Tuesday, October 18, 2016

7 Tips for Parents to Help Struggling Readers

For parents, helping a struggling reader can be difficult. Remember that estimates of reading levels are not always accurate, so try this simple test at home: If your child can read 95% of the words in a selected paragraph within a minute, they’re doing well. If they struggle, use the infographic below and these 7 tips to help struggling readers succeed:
  1. Reading success is based on 5 factors: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. Learn more about each factor to gain a better understanding of where exactly your child may be struggling.
  2. Encourage kids to read anything—even if it isn’t a book. Magazines, comics or websites can engage children, and shows them that computers and iPads aren’t just for games.
  3. Know your options as a parent. Ask the teacher for work that is at the student’s developmental level if homework is consistently too hard.
  4. Within reason, never say no to your young reader. If your child is excited about reading about dinosaurs, for example, don’t push him or her to read something else.
  5. Motivate by making connections to real-world outcomes so children realize reading is more than just a grade. For example, writing a letter to their favorite singer, or to grandma, allows young readers to find meaning in what they are doing.
  6. Focus on what your child CAN do. Build on his/her strengths. For example, fold spelling into another activity that your child enjoys to build a sense of competence.
  7. Keep it positive. If your child becomes upset or starts crying, reading will seem like a punishment and that time will not be productive. Rather than being intense, keep the mood light and upbeat and keep your eyes on the goal of enjoying reading.

To read the original article: http://cehdvision2020.umn.edu/cehd-blog/tips-to-help-struggling-readers/

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Making Vocabulary Personal

Work with words relevant to students' lives to help them build vocabulary. The more relevant new words are to students' lives, the more likely they are to take hold.

A great assignment that will keep your child interested while helping you learn more about them is the "Personal Alphabet Adjectives."  For each letter of the alphabet, the students find an appropriately descriptive word for themselves. Students elaborate on the word by writing sentences and creating an illustration. In the process, they make extensive use of the dictionary and thesaurus.

For the letter "H", my daughter describes her personality as sometimes "Hasty", illustrating the word with a sloppy drawing of herself wearing a mismatched outfit with messy hair. Her caption explains that she is "hasty" getting ready to go to school.

Try to make reading and writing personal, fun and expressive. Education doesn't have to be a chore, if you are willing to be creative. Think of it as an opportunity to turn a chore into a fun experience that the kids will remember.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

How to write a Personal Narrative Essay for 4th - 6th grade

Do you need help teaching your child how to write a personal narrative essay? Here is a short video that explains an easy way to organize and write a personal narrative essay. The story and worksheets come from the curriculum used at Arden Reading Academy, Step Up to Writing.

A personal narrative combines a report with a story. It will have an introduction and a conclusion. The body of the paper would be a story about an event or experience in your life or someone else's life

How to organize a personal narrative essay

Personal Narrative Essay Organizer

Getting Started

Step 1: Choose a personal story to tell.

Step 2: Choose a title.

Step 3: Use a graphic organizer to organize your thoughts into a beginning, a middle and in end.

Personal Narrative Essay Graphic Organizer

Step 4: Write the introduction.
You need to let the readers know what you plan to explain in a fun and creative way that grabs the reader's attention.

Step 5: Write the story.
Use your graphic organizer to write a personal narrative about something that has happened to you. Describe what happened in detail and explain how you felt and acted.

Step 6: Write the conclusion.

You need to remind the readers about your topic and message.  This is the last thing your readers will read, so make sure it leaves a lasting impression about the lesson you learned!

Sample Personal Narrative Essay

Personal Narrative Essay Sample

Personal Narrative Essay Writing Classes

Rancho Santa Margarita, CA

Narrative Essay Writing for Kid's 4th-6th Grades

This course is intended for elementary students who  have mastered the ability to plan and construct a narrative and expository essay with limited instruction.  The class motivates young writers by engaging them through the writing process as they answer specific writing prompts.

Class Times:
Tuesday 2:30 PM 
Wednesday 3:00 PM
Thursday 4:00 PM

Class Size:
 4-6 Students

Class Fee: $70.00


Homeschool Essay Writing for Kids 3rd-6th Grades

This course is for homeschooled students needing direction in the writing process.  Students will learn how to write a proper response to literature, personal narrative, narrative fiction, and expository essay.  They are taken step-by-step through the steps of the writing process (pre-writing, planning, drafting, editing, rewriting, revising) while working on the inclusion of proper syntax, grammar, organization, sequencing, word choice, dialogue, creative introductions, and strong conclusions.

Class Times:
Tuesday 9:30 AM

Wednesday 9:00 AM
Friday 10:30 AM

Class Size: 4-6 Students
Class Fee: $70.00

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Preparing for the Fourth Grade Writing Test

Each year students prepare for the California STAR Writing Test in early March. Students will need to be prepared to successfully write one of the three standards for writing: Narrative Writing, Summary Writing and Response to Literature. The student will not know the prompt until they open their test book.

The students writing is scored based on a standard “Rubric” (a standard of performance) of 1 - 4 points. Students must score a minimum of 2 points to pass the test. Every year parents seek out additional resources to help prepare their child for the test. In order to better how to pass the writing test with the highest possible score, parents should better understand what the standard is for scoring 4 out of 4 points on the “Rubric”

California Fourth Grade Writing Test Rubric Score of 4/4

  • Clearly addresses all parts of the writing task. 
  • Demonstrates a clear understanding of purpose. 
  • Maintains a consistent point of view, focus, and organizational 
  • Structure includes paragraphing when appropriate. 
  • Includes a clearly presented central idea with relevant facts, details, and/or explanations. 
  • Includes a variety of sentence types. 
  • Contains few, if any, errors in the conventions of the English language (grammar, punctuation, capitalization, and spelling). These errors do not interfere with the reader's understanding of the writing. 

California Narrative Writing Test Rubric Score of 4/4

  • Provides a thoroughly developed sequence of significant events to relate ideas, observations, and/or memories. 
  • Includes vivid descriptive language and sensory details that enable the reader to visualize the events or experiences. 

If you feel that your child needs additional help to preparing for the writing test, seek out a credentialed teacher who specializes in writing and is familiar with the California Fourth Grade Writing Test and Rubric.

Writing Workshops & Writing Classes
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

How to Write the Perfect Paragraph

A fun video to help your child learn how to write the perfect paragraph. An elementary school student at Arden Reading Academy shows you how she can write the perfect paragraph. She learned how to write the perfect paragraph at a Summer Writing Camp in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA. Register Today: http://www.ardenreading.com

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

How to Choose the Right Reading Book

The 5 Finger Reading Test 

The 5 Finger Test is a great way to choose an appropriate level book for your child to read. The test provides you and your child a quick and easy method to evaluate the difficulty of a book. It is a quick test you can easily use in the library or book store before you make a selection or purchase.  
Here are the steps that you and your child can use to select a book: 
Open up the book to any page that you or your child wishes to read. Have your child begin reading aloud. As your child reads, count the number of words your child does not know or has a problem reading with your fingers. Now use the number of fingers to help you determine if this is a suitable book for your child to read on their own.  
0 -1 Fingers = This book is easy for your child to read. 
2 - 3 Fingers = Perfect choice - this book is just right for your child. 
4 Fingers = A little difficult yet can be fun for your child to try. You might want to assist your child when they read this book. 
5 or more Fingers = Challenging to read. An adult should read this book along with your child. 
It is terrific to see your child reading every word of a book. Nonetheless, you need to still continue to challenge your child along with books that they aren't able to 'breeze' through. 
Typically, if your child has a hard time with 5-6 words on one page, it is probably most ideal to leave that book for a later date or spend the time to read the book with them. If they are regularly getting 'stuck' on unknown or difficult words, they may get frustrated and discouraged.\ 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

New Writing Classes

Learning how to write well is all about practicing the art of writing.  Just as a pianist will not achieve musical success without practicing the piano, a writer will not achieve writing success without practicing writing.  The more a student is exposed to structured writing lessons, the more the student will improve in their writing process. To help give students multiple opportunities to practice their writing, we have several different Writing Workshops available:

Mondays 8:00-9:00am (homeschoolers)
Mondays 3:30-4:30pm
Tuesdays 2:00-3:00pm
Wednesdays 10:00-11:00am (homeschoolers)
Wednesdays 4:00-5:00pm
Saturdays 12:00-1:00pm

These workshops are structured for the student who can already form a paragraph and is ready to work on writing multi-paragraph essays, stories, and summaries.  Lessons will rotate, so students can enter the workshop at any time.  Writing Workshops will focus on the construction of the following:

*Planning, Drafting, Editing, and Revising for Expository Essays 
*Planning, Drafting, Editing, and Revising for Narratives
*Planning, Drafting, Editing, and Revising for Responses to Literature
*Planning, Drafting, Editing, and Revising for Summaries

Writing Workshops are $70 per month... spaces fill quickly... maximum of 6 students per class.

Come check out the fun!!!