Parent Support Tips

from our families to yours

If you’re a teacher, you’re probably being asked and if you’re a parent, you’re probably wondering: “How can I support my children at home?” Each week, we’ll be posting a new tip for parents along with a video demo that we encourage you to share!

Parent Questions of the Week

What is an easy routine to help my child comprehend technical and/or challenging texts?

How do you help your child move through and comprehend a challenging text? Get the Gist is a simple routine you can use to help your child become independent in gaining meaning from a challenging text.  It works as follows:

  1. Start with one paragraph or section
  2. Read it together
  3. Identify who or what the text was mainly about
  4. Identify the most important thing about the who or the what
  5. State the most important thing about the who or what in 10 words or less
  6. Repeat for each paragraph or section

Always:

  • Start small with 1 paragraph or section at a time
  • Follow each step in sequence
  • Give corrective feedback
  • Re-read text to confirm or revise

Avoid:

  • Rushing through the process
  • Using a text excerpt that is too long

 

 

Tips & Demonstration Videos

Click the image to play the video

TIPS: Overview of Get the Gist

DEMO: Get the Gist with Hallel

About the Family

Shira is a parent of three, a certified reading teacher and Director of Product Development at the HILL. Hallel is 8 and an experienced reader. Since the school buildings closed, Hallel has been reading, doing creative projects, and video conferencing with teachers and friends. Both Shira and Hallel are relieved that the school year is over, and look forward to a summer of reading, creative projects, and family time.

How do I support comprehension when reading together with my child?

Supporting reading comprehension is best done when you and your child are reading a book together. You may find this shared experience results in delight as you and your child are experiencing text together. This may be done anywhere you and your child are sharing space. This could happen on a long car trip, while you are preparing dinner, or while the two of you are reading together before bed, for example.

Always:

  • Talk about your thinking
  • Model, model, model
  • Make predictions
  • Pay attention

Avoid:

  • Staying silent
  • Checking your phone

 

 

Tips & Demonstration Videos

Click the image to play the video

TIPS: Overview of Think-Alouds

DEMO: Think Aloud with Estella

About the Family

Eleni is a mom of two, a speech-language pathologist and Director of Training at HILL for Literacy. Estella is a preteen who is highly cooperative about being in a literacy demonstration video. Together, they are a dynamic duo, happy to share their practices with other families!

How do I help my child build their vocabulary?

Building vocabulary can be a lot of fun if it has the look and feel of a natural conversation. There are countless opportunities to help our children build their vocabularies daily. We need to take advantage of these times as they arise.

Always:

  • Start with a simple word; a word with multiple meanings is fun!
  • Ask Who, What, When, Where, Why, How questions to draw out thinking
  • Use a white board or paper to organize thinking
  • Explain or discuss anything that needs clarifying

Avoid:

  • Using dictionary definitions
  • Over-structuring the conversation

Resource:

 

 

Tips & Demonstration Videos

Click the image to play the video

TIPS: Overview Building Vocabulary through Word Play

About the Family

Eleni is a mom of two, a speech-language pathologist and Director of Training at HILL for Literacy. Estella is a preteen who is highly cooperative about being in a literacy demonstration video. Together, they are a dynamic duo, happy to share their practices with other families!

When my child asks me how to spell a word, how can I support them to do this independently?

Spelling, or encoding, is not about memorization of the order of letters in a word. However, “sounding it out,” may not always work either. English words can be tricky to spell, because some sounds are represented by multiple spelling patterns, and it may not be clear which one to use. If you emphasize the sounds, and how each sound is represented in letter(s) you will help your child cultivate their spelling skills.

Always:

  • Repeat the word
  • Say sounds in order
  • Use grid paper (1 box/sound) as needed
  • “Sound it out”– sort of
  • Perfect may not be the end goal

Avoid:

  • Spelling list memorization
  • An all or nothing approach
  • Guessing

Resource:

 

 

Tips & Demonstration Videos

Click the image to play the video

DEMO #1: Simple Words with Ya’ara

DEMO #2: Complex Words with Mason

About the Families

Shira is a parent of three, a certified reading teacher, and Director of Product Development at the HILL. She and Ya’ara, 6, are working day-to-day; with some days better than others.

Cara is a mom of two and a Facilitator at HILL for Literacy. Mason is in 2nd grade and is full of hugs for his mom, who is busily educating both of her children in critical reading, spelling, and math skills, when not delivering training content virtually to teachers throughout the northeast.

When my child reads aloud to me, they read the words perfectly, but they sound like a robot. How can I get them to pay attention to the meaning of what they read?

Your reader may be blowing through punctuation marks, reading too fast, and not paying attention to the meaning of the words. Here is one strategy to help your child slow it down:

Always:

  • Choose accuracy first
  • Model phrasing
  • Keep it playful
  • Use supports as needed– scoops/pencil/finger

Avoid:

  • Using text that child cannot read accurately
  • Anything more than a paragraph to start

 

Tips & Demonstration Videos

Click the image to play the video

TIPS: Overview of Scooping for Fluency

DEMO #2: Scooping and Phrasing with Dialogue

About the Family

Michelle is a mom of two, a licensed Reading Specialist and a Facilitator at HILL for Literacy. Faye is turning 7, and has benefited from strong reading instruction in her first grade classroom. However, Faye is still in the process of learning critical phonics and spelling patterns to keep her reading development on the right track. Michelle encourages Faye to practice as often as possible, noting Faye is most receptive to instruction when she’s well-rested and interested in some one-on-one time with mom. Reading practice can take on many forms, games, stories, and auditory tasks. It can be planned or spontaneous! Michelle also tries to let her children see her as a reader both for work and for fun.

When my child’s teacher tells me they’re working on phonemic awareness, what can I do to support them?

Your child is learning that words are made up of individual sounds. They may be blending sounds into words, breaking words into sounds, or changing up the sounds in words to form new ones. Below, you will see the child blending sounds into words.

Always:

  • Start with 2-sound words, and build up to 3, 4, 5 sound words
  • Celebrate success
  • Use counters/legos/tiles if support is needed
  • Keep it playful

Avoid:

  • Having child guess
  • Mouthing the sounds
  • Explicitly linking sounds to letters
Resource:

 

 

Tips & Demonstration Videos

Click the image to play the video

About the Family

Shira is a parent of three, a certified reading teacher and Director of Product Development at the HILL. Ya’ara is 6 and an emerging reader. When she is motivated to read, she does not like to be corrected. When she is not interested in the task, she refuses to do it and makes a face at Shira. Shira thinks that no matter how skilled you are, teaching your own kids can be hard.

My child has picked a book that is a little too hard for them to read. How can I help?

Your emerging reader needs help reading the book they picked. Here are some ways you can support them:

Always:

  • Break words into smaller parts
  • Help child “track” (stay on the line they’re reading)
  • Re-read for meaning
  • Keep it playful

Avoid:

  • Having child guess what word makes sense
  • Having child use pictures to read the text

Tips & Demonstration Videos

Click the image to play the video

About the Family

Shira is a parent of three, a certified reading teacher and Director of Product Development at the HILL. Ya’ara is 6 and an emerging reader. When she is motivated to read, she does not like to be corrected. When she is not interested in the task, she refuses to do it and makes a face at Shira. Shira thinks that no matter how skilled you are, teaching your own kids can be hard.

Send Us Your Questions

We want our parent support tips to be relevant and useful. If you have a question you’d like to see answered, please submit it through the form below! 

13 + 4 =

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Supported By