Frequently Asked Questions
THIS IS A GREAT PLACE FOR COMMON QUESTIONS TO BE ANSWERED!
Do you have any general questions about Reading or Math practices in helping your child? Check the following list to see if Ms. Washington can answer any of your questions:)
My child struggles reading at a good pace. What can I do to help my child speed up or slow down his/her reading?
Ms. Washington's advice: Normally when a child reads slowly, he or she may be struggling to pronounce or break down a word. To help your child speed up and read a steady pace, break the reading down into parts. In each part, conduct a running record. What's a running record? It is when you are checking the words your child reads correctly and highlighting the areas where they may struggle. By doing this, you can identify the word that is holding your child back from reading fluently. Practice the word with your child and its correct pronunciation and then re-read the sentence practicing with the vocabulary.Do this for every sentence and KEEP re-reading each section until your child is reading at a steady pace without any mistakes. It doesn't stop there. Practice this same reading section each day of the week. Your child is only going to improve by practicing the content every day. When this consistently happens, your child might even say: " I know this already!" and read with little or no mistakes at all. Your plan worked!
My child struggles with reading with expression ( such as reading in the "character's voice". What are some helpful ways to push expression?
Ms. Washington's advice: When scholars read with little or no expression, it's primarily because he/she are not connecting to the character's feelings or words. A strong technique you can do is ask you child, "How does the character feel when he/she says_________" Now that we know how the character feels which is _________, how would they sound saying these words since they feel ____________. By doing this, you are strengthening two skills in your child's reading skills: identifying character's feelings and reading with prosody (expression). Your plan worked!
When reading aloud, my child struggles with pronouncing words.What can I do to help my child read more smoothly?
Ms. Washington's advice: Pronunciation is one of the most critical skills scholars struggle with when reading aloud. Because of mispronunciation, scholars comprehension becomes more of a challenge. When you think about, if you cannot pronounce a word, most likely you cannot identify its meaning, and ultimately you cannot connect the word to the overall text. This all means that because of this gap, you may not even understand the text which will highly limit you in going any further especially into comprehension understanding and questions. So what can do to help with this important skill. PRACTICE VOCABULARY! This can look like writing down the "struggle words" on flashcards and practicing their pronunciation and meaning. This could also look like chunking the word which means to only show part of the word to your child to break down at a time. (Ex. the word: Perform- cover "form" and only show" per" and then reveal "form" and allow your child to say it altogether. Another way this can look is the "I say, you say" technique. You say the word "perform" and then ask your child to repeat it. All of these techniques can be used to help with pronunciation and ultimately your child's reading skill level. Your plan worked!
What happens when I want to help my child with reading comprehension questions without giving him/her the answer, but I don't know how?
Ms. Washington's advice: Comprehension is a conceptual skill. It is more of a thought process rather than a procedural step-by-step process. There are three main types of comprehension questions:
1. Factual Questions- These are questions whose answers can be found directly from the text
2. Inferential Questions-These questions require your child to make inferences. What is an inference? It is when you use two things: 1. Clues from the text + 2. Prior Knowledge (what I already know about the topic)= Making an inference. When making an inference, the text will never directly state the answer.( That would be a factual question and not an inference). Here's an example: Two men wearing masks came running out of a bank with large bags. The bank's alarm was going off and all of the people were running away screaming. What can one infer of what was happening? We all would say, that the bank was most likely getting robbed. Well, how did we make that inference? 1. Clues from the text says: alarm was going off, two men wore masks, and people were running. 2. Prior Knowledge: Well I already know that when people wear masks, they don't want to be identified and I also know that when an alarm is going off, something must be wrong. I also know what banks have, which is money. So when the men came outside of the bank with two large bags, oh! It must be a robbery since they were wearing masks, had two large bags (money), and people were running away panicking. Yes, you just made an inference!
3. Critical- Thinking Questions- In order to be successful in critical-thinking question, your scholar must strong in making inferences because it is the pre-requisite to critical-thinking. In short, critical thinking is making inferences along with evaluation and problem-solving.It involves deeper thinking and causes the reader to think rationally and logically. It analyzes the 5Ws: Who, What, When, Where, and Why? Let's use our same example. A critical thinking question may sound like: Who were the two men? Why was the alarm going off? What was happening? When was this occurring? Where did this take place? By answering these questions, scholars have the bigger picture and are ready to think more critically about the subject at hand. Why do you think the men were robbing the bank in the first place? How would you describe the two men? Because of analyzing the situation more in depth, your scholar can set him/or herself up for success in thinking critically. Your plan worked!
Ms. Washington, what's this "new" Math?
Yes! This not the math we learned when we were in school! You are not crazy. This "new" Math has become much more conceptual than procedural. Back in the day, all you had to do was know the basics and follow the steps. You may have had to carry the one and borrow but that was about it. Well that is similarly true now, but there is much more than steps now. The "new" Math is more conceptual-based where scholars must understand the foundational applications of numbers and the meanings behind them. Please go to Services section to view online tutorials! Your plan worked!
How can I help my child with his/her multiplication practice?
Multiplication is all about PRACTICE. The more practice, the more memory, which is the more learning. One thing about multiplication facts is that they will not ever change! The more exposure and drill practice your child endures, the stronger their recall in factors and products. Ways that you can practice with your child at home are: 1. Write them out on flashcards. By doing this, you can control which multiplication set your child needs to directly focus on. 2. Make practice fun. Scholars love competitive games. Challenge your child by giving him/her time sprints (answer your 6xs in 2 minutes or track time) or creating a fun and friendly competition between other siblings with their times tables. 3. Another way is to roll two dice and multiply the two numbers together. Although these are just a few easy, fun, and helpful techniques, your scholar will evolve over time with much progress and confidence with their multiplication facts. Your plan worked!
What are some ways to help my child with word problems. Sometimes those are tricky!
Word problems can certainly be tricky or quite vague. One thing that is tricky is that you must convert the words into NUMBERS. Most schools follow this technique: READ, DRAW, WRITE. During the READ section, scholars must first understand the scenario or problem at hand. This means scholars must read and annotate (highlight or underline) important parts such as: number words, math directions (multiply, divide, add, or subtract), and number of groups. The next step is DRAW where scholars draw a picture of what the scholar just read. This is where the words as numbers and all of the key details are put into a visual which has been proven to truly help scholars see the big picture. These pictures can be in the form of math organizers such as number bonds, t-charts, and/or tape diagrams. The final step is WRITE where scholars actually create some form of a number sentence or equation. This is the final and clear answer after the Read and Draw steps. It may look like this: 6+2=18 or the number of total basketball is 16. The READ, DRAW, WRITE technique is a common yet useful technique that connects scholars to procedurally but ultimately conceptually understand the word problem at hand. Your plan worked!