Helping your child learn outside of school

1. Read to your child and have him or her read to you every day for at least 15 minutes. Pick out words that might be new to your child or words that have multiple or complex meanings. Discuss those words and how they add to what the writer is saying.

2. Ask your child to retell a story in his or her own words by telling what happened first, second, third, etc.

3. Ask your child to think about what the message of a story may be or what he or she learned from an informational book or article.

4. Look for opportunities in everyday places to build your child’s vocabulary.

5. Be sure your child has a library card. Children should select books in which they are interested to develop a passion for reading.  Mesa Public Library has many activities that make reading fun for the entire family.

6. Use technology to help build your child’s interest in reading. There are several websites where students can read books or articles online. The computer will help with words the student cannot read independently. Libraries also have computers students can use to access those sites. Feel free to ask a librarian or teacher for suggestions.

Ideas from Council of the Great City Schools

Everyday Family Activities

  • Setting aside at least 15 minutes per day for family reading.
  • Making books available around your home.
  • Becoming familiar with your child’s reading program.
  • Reading stories and alphabet books to your kindergarten child and discussing them.
  • Helping your child describe pictures.
  • Playing letter sound games; e.g., I’m thinking of a pet that begins with the letter C.  Can you guess it? (cat)
  • Playing reading games at the store, at home, or anywhere; e.g., as you pass shelves in the store, read some labels for your child. Select labels that begin with one certain letter: tomatoes, toothpaste, tangerines, or towels. Ask, “What sound do you hear at the beginning?” If your child does not know, say the sound while pointing to the letter (T) and repeating the name of the product on which it appears.
  • When your child can read, make sure that the books selected are not too difficult for him/her. A rule of thumb is if your child misses five words on the first page of a book, the material is too difficult. Find a book that is easier to read.
  • Helping your child print his/her first and last name. Capitalize first letter and use lower-case letters for the rest.
  • Playing rhyming games; i.e., What rhymes with fat? (cat)
  • Taping his/her name to his/her bedroom door. Label other household items; e.g.,clock, chair, table.
  • Helping your child to recognize letters out of sequence.
  • Limiting television watching and computer time. Encourage watching educational programs.
  • Supporting and participating in your school’s Read-at-Home program.
  • Planning regular trips to the library and obtaining a library card for your child.
  • Having your child participate in the summer reading program through the school and/or the public library.
  • Asking your child to tell you the events of his/her school day. Sit down, listen, and maintain eye contact. Be generous with praise and understanding.
  • Encouraging your child to write or dictate thank you letters, pen pal, or friendly
  • letters to family and acquaintances. Have child sign his/her name.
  • Ask child to explain the task on assigned papers.
  • Going over papers brought home from school and STRESSING the progress your child is making.
  • Display your child’s work in a prominent place for all the family to enjoy.
  • Encouraging your child to memorize nursery rhymes.
  • Reading short stories for pleasure. Have your child retell the story or draw a picture about the story.
  • Playing a good bedtime game such as listening quietly to sounds. Have your child identify traffic, heart beat, dog barking. Listening attentively is essential to learning.
  • Picking an object and having your child give as many words as possible to describe it. This will develop oral language.
  • Playing opposites. Adult says a word; child says the opposite. Example: Adult says “up”; child says “down.”
  • Playing same. Adult says a word; child says a word that means the same. Example: Adult says “large”; child says “big.”
  • Using words such as beside, next to, left, right, in back, in front, behind, corner, several, many, etc., when giving oral directions.
  • Making sure your child holds a pencil correctly and forms upper- and lower-case letters according to school’s policy.
  • Telling child stories about your own background. Share your heritage.
  • Identifying patterns in things you see, hear, and do.

 Ideas from Fremont Unified School District, CA


Kindergarten Connection

Kindergarten Connection



Technology Resources for Parents

Scholastic for Parents


Harcourt Trophies (Resources for parents, teachers and students)

Kids Research Portal (Kentucky Virtual Library - How to do Research)

NBC Learn  Explore NBC Learn for  offers unique collections of video resources, primary sources, historic footage, images, mini-documentaries and text resources designed for use in the K-12 classroom.

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