I’ve found several good resources ideas on how parents can best help their children learn (including ideas on how to best respond to problems their children are having in school), and decided to bring them together in one post. You can see all my parent engagement-related “The Best” lists here.
Here are my picks for The Best Ideas On How Parents Can Help Their Kids Succeed In School:
Lorna Constantini has posted a link to a Livebinder of parent resources with activities that parents can do at home.
“But What If I Don’t Know English?” is another great resource from Colorin Colorado. It ideas on how parents who don’t speak English can still help their children develop literacy skills.
Census: Parents Reading More With Their Children is a new Education Week article that includes useful research that teachers might want to with parents. It could be used to help parents see what are some good ways they could interact with their children to encourage learning.
En Camino: Educational Toolkit For Families is a series of free online “modules,” available in both English and Spanish, designed to help answer parent and student questions about college. It’s from the National Center For Family Literacy.
It’s related to three other “The Best…” lists:
Involving Latino Parents in Homework is a nice practical post from ASCD Express.
Ed Week’s Learning The Language blog recently posted information and links to a number of resources in English, Spanish, Hmong and Somali for parents with children who might have learning disabilities.
New York Times’ columnist Tom Friedman has published a pretty interesting column on the importance of parent involvement, though I do wish he had a better headline than “How About Better Parents?” In it, he highlights a a couple of new studies (and includes links to them) and quotes one researcher:
Schleicher explained to me that “just asking your child how was their school day and showing genuine interest in the learning that they are doing can have the same impact as hours of private tutoring. It is something every parent can do, no matter what their education level or social background.”
4 Reasons Parents Should Speak Heritage Languages at Home is a very important article for teachers who have immigrant students.
People For Education publishes multilingual materials useful for parents. Though some of them are unique to Ontario, others can be used elsewhere. Here’s a sample in English.
Also, you might be interested in this related research on the role of parents in helping students develop their aspirations: “the most effective way of helping children from low-income households to achieve their ambitions is engaging parents in their children’s learning.”
College Bound is a series of videos — both in English and Spanish — designed to help parents get ideas on how they can support their children academically. Parent have to register at the site in order to watch them, but it only takes a few seconds to do so. The videos are very accessible, and a few of them seem useful enough for teachers to use them in the classroom with students.
I liked two in particular — one was on the physical effect that learning has on the brain, and the other was on failure (you might be interested in The Best Resources For Showing Students That They Make Their Brain Stronger By Learning and in The Best Posts, Articles & Videos About Learning From Mistakes & Failures). You can read more about the site at How Can Schools Best Communicate with Immigrant Parents?
Teachers tell parents how to help their kids be better students is from The Washington Post and, even though I’d prefer if the headline wasn’t “teachers tell parents,” it still has some good information.
Nice NY Times Article On Parent Involvement — On Their Fashion Page! is a post I wrote summarizing a good Times article.
Head Start has a series of downloadable flyers in their Importance of Home Language Series that are in English and Spanish. They’re useful for educators and for parents.
The Pajarao Valley Unified School District has an excellent collection of resources on Professor Carol Dweck’s work, and it’s been on The Best Resources On Helping Our Students Develop A “Growth Mindset” list for quite awhile.
However, they created another related resource that, for some reason, I discovered is not on that list. It’s an exceptional PowerPoint presentation on how to provide feedback to students that promotes a growth mindset. And, in an added bonus, a portion of it speaks directly to parents.
How Parents can help their Child with Homework offers mostly good advice. It’s from a newspaper in Tennessee.
What’s Best for Kids? Tips for Parents is a very good short collection of advice from the Association for Middle Level Education.
My advice to parents is featured in USA Weekend, the Sunday Magazine carried by many newspapers across the country.
The article What teachers want you to know, ends with this:
Research suggests that one of the best things parents can do to support a child is to help him/her develop a motivation to learn. Larry Ferlazzo, a teacher at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, has identified three key ways to do this, supported by studies from the National Research Council and the Center on Education Policy:
• Praise effort and specific work instead of native intelligence. Try saying: “Boy, those two hours you spent working on the essay last night really paid off. I loved how you described the characters in the novel” instead of “Wow, you are a natural-born writer.”
• Connect what children are studying to what is happening in their life and in the world. If he is learning about the Middle East, discuss a newspaper article about issues in that region.
• Avoid using rewards and punishments for academic work. If you give your child a dollar for every book he reads, it’s less likely he will want to read books for pleasure after you stop paying him.
The entire article is worth reading and, perhaps, with parents.
Starting secondary school: a survival guide for parents is pretty good article from The Guardian. It’s clearly British-oriented, but still very useful for parents here in the U.S
9 complaints schools hear from parents: What you should do when something goes wrong is by Jay Mathews at The Washington Post, and contains a lot of useful advice for parents.
Parents: 19 Meaningful Questions You Should Ask Your Child’s Teacher is a good post over at Edutopia.
20 Questions to Ask During a Parent-Teacher Conference offers some pretty good suggestions for parents.
What Kids Learn From Hearing Family Stories is a very interesting article in The Atlantic about the value of — in addition to reading books with their children — parents telling children about family stories.
Here’s an excerpt:
Over the last 25 years, a small canon of research on family storytelling shows that when parents share more family stories with their children—especially when they tell those stories in a detailed and responsive way—their children benefit in a host of ways…. Children of the parents who learned new ways to reminisce also demonstrate better understanding of other people’s thoughts and emotions. These advanced narrative and emotional skills serve children well in the school years when reading complex material and learning to get along with others. In the preteen years, children whose families collaboratively discuss everyday events and family history more often have higher self-esteem and stronger self-concepts. And adolescents with a stronger knowledge of family history have more robust identities, better coping skills, and lower rates of depression and anxiety.
Parent Involvement in Early Literacy is an Edutopia blog post offering a number of useful suggestions to parents of young children.
Cleveland Administrator Launches College Tours for Parents is the title of a pretty interesting Education Week article. It describes the work of the leader of parent engagement for the Cleveland school district.
Here’s an excerpt:
Among the administrator’s most successful parent-engagement undertakings are the Parent University College Tours, which provides parents a much-needed firsthand look at postsecondary opportunities available to their children. For many Cleveland parents, the tours may be their first time visiting a college campus. (All Cleveland students come from families with incomes low enough to qualify them for federal free and reduced-price school lunches.)
Here’s a video that accompanied the article:
Feedback is welcome.
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You might also want to explore the 780 other “The Best…” lists I’ve compiled.