Growing Readers: Learning to Love Reading and Writing Column 14
This editorial article was written by Lizzie Mussoline, M. Ed.
Set up a Designated School Workspace
Create a designated spot in your home for remote learning. Ensure the space includes suitable materials and school supplies so your child can be as focused as possible for their online schoolwork. Help make the space special and more inviting by encouraging your child to decorate the area with a few things that make them happy and that inspire them. A small whiteboard or bulletin board would be a great addition to the space and a great place to post encouraging notes, quotes, and reminders to help your kiddos approach this unique learning situation with as much positivity as possible.
If you happen to be working from home, make sure to occasionally walk by your child’s learning area, or as many times as possible, to overhear and “spy” on what your child is working on. If you are not home, you can ask a caregiver to do this and jot down a few notes. Perhaps you catch a little bit of the teacher’s direct instruction, see what assignment your child is working on, or what text they might be reading. Collect “data” for yourself to check in on later. We think it is a great idea to check in on learning over a family meal. Ask your children about what you happened to see that day, or what their favorite and least favorite assignment was that day and why. Have more than one child? Encourage them to teach one another at least one thing they learned that day.
Add in Some Multisensory Learning
Supplement and enhance your child’s learning with real-world scenarios or multisensory learning to reiterate new concepts and skills. Another benefit of “spying” on your child’s education is that you can take the ideas they are working on and apply them to real-world scenarios. You may also be able to enhance their online learning by discussing it and practicing it in a multisensory way—using a variety of senses. Perhaps there is a documentary, Ted Talk, or Podcast (here are some of our favorite podcasts) that relates to your child’s learning? Make sure to watch or listen to it! Do you have a child that loves to draw? Encourage them to draw or create an artistic representation of their favorite learning of that day, week, or unit. Do you have an actor or singer on your hands? Encourage them to turn their new knowledge into a movie, play, song, or rap.
Know When to Take a Break
It is important to recognize when your child needs a break. These “brain breaks” might be impromptu or scheduled and built into the learning day. Encourage your kiddo to walk away from their computer, take a quick walk, spend some time getting a few deep breaths of fresh air, stretch their body, do some yoga (here are some yoga book suggestions), or do whatever type of “brain break” appeals to them! Perhaps everyone in your home needs a brain break; if so, take one together. You could even play a quick game, their favorite sport, or turn up a favorite song and just let loose for a few minutes. This is sure to help recharge everyone to finish their online learning day strong. It is also an excellent way to model that adults often need to walk away and take a break. Our children learn from us, and a brain break can be an excellent opportunity to talk through a problem you may be having with a task, or vice versa. Asking your child for their advice and opinion empowers them and makes them feel good. Plus, it helps them to see that we are indeed all in this together.
Stay in Touch
Don’t forget to stay in touch with the teachers. As a former classroom teacher, I loved when parents would send a quick e-mail to say “hi” and see what they might be able to do to support their child better. During this especially unique time, teachers will appreciate this effort. Checking in will help build a teacher/parent “team” dynamic, which will help set your child up for success. Make sure to encourage your child to “pop in” to those virtual office hours, “lunch bunches,” or whatever opportunities there might be, even to say “hi.” This one-on-one time with a teacher could make a massive difference in your child’s effort, motivation, and overall outlook on online teaching.
Thank you for reading the Growing Readers: Learning to Love Reading and Writing column. Bookmark this Growing Readers Column link or subscribe to our e-newsletter so you do not miss out on the monthly reading tips. 5 Tips to Help Parents and Caregivers Best Support Remote Learning was written by Lizzie Mussoline, M. Ed.—follow her on Instagram: @wildflower_learning_denver.