Many parents of elementary students share common concerns when it comes to helping their children with academics. Throw in after-school activities, dinner, full-time jobs and music lessons and it seems impossible to find the time to actually sit down and help. Try these quick tips to help elementary students with language arts.
"My child never knows what to write about in his journal, and he has a free-write assignment once a week! It is like pulling teeth to get him to move his pencil. Please give this busy mom some ways to help with writing homework."
This writing concern is a common one, especially at the elementary level. Because free-writing, or journal-writing, can be a fairly abstract type of assignment, many children have difficulty with it. Help make the assignment more concrete by creating a reference page for the child to refer to on his own. If he has something to look at to help him get ideas for the writing, he may begin to gain more independence over this kind of assignment. Brainstorm a list of potential topics with your child and glue it to the inside of his journal. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- hobbies or interests
- favorite movies or TV shows
- lists (my favorite things about summer, places I'd like to visit)
- special memories
- book reviews
- photo stories (choose a magazine photo or photo from a personal event and create a story based on it, real or fiction)
"While my child can read many words, her fluency is very slow. How can I help her increase his fluency? Should I hire a reading tutor?"
If the child is in 2nd/3rd grade and below, fluency skills are still developing so give it time. One of the most helpful things any parent can do is simply read to his child. Another great option is consider having the child listen to books on CD. With all the technology available these days, there is a lot of access to resources that can model fluency for children. These tools are also great to play in the background while the child is drawing or building with blocks, or for car trips or plane rides. If the fluency really becomes too much of a concern, a reading tutor might be the best way to get the child's fluency up to speed.