Willow Weekly

August 29, 2021

What's One Thing You Can Do to Increase Your Child's Success?

It's stinking hard to be a parent sometimes, right? So many things to juggle and always wanting to make sure your child has the best opportunity for success. You are not alone in those feelings, but here's the good news... Based on 30+ years of experience, a great deal of research and continually learning, the one consistent indicator of student success that I know: strong reading skills. To gain those skills, children needs practice. Elementary aged students grow the most in this area of foundational reading, but they can't grow all they need to, if they only read when they are in school. We teach them the skills they need here, but they MUST practice these at home if they are going to get really good at it.

If your son only practiced baseball or soccer when they were with their team, they will grow in their skills, but they will likely never become solidly skilled unless they also practice dribbling, throwing, and catching skills at home. Same with gymnastics, dance or any other skill based activity. Even video games show us that with a lot of practice, we can absolutely master the most difficult game. Key word? Practice

If your child reads every day (really reads... not just tells you they read, or just has the book open in front of the tv) for 20-30 minutes, then when they go to middle school, they will absolutely have the required skills to be successful in almost every class they will take. They will have the knowledge base to be able to read critically and understand the questions on tests. They will not be frustrated with assignments because they have the comprehension skills to figure out what to do.

However, if your child is not practicing daily, then their reading skills will start to lag behind. They won't increase the vocab, the nuances of reading, the fluency required for comprehension. What's one thing you can do to increase your child's opportunity for success? Simply make sure they read. Every Day. Set your expectation that reading is not an optional activity, and have a routine that includes it in their day. Here are some ways you can mix it up:

  • Read with them (cuddle up and use your animated voice)
  • Read along with them (they read a page and you read a page)
  • Set up a time where you both read your own books together in a quiet place
  • Book club with them: Read the same novel they are reading and talk about it with them

Because we know that reading is vital to a students success, we largely make our homework about reading. Just because your child doesn't have 50 math problems doesn't mean they don't have homework. Settling in with a book and reading for 20-30 minutes doesn't sound too bad, too hard, and definitely doable. Think about how those minutes of practice add up over a school year....almost 5000 minutes.. Makes a great reader... but your child needs your help to make sure it happens. They likely won't understand the benefit. We know you will!

What's your ZONE? Blue, Green, Yellow or Red?

We are rolling along with our "Zones of Regulation" curriculum at Willow Springs! As a parent, you can support your child at home by trying these three things:

  1. Use the "Zones" language and talk about how they apply to you. For example, ”This is really frustrating me and making me go into the Yellow Zone. I can use a strategy to calm down. I will stop and take some deep breaths.”

  2. Talk about what Zone is "expected” in different situations For example, it is expected for you to be excited and in the Yellow Zone on your birthday, but the Yellow Zone is not expected when you are at the dinner table.
  3. Encourage your child to share his/her Zone with you. Anytime is a great time to do a Zones Check-in: before school, after school, after playing outside, bedtime, etc. Be sure to share your Zone too! 🙂