Tried & True

Jill Nolen  |  January 14, 2021

Categories: Effective Strategies, Family Engagement, Parent Handouts, Reading Strategies

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If you’re having trouble getting parents to use one of the latest or even greatest online tools with their children, then consider going “old school.” Don’t get me wrong…web-based learning platforms and online class meetings have definitely come to the rescue to help teachers keep students safe while learning at the same time. But to be honest, switching to online learning was new for most of us and most likely created some level of discomfort – especially for our parents.

Research shows that when people are expected to try something new, the typical reaction is avoidance and procrastination because it takes them out of their comfort zone. So, maybe it’s time to go back to the basics and have parents support student learning with familiar activities that are “tried and true” with just a little something new.

Before COVID, opening a child’s homework folder didn’t fill a parent with dread. Why? It’s simple…seeing a spelling list to study or a reading log to sign is much more familiar to families than downloading files, clicking on links, and navigating through new online platforms.

Plus, most parents feel totally cool with helping their children learn spelling words, making sure they read each night, and signing a reading log. Why not take advantage of what parents are comfortable with and add a twist by incorporating easy-to-implement, research-based strategies to make learning time more effective.

Take a Twist on “Tried and True” Activities

  1. Spelling Words: Instead of writing spelling words 5 times every night, use the brain-based learning strategies found in our Spelling 10 Minute Talk handout. These strategies that strengthen spelling skills include:
    • Stretch It Out & Split It Up
    • Pinpoint a Part
    • Look Left
  2. Sight Words:  Make flashcards way more engaging and effective by incorporating the following research-based games included in our Sight Words 10 Minute Talk handout
    • Sight Word Smash
    • In a Single Bound
    • Kapow!
  3. Reading Logs:  Transform passive reading at home by providing parents with interactive questioning strategies included in our grade specific comprehension handouts:

To learn more about these strategies, visit our website to view our parent handouts that are available to schools for less than $1 per child. Many of our handouts also have corresponding ready-made workshops schools can use to share and model the strategies, but more importantly make a personal connection with families too!

We couldn’t resist leaving you with one last “old school” saying – ”Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.” It may be more relevant than ever these days!


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