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Shekou International School


Seven ways to prevent summer reading loss

Your child has worked on strengthening her reading skills all year long. You don’t want her to lose them over the summer! Yet research shows that summer reading loss is a real problem.

Thankfully, there are countless ways you can encourage your child to maintain—and even improve—her reading skills during vacation.

You can:

  1. Read together daily. In addition to reading books, ask for your child’s help with following recipes, looking up information online and making lists.
  2. Keep reading materials handy. Leave comics, magazines, books, newspapers and other materials around the house where your child is likely to pick them up.
  3. Choose irresistible materials. Look for books and articles about your child’s interests, such as sports, art, fashion or even a favorite movie.
  4. Talk with experts. Ask your child’s teacher or a librarian for summer reading suggestions.
  5. Visit the library regularly. Give your child frequent opportunities to find materials that appeal to her.
  6. Take books with you. Bring them on trips, into waiting rooms and anywhere else your child might complain, “I’m bored!”
  7. Be creative. Listen to audio books. Play word games. Visit a museum and read about displays. Start a book group.

The Parent Institute


Don’t let end-of-year projects become a family emergency!

As the end of the school year draws near, teachers often assign large projects. These can be a way for students to do something creative and have fun while learning. But projects can sometimes drive parents crazy!

Kids may try to put off work on that huge project until the very last minute. Then everyone in the house goes into panic mode to make sure the poster gets made, the costumes are ready and the report is written.

This year, don’t let your child’s end-of-year project become a family emergency. Here are steps to take:

  1. Make a plan. As early as possible, sit down with your child to develop a plan for completing the project. Have him write the due date on the calendar. Ask questions about what steps he’ll need to take to get ready. “You need to make an iMovie. Let’s check to see if we have the content you’ll need.”
  2. Make a schedule. Now help your child figure out when he’s going to complete each step. Having several smaller deadlines is much easier than waiting and trying to meet one big one. Have him write these dates on the calendar.
  3. Celebrate successes. Each time your child reaches a goal, help him figure out a reward. This should be small (a favorite dessert, not a trip to toy store) and something he can mostly do for himself.
  4. Check in. You’ll need to see how he is progressing to help him stay on track.

The Parent Institute


Review the school year with your child & set new goals

It’s nearing the end of a busy school year and our student-led conferences is next week!

Your child has learned a lot. She’s read new books and she’s mastered new skills. Now is the perfect time to talk about all of the lessons she’s learned. After your conference next week, find a time when you can have a relaxing chat about school. You might even plan something special, such as going out for a treat or making a favorite meal together.

During your talk:

  • Take a look back. What was your child’s favorite project this year? In what subject did she improve the most? Which book that the class read was her favorite? Which of her goals did she accomplish?
    As she talks about these positive things, help her see the ways she has grown. “You really worked hard to master division this year. You can do hard things when you put your mind to it!”
  • Take a look forward. What is your child looking forward to this summer? What is she excited about for next year? Is there a subject or an area she’d like to improve in next year? Are there books she would like to read?
  • Discuss how learning doesn’t stop at the end of the school year. One of the great things about the summer is the opportunity to learn things that aren’t directly related to school. Help your child think about something she’d like to learn this summer. Would she like to learn a new sport? Would she like to teach herself how to paint? Would she like to learn a new language? Together, make a plan to help her achieve her goal.

The Parent Institute


Three simple activities help kids develop thinking skills

In today’s world, kids need to know how to be problem solvers. They must learn how to analyze and see things from another point of view. Here are ways to reinforce your child’s thinking skills:

  • Sort things. Find something for your child to sort—buttons, pencils, coins or anything else in your house. Help her sort the items by size. Then mix everything up and have her sort them by color. This teaches your child that even though something is part of one group, it can be part of another group, too.
  • Think about opposites. Suppose you have been talking about fairness. Ask your child, “What does fairness look like? What things show fairness in action?” Then ask her about the opposite.“What does unfairness look like?”
  • Talk about points of view. What does your child think your house looks like from a cat’s point of view? What does your child think the school bus driver thinks about the students who ride her bus? This activity will also help your child develop empathy by seeing things from others’ points of view.

The Parent Institute


Building your child’s social skills can give learning a big boost

Students learn much more at school than reading, writing, math and other academic subjects. In every class, they practice an important skill— getting along with others.

Research shows that problems with social skills can interfere with learning. Without social skills, it’s hard to succeed in school or in life. Activities that reinforce social skills at home include:

  • Role modeling. Children notice how parents interact with others. Do you introduce yourself to new people? Get together with friends? Support people you care about? Let your child see you being a good friend.
  • Reading stories. There are countless books about friendship. Ask the librarian to help you find some that match your child’s age and interests, such as Lost and Found, by Oliver Jeffers. After reading, talk about the story.
  • Role-playing. Kids need help practicing manners. Before going to the park, for example, you and your child might pretend you’re meeting new people. “Hi, I’m Jacob. Nice to meet you!” Also focus on sharing and kindness.
  • Socializing. Give your child opportunities to spend time with kids. Invite friends to play. Go to story time at the library. Visit busy playgrounds. Sign your child up for kids’ programs at community centers, museums and elsewhere.
  • Relaxing. Children don’t need lots of friends. Just one good buddy is fine, as long as your child cooperates well with others. If you have any concerns, talk with his teacher and work together on solutions.

Source: K. Steedly, Ph.D. and others, “Social Skills and Academic Achievement,” Evidence of Education, National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities.

The Parent Institute


Attendance is still important at year’s end

You know that being in school is important. But this would be such a great time to take a family trip. And, after all, your child is only in first grade. Surely a few days’ absence won’t matter, will it?

It will. In fact, research shows that young children don’t have to miss much school before their learning suffers. In the early grades, kids are mastering reading and basic math skills. And research has shown that these are the skills most affected when children miss school. Being in school consistently is the only way kids can develop a strong foundation on which to build the rest of their learning.

Your child will not be the only one who pays a price. The entire class will be affected. When the teacher has to stop to meet the needs of a child who was out of school, everyone else’s learning comes to a halt.

Source: H. Chang & M. Romero, Present, Engaged, and Accounted For: The Critical Importance of Addressing Chronic Absence in the Early Grades, National Center for Children in Poverty.

The Parent Institute


Ask the right kinds of questions to improve your child’s thinking

Experts recommend asking questions to build your child’s thinking skills. But how do you know what the right questions are?

A well-known classification system, Bloom’s Taxonomy, divides thinking skills into six categories. Ask your child questions that fall under these categories:

  1. Knowledge. Find out what your child knows about a topic. Talk about facts. Start with the basics, such as who, what, when and where. “When did the war start?” “Who was the President?” The answers should be clearly right or wrong.
  2. Comprehension. Test how well your child understands the subject. Ask him to describe, explain or predict something. “If we were tadpoles, where would we live?”
  3. Application. Encourage your child to connect previous learning to new experiences. “Chickens hatch from eggs. Do you think ostriches hatch from eggs, too?”
  4. Analysis. Discuss how something works or how it’s organized. “Name the different kinds of animals you studied.”
  5. Synthesis. This involves thinking about old information in new ways. “What if Christopher Columbus lived today? Where could he explore?”
  6. Evaluation. Help your child be creative without worrying about right or wrong. “Imagine you could go back in time. What would you do during the Civil War?” “How might you change history?”

Source: The Council for Exceptional Children, “Improving Your Child’s Thinking Skills,” familyeducation, six_thinking.

The Parent Institute


Remember the three keys to discipline

Some parents think that discipline means punishment. But the most effective discipline helps your child learn what he did wrong—and how he can make a better choice in the future.

Here are three keys to productive discipline:

  • Remain calm. When you lose your temper, you also lose the upper hand. Giving in to an urge to yell at your child teaches him that it’s okay to lose control when he’s upset.
  • Be consistent. It doesn’t take long for your child to learn whether you really intend to enforce rules. Say yes just once to watching TV before school and you’ll have a battle every morning. Don’t set rules unless you will consistently enforce them.
  • Avoid criticizing. Just describe the behavior. “It was your sister’s turn to go on the computer and you wouldn’t quit playing your game.” Then remind your child of the rule and of the consequence.

The Parent Institute


Teach your elementary schooler the different aspects of respect


Schools teach students about respect, but it’s parents who have the most influence on how respectful kids become.

To instill respect, tell your child to:

  • Practice the Golden Rule. How does your child want to be treated? That’s how she should treat others.
  • Speak politely. Your child should say kind things and use good manners. Avoid inappropriate language and mean comments.
  • Appreciate diversity. All people deserve fair treatment, no matter what makes them an individual
    —age, race, beliefs and more.
  • Resolve conflicts peacefully. Encourage your child to express feelings with “I statements,” not blame. “I was angry when you borrowed my pencil without asking.”
  • Distinguish right from wrong. Talk to your child about values such as honesty, courage, generosity and learning from mistakes. Talk about how to respond when others are being disrespectful.
  • Respect herself. Self-respect is the foundation for respecting others. Help your child take pride in her skills, accomplishments and good decisions.

“Respect for ourselves guides our morals;

respect for others guides our manners.”

—Laurence Sterne


Source: “My Child’s Academic Success: What Does ‘Strong Character’ Mean?” U.S. Department of Education,

The Parent Institute


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