Importance of Reading

Reading is important, because if you can read, you can learn anything about everything and everything about anything
— Tomie dePaola

Without a doubt, the most important skill every child needs to master is the art of reading. Parents are always asking how they can help their child especially since schools often change the method they use to teach reading such as phonics, whole language, language method, etc.

The best role parents can play is to read to and with your child. It does not matter what you read so long as it is age appropriate. Libraries, schools, book stores, community centers and a wealth of other places have an abundance of books for your child to read.

Do you knowyour child’s reading level? It is important for parents to know if their child is reading on grade level. Some students will need additional support to reach grade-level, but parents cannot help without knowing their child’s performance level.

What should you read with your child? Everything. If you check out the following link http://www.allyoucanread.com/top-10-kids-magazines/ you will find a myriad of magazines for young children including Highlights, National Geographic and Ranger Rick. Your child will embrace your love of reading especially when started at an early age.

As your child begins to read stories, you can begin to stimulate curiosity, increase his/her vocabulary, reading comprehension, and literacy. Ask your child probing questions such as who, what, when, how, etc. This will help you to know if your child is understanding what he/she is reading.

This site will share a wealth of information which will help you to support your child as he/she reaches his/her academic goals. Many schools are using the Common Core and the following site explains what is expected of your child at each grade level with regard to reading.


The National Council of Teachers of English also provides a list of standards for reading. The link is http://www.ncte.org/standards/assessmentstandards.

Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.
— Fredrick Douglas

Get Ahead with Coding 

More and more school districts are trying to incorporate coding into the school curriculum. What is coding? Why is it beneficial to students? Coding is the new term used to describe computer programming. While many high schools teach various programming languages including C++, more schools are looking at how they could teach these valuable skills to students at a younger age.

Nick Morrison writes in his article Teach Kids How To Code And Give Them A Skill For Life in Forbes magazine (Dec. 2013) that “Technology has transformed education but while students learn how to use it, they rarely learn how it works. Now a growing realization among educators that this gap needs to be filled is prompting a new revolution, in the belief that teaching children how to code will give them a skill for life. From September, England will be the first country in the world to make computer programming a compulsory school subject at all levels.”

Coding requires students to think logically, solve problems, think out of the box and imagine “what if.” Teach Your Kids to Code is a very user-friendly book which students and parents could use to explore the world of coding.

From writing coding that outputs quotes to designing spirals in square and circular formats, students are quickly introduce to the exciting world of writing their own programs. Bryson Payne uses a free downloadable software entitled Python.

Mr. Payne inspires his readers to expand their knowledge by accessing other program files available at http://www.nostarch.com/teachkids.

If you are looking for a way to help students (or your own children) to expand their horizon and reach their full potential then this is a book you should check out.  

Importance of time management skills

The importance of time management skills should not to be overestimated. Read through our free downloadable document about this important skill, including our advice about creating a homework/ assignment contract with your student. 

Mastering basic math

Here are some basic math skills to help students with problem solving strategies.   


Transitioning to ninth grade

Learn how to help your student reduce apprehension during their transition to 9th grade with these helpful tips. 

Using "your planner"

In 2000 a student came to my office expressing her frustration transitioning to high school. In particular, she had found herself handing assignments in late and forgetting when projects were due. She  devised a unique approach to using her school planner to help her resolve these issues. To understand the system, please print a copy of the planner and follow along:

Step 1. Every weekend your child should write in his classes for the following week. This helps to set the stage when his/her teacher begins to dictate the homework assignment.

Step 2. If your child does not have homework on any given day, he should write no homework (easily abbreviated by NH)

Step 3. The rest of the days, he/she will write down the assignment due the next day

Step 4. When your child is told he/she will have a quiz say on Friday (see Algebra on Monday), he/she should write study for quiz the day before (i.e. Thursday) and then took quiz day of quiz (i.e. Friday). 

  • You will see a box next to study for quiz on Thursday. Your child puts an X in the box after he/she studies.
  • You will see a box next to take quiz on Friday. Your child puts an X in the box after he/she takes it. 

Step 5. If your child is given a project as is the case in Earth Systems on Tuesday. He/she should immediately go to the date the project is due (i.e. Dec 21 and write hand in science project). He/she should also setup a list of mini target dates to complete the project. Please note that suggestion is written for the end of the week to do list.

Mini project timeline could include:  supplies needed, research needed to be completed, possible meetings with classmates if it is a group project, etc.

Your child should:

  • Have the email or phone number of a classmate in each class in case he/she loses his planner
  • If his/her teacher has a website, please make sure he/she has the link written in the planner

Understanding your student's GPA

Do you know how your student's GPA is calculated? Do you understand how weighted and non-weighted courses affect your student's GPA? This document addresses both of these topics. 


Want to know the difference between the two standardized tests? Wondering which test your student should take? Our handy guide helps break down the differences between the SAT and the ACT.