Valuing Parents as Co-Educators


Parents play a vital role at all stages of a child’s education, and a supportive role in education can improve achievement.

We all know that children learn more efficiently when teachers and parents have a clear picture of what each student knows and what they are ready to learn next. In 15 years of teaching in the PYP, I have learned that one factor among teaching strategies that provides a reliable barometer for student success: Parent involvement. In fact, it’s crucial.

Strategies  for Parents and Students For Improving Reading, Writing, and Mathematics Skills

NWEA (Northwest Evaluation Association) has drafted a parent toolkit to help you with hands-on, practical, ideas of how to practice these essential academic skills at home.

Parent Strategies and Activities For Improving Their Child’s Reading and Writing Skills

The following suggestions are intended to help increase your child’s understanding of reading and develop his or her confidence in the learning process. Choose two or three of the following strategies and continue to implement them for the remainder of the year. These methods will also be effective during the summer months 

General Reading and Writing Improvement Strategies:

  • Read to your child.
  • Model good habits by reading in front of your child.
  • Check your child’s assignment notebook daily.
  • Provide a consistent, daily study period without distractions.
  • Help with specific skills (e.g., phonics or comprehension).
  • Use reading software, if available.
  • Visit the public library frequently.
  • Join public library summer reading programs.
  • Provide opportunities for your child to attend theater performances, musicals, etc.
  • Limit TV or video games.
  • Provide activities that relate reading to daily life.
  • Have your child write the menu for dinner.
  • Have your child locate letters and words on food containers.
  • Have your child help write a shopping list and have them check off the items on the list as you shop.
  • When traveling, write words in a grid and have your child color in the boxes as they see thewords on signs.

Parent Strategies and Activities For Improving Their Child’s Mathematics Skills

The following strategies are intended to help your child to increase his or her understanding of mathematics and develop their confidence in the learning process. Choose two or three of the following strategies, andcontinue to work toward them for the remainder of the year (as well as the summer months).

General Mathematics Improvement Strategies:

  • Encourage participation in enrichment activities outside of the classroom.
  • Provide activities that enrich and relate mathematics to daily life:
  • Talk about how many bowls to put out for dinner.
  • Fold napkins in different shapes.
  • Have your child count similar items as you put away groceries.
  • Have your child help measure ingredients for recipes.
  • Give your child change to count out in order to pay for small purchases at the store; have older children calculate the change.
  • Ask your child to compare prices of items by asking things like, “Which can of beans costs more?”
  • Allow your child to weigh the fresh produce; have older children calculate the price by multiplying the price per kilo by the number of kilos.
  • Read the days and dates on a calendar, talk about the number of days in the month, the number of days remaining until a special event, etc.
  • Draw a scale map of your home and determine the best escape route in case of an emergency.
  • When traveling, write numbers on a grid and have your child color in the box as they see the numbers on signs or license plates.
  • Provide your child with a mentor (such as an adult, neighbor, community member, or high school student).
  • Use computer software to enhance mathematics skills at home.
  • Provide a consistent mathematics activity at home using family mathematics activities:
  • Dice. Each person rolls the dice and has to correctly add, subtract, or multiply the numbers.
  • Dice and Money. Each person rolls a die and gets the number of cents as dots shown. When someone gets five cents they trade it in for a 5 cent coin, 10 cent coin and so forth until they’re trading for a Euro.
  • War. For two people, give each person 13 cards from a deck of cards, have each person flip a card, then have your child decide whose card has the higher value to determine who wins the set of cards. In a tie, place three additional cards face-down, then turn the last card up; the higher card on that turn wins all the cards. Play until one person has all the cards in the deck.
  • Newspapers and Magazines. Find numbers in print and cut them out, then glue them in the correct order onto a larger sheet of paper.
  • Store. Keep empty food containers, write different prices on them, then play Store by using a calculator to add up the prices for different purchases

I hope that you’ll find these suggestions helpful, engaging, and fun!

I also recommend Global Family Research Project website from Harvard Family Research Project for research based ways to promote meaningful home learning.

Formula for Success: Engaging Families in Early Math Learning

You can read more about the ideas included in this blog in our report: Formula for Success: Engaging Families in Early Math Learning. Our latest Early Math blog highlights this report’s findings.

Seven Research-Based Ways That Families Promote Early Literacy

Margaret Caspe and M. Elena Lopez You can read more about the ideas included in this blog in our report: Seven Research-Based Ways Families Promote Early Literacy

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