All parents like to see their children succeed in school, but they do not always know how to help them.
Allison Palfy, a Title I teacher for fourth- and fifth-graders at Cedar Ridge Elementary School, is using a $2,000 grant from Target to try to change that situation.
Palfy recently started a program called Launching a Love of Literature with the grant. Her three-part effort includes purchasing supplies for the school, recruiting volunteers to work with pupils, and offering study skills and test preparation tips in quarterly hands-on workshops for parents and their children.
"I want it to really be an outreach where we bridge that gap from parents to the community," Palfy said.
Fourteen parents and children attended the first workshop that she and Cedar Ridge fifth-grade teacher Tami Roy conducted at the school Nov. 14.
The teachers opened the workshop by having parents and children work together on a questionnaire about learning styles.
"Maybe they're word-smart. Maybe they're music-smart," Roy said. "How are they going to learn best?"
The teachers went over tips for learning vocabulary, listening skills and reviewing textbook material.
Roy said 40 percent of the content that children need to learn from textbooks is in photo captions, graphs and maps.
"Go over the pictures with them. Read those captions," Palfy said.
The teachers recommended that children draw pictures about material that they read and pick out the five most important words in each paragraph to increase their comprehension.
Palfy said parents should expose their children to as many experiences as possible. Children who can make a personal connection to a concept are about 90 percent more likely to remember the material, she said.
The teachers said parents can use dice or playing cards to help their children with simple math computations.
Palfy said parents should follow four main principles to establish effective study skills at home.
"Set a consistent daily routine. Know how your child's going to do their homework, when they're going to do their homework and where they're going to do their homework," she said.
She said parents should check their child's agenda each day and stay informed, and establish a dialogue about school with their child.
"Every day, your child should be able to come home and tell you one thing they did well," Palfy said.
Mabel Heath attended with her fourth-grade daughter, Bernisha Dumas.
"We need some study skills. Her attention span is just so short," Heath said.
Bernisha said she would use playing cards to improve her math skills.
"I like that they help us a lot. Sometimes we don't get a lot of help, and they help us here," Bernisha said of the teachers at the workshop.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.