Home Support Ideas

March 30, 2017
Dear Parent,
Spring Break is for relaxation, family time, enjoying the warmer weather and for some of you, a time to worry about what your child is going to do during the day while you are working. If that is you, I have some ideas for Home Support. If you already have a full schedule or you are wanting to just ‘get away from it all’, these ideas can be shelved for the weeks following break. Use them as you want and feel free to return samples if you’d like me to see them.

You have the most recent unit test in front of you. I have corrected it and added notes in places where I think extra focus by you would make a positive impact. Go through the test together and come up with additional problems similar to those you see. Some students did quite well. If your child’s test has few errors, great! That means you are able to move quickly through the items. Using the test items as starting points, make up problems that challenge ever farther.

Another place where your time will be well spent is practicing counting and math facts for addition, subtraction and multiplication. After break we will begin contests for speed with prizes for best scores. You may be surprised at your child’s counting skills. Be sure to begin at numbers that are not typical. Counting forward by 5s, starting at 5 is not challenging. Ask your child to begin at 3, or 6. Count backwards by 10s, starting at 102? Now, that’s going to challenge most everyone. Writing down the counting sequences so your child can see the pattern in number is another great idea.
I am also sending home a clock for your use. We have been playing clock games this week and your child will know how to play them. In addition to telling time, being able to identify lengths of elapsed time is more difficult. Ask questions such as, “We need to be at auntie’s by 1:30. It takes us 2 hours and 40 minutes to get there. When should we be in the car?” Remember to also include questions about elapsed time in weeks and months. An especially good way to work on this is to ask questions about family members’ birth dates. Age is another place to quiz skills for elapsed time in months or years.

Skills needed to be a strong third grade reader are numerous. Here are two biggies:
Fluency is best practiced by reading words, sentences and text that are below the independent level of a student. This is appropriate work for EVERY child. When you sit with your child have him choose from books easier than he would usually choose on his own. As you listen to her read be sure she is practicing fluency by using voices that mimic the character (gruff for a bear, gentle for grandma), speed is appropriate for the text (remember reading is not speeding), reading common words is a breeze and there is no evidence of halting fluency.
Comprehension is another critical skill area in which your efforts at home can make all the difference. Comprehension can be worked on when your child is reading independently (you know the book and can ask questions), or after you read to your child there is discussion about the text. And, don’t forget that comprehension is important in all areas of our lives- not just after reading. Does your child understand directions, game rules, steps in a recipe, or schedules your family follows?

*Highlighted at the bottom are skills your child will gain the most from with your support.

Word Work (Spelling)
I am asking you to try at least one dictated sentences activity during break. Attached is the most recent Dictated Sentence Writing from your child. There is no magic in what you dictate, only that you will likely have the most success if the topic is about something you both experienced. Write down what you are going to say. Read it to your child in robotic fashion. Try not to give away sentence endings. After you dictate the sentences, have your child go back through his writing, adding punctuation where necessary, capital letters where they belong and check for proper spacing of words. Then show her your writing and have her check her own work. If you are feeling especially ambitious, you could be the student and trade jobs. You will both learn an enormous amount about where your child’s spelling errors are. This is the single best way for you to positively impact word work at home.

Getting a head start on our final two units in Social Studies (Economics) and Science (Sun, Moon and Stars) is another way to make an impact on your child’s learning. Maybe one of these areas is right up your alley. They happen to be places where out-of-school teaching is highly beneficial. Have fun!


*Fluency through: repeated reading, reading out loud, adult modeling, choosing familiar books, reading books below independent level

Comprehension through: adult reading to child, reading high interest books, book talks, written responses to prompts, choosing multiple books on a single topic


Above all else, take the time your family wants and needs this next week. Use what you choose from the ideas above.

Enjoy the time.

See you on April 10th.