Posts found under: parents

Ask your child question

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Asking questions while reading to your child is not only great for encouraging your child to interact with the book, but it is also extremely effective in developing his ability to comprehend what he is reading. You see, if our main objective in “reading” is getting our child to “sound out” words, we have missed the boat entirely. Even children who can decode words and “read” with great fluency still might not be able to comprehend what they are reading. If a child can’t comprehend what he is reading, there really is no point to reading at all!

While your child is a baby, ask him questions such as, “Do you see the cat?” while pointing at the picture of the cat. This will not only develop his vocabulary, it will also encourage him to interact with the book that he is reading. As he gets older, ask him to point to things in the book himself and make the noises of the animals he sees.

Once your child is about 2 or 3-years of age, begin asking questions before, during, and after reading the book. Show your child the cover of the book and ask him what he thinks it is going to be about (predicting). While reading, ask him what he thinks is going to happen or why he thinks a character made a particular choice (inferring). If a character is depicting a strong emotion, identify that emotion and ask your child if he has ever felt that way (connecting). At the end of the book, ask if his prediction(s) came true. Afterwards, ask him to tell you what he remembered happening in the book (summarizing).

Modifying each of these techniques during read-alouds to meet the developmental stage of your child is a great way to promote and increase reading comprehension!

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Things Your Child Needs to Know Before Kindergarten

Have you ever wondered what exactly your child needs to know before kindergarten?

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Please keep in mind as you look over this list that  kids learn best with hands-on experiences, not memorization or drill practice! These early years with our children should be about fostering a love to play, explore, and learn!  Also, it is important to note that our children are all different and gifted in unique ways.  Obviously, if your child has special needs, exceptionalities, or is delayed in a particular area, this won’t necessarily be relevant to your child.  This is simply a guide…not something to stress about!

Personal and Social Development

Approach to learning

-Shows eagerness and curiosity as a learner

-Persists in task and seeks help when encountering a problem

-Is generally pleasant and cooperative

Self-Control

-Follows rules and routines

-Manages transitions (going from one activity to the next)

-Demonstrates normal activity level

Interactions with Others

-Interacts easily with one or more children

-Interacts easily with familiar adults

-Participates in group activities

-Plays well with others

-Takes turns and shares

-Cleans up after play

Conflict Resolution

-Seeks adult help when needed to resolve conflicts

-Uses words to resolve conflicts

Language and Literacy

Listening

-Listens with understanding to directions and conversations

-Follows one-step directions

-Follows two-step directions

Speaking

-Speaks clearly enough to be understood without contextual clues

-Relates experiences with some understanding of sequences of events

Literature and Reading

-Listens with interest to stories read aloud

-Shows interest in reading-related activities

-Retells information from a story

-Sequences three pictures to tell a logical story

Writing

-Uses pictures to communicate ideas

-Uses scribbles, shapes, and letter-like symbols to write words or ideas

Alphabet Knowledge

-Recites/sings alphabet

-Matches upper-case letters

-Matches lower-case letters

-Identifies upper-case letters

-Identifies lower-case letters

Mathematical Thinking

Patterns and Relationships

-Sorts by color, shape, and size

-Orders or seriates several objects on the basis of one attribute

-Recognizes simple patterns and duplicates them

Number concept and operations

-Rote counts to 20

-Counts objects with meaning to 10

-Matches numerals

-Identifies by naming, numerals 0-10

Geometry and spatial relations

-Identifies 4 shapes- circle, square, rectangle, triangle

-Demonstrates concepts of positional/directional concepts (up/down, over/under, in/out, behind/in front of, beside/between, top/bottom, inside/outside, above/below, high/low, right/left, off/on, first/last, far/near, go/stop).

Measurement

-Shows understanding of and uses comparative words (big/little, large/small, short/long, tall/short, slow/fast, few/many, empty/full, less/more.

Physical Development

Gross-Motor Skills

-Pedals and steers a tricycle

-Jumps in place, landing on two feet

-Jumps consecutively- 7 jumps

-Balances on one foot for 5 seconds

-Hops on one foot 2-3 hops

-Hops on one foot- 6 ft.

-Throws a ball with direction- 5 ft.

-Catches a thrown ball with arms and body

Climbs a playground ladder

-Skips smoothly for 20 feet

Fine-Motor Skills

-Stacks 10, one-inch blocks

-Strings 4 1/2″ beads in two minutes

-Completes a seven piece interlocking puzzle

-Makes a pancake, snake, and ball from playdough

-Grasps pencil correctly

-Copies:  vertical line, horizontal line, circle, cross, square, V, triangle

-Copies first name

-Prints first name without a model

-Grasps scissors correctly

-Cuts within 1/4″ of a 6″ straight line on construction paper

-Cuts out a 3″ square on construction paper

-Cuts out a 3″ triangle on construction paper

-Cuts out a 3″ circle on construction paper

-Uses a glue stick appropriately

-Uses appropriate amount of glue for tasks

The Arts

Creative Arts

-Identifies 10 colors:  red, yellow, blue, green, orange, purple, black, white, brown, pink

-Uses a variety of art materials for tactile experience and exploration

Music/Movement

-Participates in group music experiences

-Participates in creative movement/dance

Creative Dramatics

-Makes believe with objects

-Takes on pretend roles and situations

Do you agree with this list?  Is there anything that needs to be added (or taken away) based on your experience???

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How to Improve Thinking Skills in Children?

Thinking Skills Chart.

Enhancing thinking skills in your kid can be real fun and thrilling. Nothing can be more effective than asking the right type of questions in an easy going manner. Questions that you ask should have simple and proper wordings. When you ask questions that lead to a mental stimulation of your kid’s thought process, it can be really good for you as well as your kid. One of the most important things to remember while asking probing questions to your kid is to creating questions by using different types or levels or platforms of thinking.

Enhancing thinking skills is best performed in a systematic and well calibrated manner. Your kid will not be ready to think on many aspects of life. Your main goal should focus at motivating his or her inner level of consciousness. Experts in human psychology grade thinking skills in humans into six categories. These thinking skills are common to all individuals and you will need to modify or restructure the questions in such a way that your kid will understand and comprehend the meaning very easily.

Developing Knowledge Skills

Knowledge skills include remembering, recalling or retrieving correct, right and appropriate and previously learned information or details to bring or draw out factual and data based answers which may either right or wrong.

Developing Comprehension Skills

In reality, comprehension means grasping, comprehending or understanding the real meaning of materials that signify materials and things.

Developing Application Skills

This skill involves applying and adapting previously learned and comprehended information or details to new, strange and unfamiliar scenarios.

Developing Synthesis Skills

This thinking skill is a bit difficult to learn and understand. It involves applying the previously acquired information, knowledge or skills to gel them together into a clear pattern which was not there before asking

Developing Evaluation Skills

This skill involves judging, inferring, deciding and concluding based on a set of conditions or criteria, without real or wrong answers.

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How to encourage a reluctant reader?

Encouraging a Reluctant Reader

  • Work out why they are reluctant

The most likely reason your child is reluctant to read is because they find it an effort. Talk to their teacher if you have any specific concerns, but a child can find reading hard work even if they have no learning difficulty. Just make sure there are no other obvious reasons why they might not enjoy it: negative responses from others, feeling pressured, eyesight problems, over-tiredness, or being given books that are either too challenging or too easy. Also, think about what times of day they are reading – are they well-fed, well-rested, and have had a chance to play? For some children it’s just that reading is not high on their list of priorities when there are far more fun activities they can imagine doing instead!

  • Be enthusiastic

The most important role you can have in this is to encourage and praise your child when they read, especially if it is a big effort for them. Try to remain enthusiastic even when progress seems slow.

  • Have someone else listen to your child read

Anyone who will be non-judgemental and encouraging. Get them to say something like, “Mum tells me what an amazing reader you are. Can you read me a story?” Small children can also be a good choice, as your child might enjoy the role reversal, but be aware that little ones have a limited tolerance for slow readers and so this can backfire.

  • Use soft toys as listening companions

Get them to be interactive, and every so often have them respond to the story – jump with excitement, hide behind a cushion in fear, look closely at a picture… Illiterate furry animals who fall down in amazement when your child reads a particularly challenging word also go down a treat.

  • Don’t feel limited to books

Any reading is good reading. It could be that your child might prefer to read something other than stories – this is often particularly true for boys. Try comics, junior magazines, toy catalogues, reading apps, kids’ websites – my son loves the Lego site. Even if they only manage to read a few words, and the a lot of the time is spent looking at pictures or playing a game, the important thing is that they are associating good feelings with having to read words.

  • Be patient

Reading involves a lot of different skills that need to come together in order to make sense out of the written word. Some children pick this up quickly, while others need more time. With good teaching and encouragement they all get there. I didn’t enjoy learning to read as a child but when I grew up I loved studying literature, worked in publishing for a while, and now writing is my hobby! A slow start doesn’t have any bearing on what kind of reader your child will be as they grow up.

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Why some kids don’t like to read?

nonreaders

It’s helpful to figure out your child’s reasons for not liking or wanting to read. These reasons can help you decide what will work best in motivating your child to discover or rediscover how much fun reading can be.

WHY SOME KIDS DON’T LIKE TO READ?It’s boring. Don’t despair if your children have this response to reading that is assigned at school. You can expose them to another kind of reading at home that is related to their interests.

 

++I don’t have the time. Kids are busy. School, friends, sports, television, and chores all compete for their time. Some children need your help in rearranging their schedules to make time for reading.

++It’s too hard. For some children, reading is a slow, difficult process. If your child is having a hard time reading, talk with his or her reading teacher. Ask about how you can find interesting books and materials written at a level that matches your child’s reading ability.

++It’s not important. Often children don’t appreciate how reading can be purposeful or relevant to their lives. Parents can take it upon themselves to find reading materials on subjects that do matter to their kids. Let your child see you reading, too.

++It’s no fun. For some children, especially those who have difficulty reading, books cause anxiety. Even for children with strong reading skills, pressure from school and home that emphasize reading for performance can make reading seem like a chore. Our advice: take the pressure off reading so that your children can enjoy it.

One great way to get kids motivated to read is simply giving them choices.  Let your child choose the book. Just like someone may love green beans but not like peas, some people love reading mysteries and others adventure tales. The lists go on and on. Once they find what they do like, you can’t keep a happy reader down

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You Can Do Everyday To Make Parenting Awesome!

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Accept imperfection:  Parenting is a huge opportunity to  accept that everyone makes mistakes and that these mistakes are a chance to learn together, a wonderful time for reflection and an opportunity to problem solve and practice acceptance, forgiveness and compassion.

Smile: It’s contagious and brings happiness to the world.  After spending time apart, when you meet again, greet your child with a smile. When things are going not so great, breathe and try to think of something that makes you smile.  It’s simple and yet so powerful.
Listen:   Make time to listen to your child’s dreams, hopes and stories. Listen to the heartaches, the problems and the fears. Do not worry so much about fixing and solving problems, instead listen with the intent to be there, listen with a kind heart and strive to  be present and supportive.
Dare to be Ridiculous: You want your child to have courage, joy, happiness and a desire to find meaning in life? Dare to be ridiculous: dance together, laugh, laugh and laugh some more, invent, create, play, whatever it may be, step outside your comfort zone once a day. It’s worth every moment of connection and it models amazing qualities needed for success.
Be Encouraging: The more we can encourage, the more our children can flourish.   Look and celebrate process and progress, determination and courage. Face success and failures with compassion and with the intent to be supportive.
Expect Limits to be Tested: Know that limits and boundaries will be tested because your child is still learning and trying to understand how the world and relationships work.  Shift your expectations and face those test with determination, kindness and flexibility and guide your child towards better choices in positive ways.
Communicate with Respect: Remember the impact that your voice has on your child’s inner voice and strive to communicate in ways that are respectful, positive and kind. Say yes as much as you can and say no when you really mean it.
Spend time together: Look for opportunities, no matter how short they may be, to truly connect with your child each day. It can be five minutes reading together, two minutes shared looking at a picture, 15 minutes playing a game or going out to lunch together, find those moments and be truly present with your child. Children that feel connected are naturally more cooperative.
Aim for Balance:  Make time for yourself to re-energize. Our children are learning not just from what we say but so much from watching us. Striving to lead a balanced life, which includes time for ourselves really matters.  When our own tanks are full, we can handle the ups and downs of parenting much better.
Choose Love: Things will get messy, loud, sticky, complicated and stressful.Choose love and building a relationship over proving you have power. Children learn so much when given a chance to fix their own mistakes. Choose love and over the years your child will feel capable and remember “my parents loved me so” and not  ”my parents always told me so”.
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Children’s Key Skills on Play and Learn

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Children’s Key Skills on Play and Learn

1. Creating Time Try to plan ahead. Identify 10-15 minutes per day when you can play with the least interruptions. Turn the television off and involve brothers and sisters.

2. Involving Your Child Ask your child what they enjoy playing. Let them choose what they want to play. You would be surprised how many parents automatically decide how, what and when they are going to play. Children learn best and enjoy play more when they decide how they want to play and at what pace. Importantly their concentration, enjoyment levels and good behavior increases as a consequence! Hence there are strong “pay-offs” for both the child and parent.

3. Getting Down To Your Child’s Level Preparing for play is important. Make sure you are close to your child, have eye contact and show that you are interested e.g. if your child is playing on the floor, sit on the floor with them.

4. Describing What You See Let your child pick a play activity and as your child is playing just concentrate on describing what you see in a very positive tone of voice e.g. “you have picked up the red brick and are placing it on the blue brick”. This skill will need a lot of practice as you will inevitably want to direct the play by saying such things as “I know lets put this brick on top of this other brick”. Avoid asking questions and copy your child’s play.

5. Praising What You See When you feel totally comfortable with describing what you see, try to begin to use descriptive praise i.e. “what a good girl for putting that red brick on the blue brick”. Be close when you praise, smile, get eye contact, use touches, hugs and strokes. Be sincere and genuine and praise as soon as possible after the good behaviour in order to encourage them to repeat it. Your child needs to know that you are pleased in order for them to learn self-confidence and to explore further. They are learning to be co-operative rather than to be defiant.

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Why you need a home library at home?

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Home library size has a very substantial effect on educational attainment, even adjusting for parents’ education, father’s occupational status and other family background characteristics,” reports the study, recently published in the journal Research in Social Stratification and Mobility. “Growing up in a home with 500 books would propel a child 3.2 years further in education, on average, than would growing up in a similar home with few or no books.

“This is a large effect, both absolutely and in comparison with other influences on education,” adds the research team, led by University of Nevada sociologist M.D.R. Evans. “A child from a family rich in books is 19 percentage points more likely to complete university than a comparable child growing up without a home library.”

This effect holds true regardless of a nation’s wealth, culture or political system, but its intensity varies from country to country. In China, a child whose parents own 500 books will average 6.6 more years of education than a comparable child from a bookless home. In the U.S., the figure is 2.4 years — which is still highly significant when you consider it’s the difference between two years of college and a full four-year degree.

The researchers used data from the World Inequality Study, which pooled information from a series of representative national samples. In most nations, survey participants (a total of more than 73,000 people) were asked to estimate the number of books in their parents’ home when they were 14 years old. The scholars compared that figure with other factors influencing educational achievement, including the education levels of one’s parents.

“Regardless of how many books the family already has, each addition to a home library helps the children get a little farther in school,” they report. “But the gains are not equally great across the entire range. Having books in the home has a greater impact on children from the least-educated families. It is at the bottom, where books are rare, that each additional book matters most.”

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Complete Educational Program (A+) review from PeiPei.HaoHao

For busy parents, sometimes it can be quite challenging to source for suitable learning resources for their children. Recently, I was introduced to the Complete Educational Program from LearningTech, which is a holistic program for children from preschool to primary school.

One interesting feature of the program is Eltee Pen, which is an audio learning device. By tapping the icons, it would “speak” or “sing”! The children were amazed by it!

There are 3 components: Awareness – Time to Learn, Ability – A Time for Math, Attitude – Lifetime Values.

Awareness – Time to Learn

This is a set of encyclopedia with 3 sections, Living World, Explore, as well as Science & Technology. A question is used as a stimulus to trigger the curiosity in the children. In addition to the text, Eltee Pen has extra information, songs and sound effects. There are also suggested investigative activities for the children to carry out hands-on experimentation. This provides an all-rounded learning experience – visual, audio and kinesthetic.

In addition, the Children’s Atlas enhances their knowledge in Geography and different cultures. A tap of Eltee Pen on the icon would play the national anthem of the country, so interesting! The children learn new vocabulary using Children’s Dictionary. Not too worry if you are not sure how to pronounce certain words, as Eltee Pen would do a great job!

Ability – A Time for Math
Through this multimedia program, the children build a strong foundation in Mathematics in a fun way. The program cover Numbers & Counting, Measurement, Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication and Division. The concepts are introduced through stories, games and songs using story books, activity books, Eltee Pen and CD-ROMs.
I read the story books with the children, and ask them questions from the books, then they use Eltee Pen to check whether their answers are correct.
My children are particularly interested in playing the board games and the card game, which strength their addition and subtraction concepts.
Attitude – Lifetime Values

It is not meaningful to be the most knowledgeable person who does not have good character. One way to introduce positive values to the children is through storytelling. Through reading with the children or using Eltee Pen, the children learn about moral values like honesty, caring, and sharing. The colourful illustrations are attractive, and the children are engaged through the dramatisation and music from Eltee Pen.

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