Not a teacher? You can still help your children learn

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Always attempt to stretch your child’s vocabulary. When my children (they are now grown adults) were young, I insisted that they keep a dictionary by their side as they read. Now, I am sure they would use on-line dictionaries or apps to find the meaning of words they do not know.

The technology has changed, and the demands have changed, but the learning has not.

At least at the beginning, keep it short and interesting.

Are your kids into sports? Use a how-to book about his or her favorite sport and then ask the child to write about how they used the material they read out to make them a better player. Make sure they point to concrete evidence from the book.

Let them read a biography about their favorite player. Ask questions about the book and have them write answers, citing evidence from the book for their conclusions.

Sounds like a lot of work? It is. But it will give your kids a leg up on the tests and the way they require questions to be answered.

There’s no magic to learning, no pill that will do the job. It’s seat-of-the-pants hard work and parents have to ensure that their children have the materials, the technology and the desire to do the work necessary to achieve a high level.

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