Unfortunately for us as parents, repeated readings of a book are exactly what your child needs in order to learn. They end up hearing the same words over and over again, which cements the vocabulary in their brain. See above. One way to make reading aloud more doable is to turn it into a game, so I designed a free printable read-aloud challenge you can start today with your family.
Your kids will love it, and so will you! What an awesome article, Kelly! With two children five years apart I can identify with much of what you say. My children have both been spelling bee winners in their small school. My son was done being read to by 2nd grade, my daughter and I read together until she was in 5th-6th grade.
Our family does audio books for trips to school and road trips. I LOVE this! I have always read to my boys every night before bed. I made it a priority because I knew how much they liked it. Even as infants I read to them. When my oldest was old enough to read chapter books on his own, we read the Percy Jackson series taking turns reading chapters. I enjoy it as much as they do.
There have been times where I was just too tired, it happens, and I let them know and read longer the next night. This is the tried and tested truth… reading aloud everyday does wonders. Thanks for this reminder as my eldest is 6 years old and she has now started to read really well so lately I started to take a back seat… tonight she urged me to read to her.. Thank God I did.. I must continue to do so:. This is so true! I used to watch educational shows and read so much as a child! There are many days it feels like I do nothing right and literally the only thing I feel like I did was read to my kids at bedtime so it is so good to hear that that is actually important Thank you for this.
We needed the reminder and we needed the tips. I read a study once that people who read together synchronize their heartbeats, brain waves, and breathing. And more synchronization leads to more mutual regard and cooperation. How cool is that?! And I mean during the day in addition to bedtime reading. One hour is the goal. We have a wide range of ages from baby to 10 and book selection is never an issue for us.
My ten-year-old is happy with board books.
Tip #2: Ask Yourself, “Why Am I Reading This?”
My kids are young, so I stopped expecting them to sit and cuddle with me every time, and instead let them climb on the couch and play with their toys in their laps or the floor while they listen. Well, I can see that I really need to buckle down and read to my son more.
Several times a week is not cutting it because he seems to have some trouble settling down to pay attention. I need to help him learn to focus and listen. The kid is very high maintenance. He is more inclined to look at although briefly a book with pull tabs, when if pulled,the animals open their eyes or flap wings and so forth. Great Article.. I also found out that entering kindergarten at that time that they were expected to count to , and a bar far raised from my childhood with other expectations.
My daughter developed a love of books, a stronger connection and bonding with me. I miss that nightly ritual. It may has been the number one thing I did right as a parent regardless of how tired I was.. LOVE this article!! I emphasize to my kindergarten parents each year how important this ONE simple and enjoyable thing is. Hi Tammie, sure I can put that together for you! Can you email me here? I am also a K teacher and would also love this article!
Can you tell me where I can get it without the advertisements? Thanks so much!! I still read aloud every evening to my 7 and 9 year old.
Learning Disabilities and Disorders
Our routine is that we each take turn one night picking a book, including me the parent! I try to read to my children every day. When I finished my meal, I start to read. That way we can continue to sit down together. Otherwise the boy runs off to do something else and I start doing the dishes or something and the girl is left alone with her food. Thanks so much for this breakdown of not only the importance of reading out loud, but also ways to help with all the stumbling blocks! Amazing article Kelly. Fabulously written and so so important! God bless. The books I love to read the most are ones that can be sung!!!
And my grandchildren love them! He just turned three and it is still his favorite book! Please suggest good beginning chapter books. My 6 yr old grandson is ready for more complicated stories and loves Captain Underpants…but I am not a fan. I think they make good beginner chapter books.
They are great for read-aloud, but our first introduction was Half Magic on audio tape in the car. I even checked it out to use with a young developmentally and physically disabled adult I occasionally cared for at home. Awesome article. I read a LOT to my own daughter, and dozens of day care kids. I would love to read to my grandbabies every day, but they are too far away.
Mimi — When my granddaughter was younger, I also had the desire to read to her more than just when she and her family came for a visit. They live several states away so visits only consisted of maybe times a year. I bought myself one and one just like it for my granddaughter. Then I purchased a few books I thought she would enjoy.
Be prepared to use your texts and notes efficiently. Know where to locate information you think you will need when writing your answers quotations, dates, definitions, graphs, diagrams, etc. But do not let yourself be lulled into a false sense of security such that you do little or no prior preparation. Follow the basic guidelines for essay exams. You probably will not be asked to do lots of new research for the take-home essay, nor will you be given as much time as you would if you were writing a formal essay. Be direct in your writing and use straightforward organizational patterns.
Demonstrate the breadth of your knowledge of the subject matter by referring to a variety of sources when providing concrete examples to support your main points. Ensure that your responses are analytical and evaluative where appropriate. Arrive a few minutes ahead of time, but be wary of frantic last-ditch cramming with classmates outside the exam room: you may find that such conversations clarify nothing and only serve to make you nervous and anxious. You may feel some degree of tension or excitement because of the coming test. Such arousal is normal and perhaps even desirable in the sense that it indicates you are alert and ready.
If you feel overly anxious — if your heart is pounding, if your stomach is full of "butterflies" really just stomach acids being secreted — then calm yourself physically by attending to your breathing. Breathe deeply, slowly, rhythmically. You can also reduce physical tension by alternately tensing and relaxing various muscle groups. You might consider sitting in the front of the room to minimize distractions from other students.
Be prepared to use all the time allotted for the exam; do not be upset or flustered if other people finish early. For all you know, they may have given up without having finished the test, or they may have neglected to do part of the test through sheer carelessness. The next section talks about these relaxation skills in more detail.
Create a List
If you've got this far and you still feel that concerns you have about being anxious have not been taken care of, then it is time to consider how you are thinking about the exam. First, put the exam in perspective. Determine the value of the test or exam in terms of the course grade from your syllabus. Try to calculate your existing grade in the course and determine what grade you require to reach a certain objective in your course.
Assume you will continue at least as well as you have so far in the course and calculate how much will be required to get the grade you would really like. Try to get a sense of where you're likely to be after the exam if you continue with your present level of achievement.
Sometimes exams are worth relatively little compared to the total for the course and so it may not be worth getting overly worked up about this exam. Some exams, of course, are worth relatively more and should be approached accordingly, with greater time carefully self-testing in preparation.
After calculating their existing grade, some students actually find out that they are doing better than they thought they would. Some find a concrete goal in terms of a grade to shoot for on the exam and this helps them focus and begin study with better concentration. Remember that exams measure what you can demonstrate about your learning thus far in a course of study, not your worth as a person. Some students feel anxious only during the exam or test.
Some ways of reducing anxiety during the test follow:. Sound Familiar? Where difficulties arise Sometimes the difficulties students have with preparing effectively for exams stem from a need to develop fundamental skills such as time management, reading for comprehension, note-taking, and coping with anxiety. Eight Steps to Effective Study If you haven't been studying regularly, then there is still hope.
Complete all necessary or central course readings and compile all of your notes from various sources such as lecture, tutorials, texts, past assignments and tests etc. Review past assignments and tests for topics, question types, and feedback and re-read the syllabus for the course focus and description.
Often past asignments highlight key course concepts and offer example questions which you can use to test yourself. With the help of the course syllabus, determine your learning objectives and the course focus. An example of a learning objective is "Students should be able to apply the theories discussed in the course to relevant real life situations. Know what percentage of the final course grade is accounted for by this exam. Incidentally, one suggestion for setting time limits for studying states that you would plan to spend one hour for each percent of the final grade that the exam is worth and then add one quarter of this time to account for interruptions and difficulties that you didn't anticipate.
These estimates are over and above those related to completing term work. Set a realistic goal for the exam and determine a daily amount of time to study each course. Write it down along with all the steps of preparing in a calendar or planner. Decide how to balance "study" and "regular course work" during this preparation period. Loosen, cancel, postpone, or decrease other commitments to leave more time for study and proper rest and relaxation and prepare a place to study away from distractions like TV, other people, telephone etc.
Locate as many study aids, such as course notes in the library, past exams, or study guides, as possible. You might approach the Prof. It should be obvious that collecting these study aids without using them to practice recalling your material is of limited value. Determine what the major sections, concepts, ideas, and issues of the course are.
What do you need to know for each one? From your experience with course reading and lectures, what portions of the course have been given special emphasis? In what ways has the instructor modelled the process of thinking associated with this course or discipline? What questions might help you to understand and recall and relate the elements of your course? It is important to note that the way in which the course is organized relates directly to "what's important" and to how you will likely be tested on this material.
Ask: When is the soonest I can begin to study? In general, settling down to study and selecting information central to the test or exam should be a straightforward task. It Begins with Motivation Developing a sense of motivated interest is essential to long-term recall of large quantities of complex material, which is, after all, one of the important tasks of a student.
Identify the key ideas That is, pick them out and articulate them. Understand the key information That is, develop a thorough understanding of course materials by reviewing notes to fill in any missing thoughts or ideas immediately. Organize these key ideas along with the necessary supporting information That is, determine how the key ideas relate to each other, to ideas from other lectures and to themes of the course. Develop Your Memory and Quiz yourself Many students believe they have "bad" or faulty memories.
Multiple Choice or Multiple Guess? When appropriate, we mention additional preparation strategies that could be used to prepare for the questions: Preview the exam. As you browse through, take note of those questions which seem easier i. Don't waste time labouring over troublesome questions at the start. Be sure to get credit for items you know well. Recycle through the test.
Now try the questions you could not do on the first attempt. Sometimes the answer will occur to you simply because you are more relaxed after having answered other questions.
Quick tips | 10 Tips On How to Focus On Boring Reading Materials
Sometimes, too, your answer to one question provides a clue to the answer of another. Set goals for time and pace yourself accordingly. Allocate your time according to the relative worth of questions. Try to save a few minutes at the end for review and revision. Remember: your first answer may not always be your best answer. Change answers, but only if you have a good reason for doing so. For instance, changing an answer from, say, selection "b" simply because your response to the previous four questions was also "b" and you cannot believe that five questions in a row would have the same item as the correct response, is likely not a good reason; be flexible in your approach.
Read the questions carefully, twice if necessary.
Avoid jumping to conclusions about what you think the question asks. Circle or underline key words in questions. Multiple choice tests examine your ability to read carefully and thoughtfully as much as they test your ability to recall and reason. Watch for words like "all," "always," "never," "none," "few," "many," some," "sometimes. Doing this successfully may help you "wade through" the alternatives and find a reasonable answer or choice.
Consider the cover-up strategy. Read the question and try to answer it by recall before looking at the alternative answers. Label the alternative answers as true or false statements and then look for a pattern in the answers Sometimes alternatives differ by only one or two words or in the order of one or two terms.
These can seem very confusing. It helps sometimes to read the stem of the question that's the question part with an alternative while covering up the others. By methodically thinking through the alternatives this way, you may be able to make more sense of the options by labelling them true or false and eliminating those that don't correctly complete the question.
Use the hint of highly similar pairs. Often the answer is imbedded in one of two very similar pairs and the "most correct" answer is often the one that correctly uses course terminology; consider the all or none of the above cues — if two of the preceding alternatives are opposites then one of them and the all or none of the above choice is also wrong. Be prepared to change your answer Many students report difficulties arising from changes that are made on the basis of nervous feelings.
You might want to try to answer all the questions from the same section of the course to offset the mixing of questions inherent in the design of the test -- this demands care be taken that answer sheets are correctly completed and that all questions have been answered; consider guessing when there is no penalty for a wrong answer.
Be alert to terminology which links the alternatives or questions to key areas of the course, lectures, or chapters of a course's materials. This may help you narrow the field of possible choices and think through to the best answer. Be wary of descriptive words which are overly exclusive or overly inclusive.
These absolute terms tend to portray things as right or wrong where this is often not the case. Words like always, never, completely, and only are absolutes. Relative words like often, usually, seem and may are often more accurate. Translate double negative statements into positive ones. Examples like "Not lacking" or "not none" become "having" and "some" and this can reduce confusion.
Note that these are often partly in the stem and partly in the choices of a particular question. If you must guess, look for some of these possibilities: the style of an answer option is very different from all of the others - this may disqualify it; the grammar of the question stem is not in agreement with the grammar of an alternative; some alternative is not in the area or topic of the question, but comes from some other part of the course- this may disqualify it.
Doing well on Essay Exams For students who are comfortable with their essay writing skills, the onset of final exams featuring essay questions or short answers usually brings a sense of consolidation to a year's work and offers an opportunity to display the knowledge and thinking skills developed over the course of the year.
It's all in the way the question is worded As you begin to study — and especially as you begin to write — pay attention to action words and be sure to read the directions carefully. List - Write an itemized series of concise statements Enumerate - Write in a list or outline form, making points concisely one by one Describe - Recount, characterize, sketch, relate in a sequence or story form Define - Give clear, concise, authoritative meanings State - Present main points in brief, clear sequence, usually omitting minor details and examples Summarize - Give the main points or facts in condensed form, like the summary of a chapter in a text, omitting details and illustrations Diagram - Give a graphic answer, a drawing, a chart, a plan, a schematic representation Explain As a group, these words tend to suggest fully thought out and demonstrated answers.
Discuss - Consider various points of view, analyze carefully, and give reasons pro and con Analyze - Summarize fully with detail in accordance with a selected focus, consider component parts of ideas and their inter-relationships Explain - Clarify, interpret, give reasons for differences of opinion or of results, analyze causes Illustrate - Use a word picture, diagram, or concrete example to clarify a point Outline - Organize a description based on main points and subordinate points, stressing the arrangement and classification of the subject matter Trace - In narrative form, describe the evolution, development, or progress of the subject Compare These action words are premised on an analysis which works to integrate ideas under focus; emphasizing similarities, differences, and connections between these ideas deepens our understanding of the ideas and may help you contextualize ideas more effectively.
Compare - Look for qualities or characteristics that resemble each other. Emphasize similarities, but also note differences. Contrast - Stress differences, dissimilarities of ideas, concepts, events, problems, etc. Prove - Establish the truth of a statement by giving factual evidence and logical reasoning Justify - Show strong reasons for decisions or conclusions; use convincing arguments based on evidence Related words: Agree, Disagree, Debate, Defend Assess Writing an essay question with these action words involves invoking acceptable criteria and defending a judgment on the issue, idea, or question involved.
Criticize - Express your judgment about the merit or truth or usefulness of the views or factors mentioned in the question Evaluate - Appraise, give your viewpoint, cite limitations and advantages, include the opinion of authorities, give evidence to support your position. In-test Strategies Once you have prepared, it will be important to develop a strategy for approaching the actual writing of the exam.
Read over the questions, make necessary choices, and plan time. Note the relative worth of questions so you can plan your time accordingly. Decide which questions you want to do, if you have a choice. It is often advisable to begin with questions you can do readily.
Do not worry about doing the questions in order unless the professor specifies otherwise. If you fall seriously behind your time plan during the test, leave adequate space for the question you are working on, and start answering the other questions. You will be more likely to get a passing grade if you answer all the required questions at least partially rather than trying to make one or two answers perfect. Re-read the questions, carefully noting what each question asks you to do. At this point your knowledge about organizing essays from key words like "compare and contrast" and "discuss" will be helpful in focusing you on what to say and how to organize it.
Many students lose grades because they fail to answer the question; instead they ramble on about material that may be closely related to the question but not precisely what the question requires. Organize your thoughts before beginning to write with a brief outline, mind-maps, diagrams. A well-organized answer will be better received than one with the same points but with a less coherent presentation. Write a brief introduction including your statement of thesis adapted from the question you are answering. Tell the reader how you will prove this. For example, if the question says "Compare and contrast radical feminist and liberal feminist approaches to equality.
This is clear when one considers the theoretical stance each group takes on the origins of inequalities between the sexes, and on the differing stances each takes on proposing solutions to this inequality To do this, use clear transitions to link your points. As well, include some examples or references to authors of your course; a few can be memorized and a few paraphrased and it is wise to consult with your marker about conventions for doing this.
Examples demonstrate your grasp of the subject matter. References to specific and precise examples from readings and lectures support and illustrate your points. Sum up simply to reinforce the coherence of your answer and review the paper for obvious errors, legibility, labelling of questions, and for things you might want to change. When writing essay answers, favour a direct, concise, precise writing style. Do not waste time trying to compose a graceful lead paragraph as you might if you were writing an essay; get to the point quickly and directly.
State what you intend to discuss and develop those ideas with well-chosen examples. Demonstrate that you can analyze and evaluate the subject matter; do not merely repeat information from readings and lectures.
The essay exam is an exercise in thinking and expressing yourself, not in memorizing and parroting. In other words, don't just stop at defining your terms; demonstrate your ability to think and express yourself using these terms. For the sake of your reader, be sure to write legibly, even if you have to print, and write on every other line. If your writing is virtually indecipherable, you may lose credit simply because the grader cannot understand what you have written. Writing on every other line produces a less crowded appearance, and also allows you to add material to your original answers when you proof-read them.
If you use several exam booklets, be sure to number them before handing them in, for example, "1 of 3," "2 of 3," "3 of 3. For Open Book Exams The important point to remember is that you should prepare effectively and thoroughly. For Take Home Exams Follow the basic guidelines for essay exams. For All Tests Arrive a few minutes ahead of time, but be wary of frantic last-ditch cramming with classmates outside the exam room: you may find that such conversations clarify nothing and only serve to make you nervous and anxious.
Ok, you still might be anxious If you've got this far and you still feel that concerns you have about being anxious have not been taken care of, then it is time to consider how you are thinking about the exam. Working with Anxiety After calculating their existing grade, some students actually find out that they are doing better than they thought they would. Know that you know what you know. Much of exam anxiety comes from a fear of poor performance. If you can test yourself adequately prior to an exam and go in with the knowledge that you do know your stuff, you might find your anxiety diminished.
Some anxiety is normal in an exam situation. In fact, some would say that to a degree, anxiety is facilitative of sharp concentration and alertness. When anxiety begins to impede your ability to perform to your ability, then it may be time to seek further help with it. If you find your anxiety to be extreme and accompanied by headaches, nausea, feelings of despair, shaking and trembling, or blanking out, then it might be worth looking into services for reducing stress and anxiety at your campus Counselling Centre. The relaxation strategies and exercises provided take time to develop and will probably be most productive for exams a few months down the road, given a few months of diligent practice.
Symptoms of stress or anxiety can be worsened by drastic changes in sleep and eating routines, but they can be diminished with some physical activity like walking, swimming, or skating. Breaking the study into smaller, one hour, or half hour, time units and inserting a break in between the sessions of study can be helpful in maintaining productive activity and providing a much needed rest or time-out.
The few minutes break offers you a chance to stretch, it allows you to focus and concentrate on a reasonably sized package of information, and allows for some sense of progress on a regular basis. If you're very short of time, you might try focusing the bulk of your time on areas that need work rather than on those which you already know and can remember well. This way you can cover more of the course material. Though some people experience a little anxiety from working through the hard stuff, many feel that this strategy offers a chance for greater effectiveness and course material coverage.
Beware the frantic student! It is hard sometimes to establish a controlled outlook for an exam, but it is easy to lose this outlook when you come into contact with somebody who is very highly anxious. The natural habitat of this kind of highly stressed individual is the main entrance to the exam room, just before an exam begins, trying to learn those last bits of information before the exam. If this is you or if this scenario seems familiar to you, then you might want to be aware that this may raise your anxiety at the worst possible time.
Beware of picking up on the concerns and stress of other students. Probably we pick up more stray anxiety than we need to. If you review minutes before the exam and this helps you, then you might want to do so just out of range of the exam room. Try to eliminate negative self statements such as "I'm going to fail this exam for sure because I'm such a big dummy. This negative thinking may limit our ability to perform to standard on an exam. Replacing negative statements with genuine positive statements like "I'm studying hard and I did passably well during the term, I should do similarly well on this exam.
Try to focus on the task at hand. That is, focus on the activities of studying for and responding to questions on the exam rather than on potential negative consequences. Catastrophizing - ie. Improving Concentration Some people like to keep a pad of paper nearby as they work so that they can jot down or write out interruptive thoughts and distracting ideas. By doing this you don't risk worrying that you will forget about these tasks, and you acknowledge that the concerns are important enough to warrant attention, but not so important that they must come before your work.
It is often a good idea to "park" ideas that are bothersome and tend to distract. This idea involves setting a time when you will deal with a particular problem or concern and leaving it behind temporarily while you focus on other things. Try to determine a clear goal for what you want to accomplish for the learning session.
This may assist you in focusing your attention on the specific tasks at hand, one by one, and provide you with important feedback about your progress. Try to focus on the task at hand and avoid looking into the potential longer term consequences of doing well or poorly which often leads to catastrophizing. Do the most important tasks first so that you can know that anything else that comes to mind as a distraction is less important than the thing you are doing. Try to maintain an "I'll try to do the very best I can under the circumstances" attitude rather than an "It must be perfect" one.
Learn to recognize when a distracter is more important than the task you're presently doing. Deal directly with the cause of that distracter whenever possible. Sometimes by removing the cause of a major distracter, it is possible to save time that would be wasted worrying later on. Try to maintain a regular place for study which is free of your bigger distractions, such as the TV, the fridge, and so on. Keep your work space free of clutter and try to keep it dedicated to the task of study. Sometimes this reduces distractions and assists you reaching a better state of concentration.
Reading on the bed, for example, is probably not a good idea for good concentration. Working at a desk that you always use for such purposes will support better concentration. Try to work for a set period of time so that you know an end point is in sight.
Restlessness sometimes gets worse when it seems that the work you are doing has no end in sight. Try to have all your books, notes and working tools available. Needing to get up to search for lost or misplaced items can add to distractions. To reduce the anxiety associated with preparing to study you might begin by organizing your books and work space to aid you in keeping your desk free of distractions and on focussing on the task at hand. You might also plan time for "warming up" as part of your study routine.
To do this, begin with something that's familiar to get started. As well, it sometimes helps to review the good results of the past to put yourself in a confident frame of mind. To reduce anxiety associated with the time following a study session, you might take a physical break to help you reduce the symptoms of stress and to peak your alertness and energy. You might also want to end each study session with an overview of a section to boost your sense of completion and confidence.
As well, you might find studying early in the term to be less anxiety-provoking because of the reduced amount last minute study you have to do. Identify your areas of concern early in the term and check them out. Often those who feel uneasy about exams are those who have discovered that they have gaps large or small, few or many in their understanding. By examining concepts which are unclear as the course proceeds, you reduce these gaps and build your confidence along with the knowledge of the course.
Discuss your course work with other members of the class. By discussing the course focus and ideas related to the course, you are likely to determine some fairly common ground regarding the important aspects of the course to be tested. This may also give you an ideal chance to discover other points of view about the course ideas and focus. Group study is an excellent way to work actively to study. If you feel anxious because of the poor state of your notes, you might try borrowing a friend's notes to fill in where there are gaps in your notes or use a tape recorder to keep up with professors who don't allow questions or who move too quickly.
At all times try to keep your notes organized by date and look for the main ideas for each lecture as they relate to the course outline. Notes that you make from the text should reflect the organization of the ideas presented in the text.
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