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Quick Practice + More Connection = Big Impact

Kids spend a lot of time in school as the average school day lasts from 7:30am-3:00pm. Educators often hear from parents that they want to reinforce what is happening in schools, but they don’t know how to do that in ways that are meaningful and improve upon the parent/child relationship. Let’s be honest, fighting to get homework done is not exactly an ideal bonding experience; neither is bribery.

What if there were a way to focus on certain aspects of your child’s education at home that could deeply impact what they are learning at school? What if these activities did not involve fighting, threatening, bribing, or begging? What if parents and caregivers had assistance to learn individualized practice regimens in a way that complement group instruction that happens at school?

For elementary-aged children, things that improve fluency in math is a great place to focus at-home practice. There are many ways to do this at-home practice on-the-fly or in a game-like format to actually create moments of fun and connection. Once a learner understands the concepts of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, building fluency within these concepts will decrease the amount of time and frustration needed to tackle multi-digit problems and help them to use math quickly and easily in the real world. Here’s how:

  • Practice skip counting. Skip counting is a method of counting forward by numbers other than one. Development of this skill leads kids naturally into multiplication. To practice, have your child skip count by 2s, 5s, 10s, and 25s to start. Once that proves easy enough, venture into learning other multiples. Skip count in the car, while waiting on traffic lights, or while holding your breath. One fun method is to use each number on an analog clock and practice skip counting by each. See how high your child can skip count by a particular number within a minute and let your child time it!

  • Divide toys evenly into groups based on various characteristics. Ask your child questions such as, “If we categorize these toy cars or legos by color, how many would go into each pile?” Encourage your child to group various households into equal groups while making sure to discuss the number of items in each group and the total number of items altogether.

  • Use the numbers on a clock to skip count. Start with each “hour” and skip count accordingly. As an added bonus, skip counting by fives will reinforce the link of multiplication and children will see the fact family of factor x factor = product (e.g. 5 x 6 = 30).

  • Play card games that involve math! Find great ideas on this post on the Co-Teach Instagram account, and follow us @Coteachcollective for more math inspiration and ideas to improve at-home learning.

If your learner is struggling with reading, you can improve their comprehension by improving their fluency. If a child is devoting a lot of energy to decoding and understanding the meaning of the words they are reading, they will have less energy to apply to comprehension and will not enjoy reading. Here are some ideas to improve fluency in fun and engaging ways at home:

  • Play rhyming games. This can happen anywhere, anytime! Try to think of as many words as you can that rhyme. Create poems together, or use a journal just for the purpose of recording rhyming words.

  • Complete word family scavenger hunts. Words that have a similar spelling pattern are considered word families. Hide words in the house with clues leading to the next word. The final clue can lead to a prize, like screen time or a special treat.

  • Play games like hangman. This is a fun way to practice spelling and reading words with tricky spelling patterns. The more exposure there is to these words, the more fluently a reader can approach them.

  • Keep sight words in sight. Keep an at home word wall. Allow your child to read words on the wall for prizes or during transitions.

  • Ask your librarian for engaging books. Fluency practice for early readers includes having them read books over and over again. It is also beneficial to listen to books on audio while having your child follow along in the text.

  • Encourage your reader to read with different voices such as robot, older person, princess, villain voice, or any other character they can imagine. If you want to see an example of Co-Teacher Lo Nigrosh encouraging her emergent reader to build fluency by doing reader's theater (acting while reading) check out this video.

Parents, you know your child better than anyone. Once you know how to better help your children at home, you can often help your child master skills and ultimately improve their learning. If you want to help your learner improve their reading and math fluency, but still aren’t quite sure how, we would love to help!

We look forward to connecting you to an awesome teacher for at-home learning, coaching, and support.

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