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Support Academic Growth at Home

Posted June 15, 2021 in Articles

Support Academic Growth at Home

Author: Cheryl Cook, M.S. - Upper School Academic Dean

Parents often wonder how to support academic growth during the long stretch of summer break. Here are some resources I recommend for practice at home. We've also prepared a printable PDF (click the green button below).

Listen & Look: We highly recommend using a digital reading tool such as Learning Ally with the screen reader turned on. The screen reader will highlight the words as it reads them. Listening to and looking at the text is proven to help both phonemic awareness and fluency. Learning Ally is a paid resource with more than 80,000 audio books. They are currently offering discounted family access. Reading with your child and pointing to each word as you read is an alternative.

Reading Comprehension: Ask your child what they read about! It’s a great way to support comprehension. And, if you have time to read together—please do! This allows you the opportunity to identify any challenging vocabulary and to pause the book to check for comprehension. When asking students about a paragraph, page, or chapter they just read, use the words: “what do you picture?” This strategy, from the Visualizing and Verbalizing program, helps them to translate what they are reading into a ‘movie’ in their mind’s eye.

Fluency Practice: Reading a passage 3–4 times aloud is proven to support fluency over time and provides a structured way to practice reading. Teen-friendly websites, magazine articles, and poems are all great options for repeating reading.

Tween Tribune (middle school) or Teen Tribune (high school) are websites full of interesting articles. These resources allow you to change the lexile level of the text and provide the option to add comprehension questions at the end. Other options include: Readworks and ReadTheory

Keyboarding: Typing is a life skill students can master through practice. Fluent typists get their ideas out quickly and generally produce stronger writing. Typing Club and are simple and efficient programs for strengthening this ability.

Journaling: There is great power in journaling feelings, emotions, or simply an account of what happened throughout the day. At Lawrence, we use a process called POWER UP to take students through the writing process.We recommend working through POWER UP or a similar writing process while creating the digital journal.

Vocabulary and Grammar Practice: Study Island offers a number of practice questions in vocabulary and grammar. These two areas directly support overall writing skills. Usually a paid service, Study Island is currently offering a free one-year family membership.

Instructional Review:
Project Stair is a great resource for instructional review of integers, fractions, coordinate planes, and equations. We recommend spending time reviewing some of these foundational concepts taught using methodology that aligns with a multi-sensory math approach.

Fluency Practice: Hit the Button is often used in our math classrooms as a warm-up. It is a great tool for 10–15 minute (or longer) practice sessions.

Interactive Simulations: PhET Interactive Simulations, produced by the University of Colorado at Boulder, are both fun and educational. They are a great way to review concepts and applications of math through visual, real-life examples.

Applications Practice: Through Khan Academy or Study Island, students can watch instructional videos and answer practice questions.

Download interventions.pdf

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