge the language gap, take cultural expectations about education into account, and provide your students' parents with the information they need about their children's progress in school.
Get tips on how you can foster a sense of partnership with the teacher and administration to support your child's education.
Parents love to know what's going on in their child's classroom. A weekly newsletter is a great way to keep the communication going. Check out our editable newsletter template. And get your students involved in preparing for back-to-school night with our "welcome to back-to-school night" flyer.
Children are full of questions about the world around them, and summer is a perfect time to tap into your child's interests. Here are some ways to start a journey of discovery together.
Dads play a critical role in their children's literacy development by modeling reading, sharing stories, exploring the world together, and engaging in meaningful conversations that build critical thinking skills.
Dads play a critical role in their children's literacy development by modeling reading, sharing stories, exploring the world together, and engaging in meaningful conversations that build critical thinking skills. Here are a few suggestions to help fathers strengthen their literacy connections with preschoolers.
Learning to speak two languages is like learning any other skill. To do it well, children need lots of practice, which parents can help provide. This American Speech-Language-Hearing Association brief gives information and tips for parents.
Here are some ways parents can help relieve test anxiety, stress, and pressure, as well as a guide to interpreting your child's test results.
Find out how you can support your child before and after taking a standardized test, as well as ways you can support your child's learning habits on a daily basis so that test day is not so stressful.
Many New Year's resolutions focus on developing healthy habits. Here's one that is important to make and keep: provide a regular diet of books and reading for your preschooler. Try this menu of reading activities.
The home is the child's first classroom and parents are the first teachers. Parents who read to their children everyday and talk about what they are reading together promote a joy of reading and literacy achievement. How can teachers encourage reading at home and support the role of parents as educators? One way is through the use of our reading adventure packs — a theme-based collection of books and related interactive activities that kids bring home from school to share with their family.
Parent-teacher conferences are a great opportunity for families to sit down one-on-one with your child's teacher and talk about school progress. Here are some tips to make the most of this time.
Some preschools schedule meetings during the year to talk about your child's progress. Here are some tips to make the most of those meetings.
Back to School is an exciting (and sometimes nervous!) time for students and parents. A few tips might help you and your child get off on the right foot.
Preschool provides a wonderful opportunity for your child to make new friends, socialize, and learn from an adult. Starting preschool is an exciting (and sometimes nervous!) time for little ones and parents. A few tips might help you and your child get off on the right foot.
Libraries today have changed in a number of ways to meet the demands of our modern society, but their underlying purpose for children is still to help them discover the joy of reading. As summer peaks, many local libraries advertise special summer reading programs and activities to keep children enthusiastic about reading.
Learn what questions to ask about Response to Intervention (RTI), an approach to helping struggling learners that is gaining momentum in schools across the country. This article from the National Association of School Psychologists tells you the most important features of the process, key terms, and RTI's relationship to special education evaluation.
The U.K.'s National Literacy Trust offers ideas that schools and nonprofit organizations can implement to get fathers involved in their children's reading.
Reading over the summer not only keeps your child from losing ground, but actually improves skills for the coming year. Here are some suggestions to keep a book in your child's hands over the summer months.
Letter writing can be fun, help children learn to compose written text, and provide handwriting practice — and letters are valuable keepsakes. This guide was written for England's "Write a Letter Week" and contains activities to help children ages 5–9 put pen to paper and make someone's day with a handwritten letter.
Did you know that kids whose parents are involved in their education have better grades, a better attitude toward school, and more appropriate school behavior than those with less involved parents? Consider trying a few of these tips — and make a big difference!
Talking to your child helps expand vocabulary, develop background knowledge, and inspire a curiosity about the world – all of which help with learning to read! Here are some simple activities you can do at home to get your child ready to read.
School is not the only arena in which children's minds need to be nurtured and expanded. Equally vital is the kind of education and brain building that a student undergoes at home.
These activities are for families and caregivers who want to help their preschool children to learn and to develop the skills necessary for success in school — and in life.
Creating a library of your child's books is a great way to show her how important reading is. It will also give her a special place to keep her books and will motivate her to keep pulling books from her own library to read. Here are some ideas for getting started!
Research about how much children lose ground over the summer is well documented, but kids don't have to lose ground over the summer. In fact, you can encourage your child to have a summer of fun and learning with these five free and easy things to do.
You've got the reading lists. You've got the books. But what else can you do to make your children better readers this summer?
Not everyone lives near Chincoteague lsland off the Maryland and Virginia coastline (Misty of Chincoteague) or has a chance to visit the Laura Ingalls Wilder house museum in the Ozarks (Little House on the Prairie). But books can inspire some exciting day trips.
Use the power of stories to explore what's different and the same, new and shared, about ourselves and our experiences. These nine books find wonderful ways to express universal themes through African Americans, both fictional and real.
Children can learn about family heritage at the same time they are improving their literacy skills. Using family-based writing projects, you can build a connection with parents, and help children see the value in their own heritage and in the diversity around them.
Writing is a new way for young children to tell their stories and express themselves, but they are also learning valuable lessons about print concepts and letter-sound relationships when they put pen to paper.
Music is a great way to introduce children to sounds and words! Research indicates that exposure to music has numerous benefits for a child's development.
What parents do or don't do in the preschool years has a lasting impact on children's reading ability. Learn some facts about the importance and need for literacy experiences in the primary grades.
What should you do if you think your child is having trouble with reading? Sometimes children just need more time, but sometimes they need extra help. Trust your instincts! You know your child best. If you think there's a problem, there probably is.
Many kids lose ground during the summer months, especially those from low income families. Part of the problem is that many students don't have easy access to books. This article presents some suggestions for what schools can do.
Many families are under the mistaken impression that holding their child out of kindergarten for an additional year will be beneficial, that it will give the child the gift of time. But families need to be aware of the possibility of too little challenge and the potential negative effects of holding children out.
Motivation is key to school success. Just as the actor asks a director, "What is my motivation, for this scene?," the child turns to teachers, parents, and peers to discover the "why" of learning. Motivation is often defined as a need or drive that energizes behavior toward a goal.
Moms, dads, or grandparents can play simple word games with kids to increase their ability to recognize and use letters and sounds. Try these games the next time you're on the go.
Parents are often the best educational advocates for their children, especially children with a learning disability. Discover nine tips to help you be a strong champion for your child.
This article offers a collection of interactive activities that help kids become more involved in the stories that they read.
Children go through phases of reading development from preschool through third grade — from exploration of books to independent reading. In first grade, children begin to read simple stories and can write about a topic that is meaningful to them. Find out what parents and teachers can do to support first grade literacy skills.
Children go through phases of reading development from preschool through third grade — from exploration of books to independent reading. In second grade, children begin to read more fluently and write various text forms using simple and more complex sentences. Find out what parents and teachers can do to support second grade literacy skills.
This list is meant to introduce children, and the adults who care for them, to newer books in the field of children's literature. This list is organized by age range and then by the author's last name.