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Ask the Teacher


Timed math facts, test success, reading stamina, standardized testing


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When your son is able to stay focused on his reading for two ten-minute blocks, his reading blocks should increase to 12 minutes each. Follow the pattern of gradually increasing the number of minutes in the block to 15. Then start shortening the break period between the reading blocks.

As your son's reading stamina increases, he will likely become more engaged in what he is reading. In no time, you will be able to eliminate using a timer.

With so much riding on standardized tests, I feel like I should be doing something to help my kids prepare. Are there ways I can help at home?

Standardized test preparation is a team effort among teachers, parents and students. Rely on your children's teachers to provide the academic framework that equips kids with the specific content understanding expected at their grade levels. As a parent, you can help by establishing a routine of sufficient rest and healthy breakfasts, especially for the days preceding the tests as well as the actual test days. Offer words of encouragement. Do not minimize the tests, but don't over-emphasize their importance either. Expect your children to approach the tests with a good attitude, ready to give their best.

Staying focused for the duration of the testing period can be a challenge, especially for younger children, but it becomes more important as each day goes by. Sincere commitment to your children's test success may also mean modifying other evening activities.

Ask the Teacher is written by Deb Krupowicz, a mother of four and current teacher. Deb holds a Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction and has over twenty years of experience teaching preschool, elementary and middle school students. Please send your questions to her at asktheteacher@indyschild.com

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