English Language Arts
Go to Reading Is Fundamental at https://www.rif.org/literacy-central/parents for suggested books, activity sheets, puzzles, and tips for caregivers.
The S.C. State Library and many of our county public libraries provide access to TumbleBooks, online books that your child can read or the computer will read the book with him: https://www.tumblebooklibrary.com/home.aspx
For a day-by-day calendar of suggested activities and books, go to www.daybydaysc.org. The calendar is available online for free or a printed copy can be ordered from the S.C. State Library for a fee.
The county’s public library is a great source of information (in person or online). Check the catalog for “phonics” and” “alphabet books” under the “subject search.” The list includes books to help parents teach; as well as DVDs and videos for helping children to learn. Some county libraries have a button on their home page called “children’s resources,” which directly links to appropriate suggestions.
Read to and with your child. Ask questions about the pictures; ask her to develop a new ending for the story. Have her make up a different story about one of the characters. Let your child know how much you enjoy reading.
Go to the public library and let him select books from the beginning readers’ section. If you are unsure of the reading level, ask the librarian. Help him recognize letters, sound out words, and find a word with a similar sound from within the story.
Using large cutout letters or letters from an alphabet puzzle, spread the letters on the floor. Have your child find the letter that begins with words you call out (use animals, types of vehicles, foods, and action words, for example). Then use the letters to make one syllable words.
Ask your child to “write” stories and retell experiences about things that happened in school and outside of school. Let her use words, drawings, and verbal explanations in her “writing.” Go over the stories with her and praise her for completing each task.
In the store, riding in the car, or while watching TV, use things, activities and printed words to enlarge your child’s vocabulary. When reading to your child, don’t worry about the reading level of the book. Just pick a book with a subject he might like and try it. This is a great way to introduce new words. If the book is boring or too hard, move on, no harm done.
Let your child read her favorite books over and over again to you and family members. This practice helps in gaining confidence, word recognition, and improves reading aloud.
Play word games with your child. Substitute letters in words (ex. sat, cat, hat, bat, ball, call). As the year progresses, increase the difficulty of the words and the number of letters substituted.
When your child makes a mistake in reading, ask him questions to guide him and help him gain skill with self-correction. Does the word make sense in the sentence? What clues might the picture give to help figure out the word? However, if the word he puts in place of the correct one does not change the meaning, let the error go; it shows he is reading for meaning. Correct it next time.
Have your child describe the main character in a book. Ask your child to retell the story in her own words. Have her summarize the story. What character did she like the best? Why?
Visit the library frequently and let your child pick out books to read. If some of the books are too difficult, but the subject is of interest to your child, read it together and let him pick out the words he knows.
Read, read, and read some more with and to your child. Let him summarize the story for you. Have him tell you his favorite character and why. Develop a new ending for the story.
Make “flash” cards out of the letters in your child’s name and those of other family members or her playmates. Challenge her to make as many words as she can out of her own name and then out of all the letters on the cards.
Have your child make a “wanted” poster for a character in a favorite story. Have him draw the character’s picture and then write the “villain’s” name, description, and crimes committed. Talk about the different descriptive words that could be used.
Help your child to identify if what she is reading is fact or a made up story. Discuss why. Look in the children’s section of your library for words like fiction, non-fiction, biography, history, and geography. Talk about the meaning of each word.
Look at the pictures in his books and ask him to create a story based on them and write captions to describe what is happening.
To get a fun game to help your child with spelling, try http://mrnussbaum.com/spellingcentral/. This site also has games for improving reading.
This site has different games with difficulty settings to help with letter sounds, syllable recognition, vocabulary and more: http://www.earobics.com/gamegoo/gooey.html.
For spelling and word relationships games, try http://www.4kids.org/games/.
Continue to read to and with your child. As she reads along, encourage her. Be flexible with the time and place for reading – any time is a good time to read! Give her time to figure out a word or to pronounce it correctly. If the word isn’t coming, help her out so she doesn’t get discouraged. Always cheer her on!
Talk with your child about his book. Ask questions to make sure he understands what he is reading. Who are the characters? Where are they? What would you do if you were they? Have him predict what will happen. Discuss how the illustrations help with the story.
Choose an illustration from a book and have your child invent a story from it. Have her write her story and tell you what clues she used from the illustration to develop her tale.
Play “story rewrite” by replacing words in a book with terms that make the plot more exciting.
Play other word games to expand your child’s vocabulary, such as “opposites” (rainy/clear, mean/kind) and “similars” (walk/stride, big/huge).
Take a magazine or newspaper article and have your child circle all the verbs or all the nouns he finds.
Have your child write a description of a recent trip out-of-town, to the store, or to the library. Work with her to edit the work.
Take your child to the library and get him a library card of his own. There are books, magazines, and CDs to interest him in reading and help develop good grammar usage.
This site provides computer games to help with subject noun agreement, parts of speech, spelling, adverbs and adjectives, and more: http://www.abcya.com/third_grade_computers.htm.
For worksheets on spelling and language arts try http://www.tlsbooks.com/thirdgradeworksheets.htm.
Have your child make a book for a friend or a family member. She can write the story, illustrate it, and decorate it with beads and stickers.
Create a comic book/graphic book on his favorite topic. The book can be a story, a how-to, or a poem.
Take a familiar tale, such as Three Little Pigs, and have your child write the story as if she were a reporter. Remind her to answer the basic questions of who, what, when, where, why, and how.
Tap into all aspects of fourth grade grammar with fun games at http://www.vocabulary.co.il/?s=grade+4.
For fun and challenging free games in English language arts, go to http://mrnussbaum.com/fourth-gradelanguage-arts/. Some of this site’s games can be downloaded onto a tablet for use.
Ideas for helping with literary analysis, vocabulary, or handwriting skills, and more are available at http://www.education.com/activity/fourth-grade/. You have to sign up, but the activities are free.
Watch the evening news with your child and write down the verbs and adverbs used in the broadcast. Watch for mistakes (“The boy was bit [bitten] by a shark.” “The plan went smooth [smoothly].”) Create a new broadcast substituting verbs and making the action more exciting by using adverbs.
Getting the order of events correct is important in writing – and in science and math. Have your child write down instructions for making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or whatever the favorite is. As the instructions are read out, follow them precisely. Were they detailed enough? Let your child see if some directions were omitted or out of order. Explain how this is important in studying, writing, and learning. Try again with an activity such as dressing for school.
Middle School & High School
Encourage your student to read, read, read, whatever – comic books, magazines, graphic novels, or mystery series. If your student is a reluctant reader, make an extra effort to find articles and magazines about a hobby or interest.
Continue to show your own interest in reading. Students this age still take cues from adults (even though they would never admit it!).
Check out two copies of the same book with your student. Set aside a time for reading and discussing the book. Discuss what you have been reading as you go about the day’s activities.
A good reference site for the writing process, mechanics, grammar, and punctuation (also a useful review for parents): https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/section/1/. The site is primarily aimed towards college students, but high school students and parents can from its clear explanations.
Check out http://www.readwritethink.org/parent-afterschool-resources/ for a variety of games and help with resumes, starting a blog, writing service announcements and setting up a wiki.
Start research at the Free Library, an online source for documents, periodicals, and books: http://www.thefreelibrary.com/.