Middle School Parents Newsletter

  • Your middle schooler can still benefit from read-aloud time

    Posted by Newsletter on 1/19/2020

    Father reading with son Middle schoolers are too old to be read to, right? Absolutely not. Most young middle schoolers are still better at listening than they are at reading.

    When you read aloud to your child, you expose him to new concepts, ideas, and vocabulary. The key is to keep it short and to the point.

    Here are some strategies to try:

    • Review the news. Choose a news article to read aloud to your child at breakfast. Have him do the same for you after dinner.
    • Share what you are reading. Read aloud a small part of something you are reading. Watch for signs of interest in your child. If they appear, read a little longer.
    • Select a book to read together. Choose a genre that neither of you is familiar with. Consider science fiction, historical fiction or a biography and read for a few minutes each evening.

    Reprinted with permission from the January 2020 issue of Parents Still make the difference!® (Middle School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2020 The Parent Institute®, a division of PaperClip Media, Inc. Source: K. Short, “Reading Aloud to Middle School Students,” Edutopia, niswc.com/mid_readaloud.

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  • Regular family dinners can improve outcomes for children

    Posted by Newsletter on 1/12/2020

    What does your middle schooler really want for dinner? You. Families live hectic lives and you may wonder whether gathering for a family meal is worth all the hassle. Well, it is. In fact, family meals make a real difference.

    Studies have found that kids who eat dinner with their families four or more nights a week are less likely to try cigarettes, alcohol, and marijuana. They also perform better in school.

    Here’s how to make family meals work for you:

    • Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t eat together every night. Try to have dinner together a few times each week.
    • Include your child in mealtime conversations. Ask a few specific questions. Instead of the standard “How was your day?” be clear-cut. Ask, “What’s one interesting thing that happened at school?” It may get him to open up more.
    • Keep it pleasant. Don’t use mealtime as an opportunity to argue or interrogate your child.
    • Laugh. Humor makes dinnertime fun for everyone.
    • Be flexible. If evening meals are hard to schedule, share breakfast with your child. You’ll have the same chance to connect.
    • Go low-tech. Don’t try to compete with digital devices for your child’s attention. You’ll lose. Turn off the TV and keep phones and tablets away from the table.

    Reprinted with permission from the January 2020 issue of Parents Still make the difference!® (Middle School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2020 The Parent Institute®, a division of PaperClip Media, Inc. Source: “Benefits of Family Dinners,” The Family Dinner Project, niswc.com/mid_dinner2.

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  • Find the value in different types of reading material

    Posted by Newsletter on 12/29/2019

    Is your child a reader? Some kids don’t read many novels, but that doesn’t mean they are not readers. Avoid labeling your middle schooler a nonreader—if you say it, your child is likely to believe it.

    Nearly every kind of reading has value that you may not have considered. Recognize it. Encourage it. Praise your child for reading.

    If your child reads:

    • Magazines, she has learned the value of reading for pleasure and interest. As long as the material is age-appropriate, this is a constructive activity for your child.
    • Sports scores, she has learned to read for information. And she has learned that the internet and newspapers are valuable resources. Ask her questions that require her to do a bit of research.
    • Nonfiction books, she is building fluency, comprehension and vocabulary skills. Consider giving her a biography of a person she admires.
    • Instruction manuals or how-to books, she has learned that reading can teach her a practical skill. Help her look for books about the skills she wants to learn.
    • Text messages, she has learned to use reading and writing to communicate. But if texts are the only things she reads—it’s time to set limits and introduce some variety!

    Reprinted with permission from the January 2020 issue of Parents Still make the difference!® (Middle School Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2020 The Parent Institute®, a division of PaperClip Media, Inc. Source: D. Booth, Reading Doesn’t Matter Anymore ... Shattering the Myths of Literacy, Stenhouse Publishers.

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