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4th Grade Tips for Parents

Parent Tips

“What can I do at home to help my child?”  This is the most frequent question teachers get, so here is a list of strategies you can do at home to help your child succeed.

  1. Read aloud every day using a wide variety of texts
  2. Use varied vocabulary when talking, especially at meal time
  3. Engage young children in intellectually challenging conversation
  4. Discuss word meanings

Research shows that from birth, average children heard about 1,500 words an hour addressed to them. The average 4-year-old heard 30 million words addressed to them. Talkative parents produce talkative children and in turn, reticent (non-talkative) parents produce reticent children. Vocabulary use at age 3 was strongly related to reading comprehension scores in third grade.  What does this mean?  It’s simple…Talk to your children using grown-up words and even professional words.  Explain what words mean even if you know they won’t understand them. Read to and with your children every single day.


Home Reading Time

Young children’s listening vocabularies are typically greater than their reading vocabularies until they become fluent readers.  However, one-fourth of students do not read outside of school and the majority read for only a few minutes.  Book-reading is correlated with vocabulary growth and academic achievement, but students seem to have less time—and fewer incentives—to read on their own.  Ways to promote reading at home:

  • Limit the amount of time the child spends watching television and playing video games
  • Establish a family reading routine at a certain time of day
  • Monitor and sign off on the child’s independent reading log
  • Talk to the child about their reading
  • Get a library card and visit the library with the child
  • Share read-alouds at home
  • Participate in incentive programs that are promoted by the school or community or create one of your own!

The three main mechanisms for word-learning that are responsible for students’ vocabulary growth beyond specific teacher instructed activities are:

  1. Listening to the language of caregivers and other family and community members.
  2. Being read to by a family member/adult.
  3. Reading independently.


Parents are a critical factor in children’s educational success because they are a child’s first and best teachers. Research has shown that children whose parents are involved in their education perform at higher levels than those whose parents are not involved.

So we encourage parents to get involved in a variety of ways. Parents can make sure children understand the importance of education, and they can help children learn outside of school. Below are some tips for helping your elementary student learn at home as well as in school.

The first one is the most important: Read. Read to your child. Read with your child. Let your child see you reading every day, so that he or she understands the importance of learning to read well.

  • Read to and with your child, and have your child read to you. 
  • Encourage your child to keep a journal of daily events. 
  • Keep books available to your child, and make regular trips to the public library. 
  • When you shop for groceries, have your child help you find items and then estimate the cost of the purchase. 
  • Discuss different kinds of jobs and careers in your community to help your child understand that school prepares them for a career. 
  • Visit museums, zoos and city art exhibits with your child. 
  • Help your child identify and set fitness goals. Make walking, hiking or biking a family activity. 
  • Talk to your child about the importance of education. 
  • Meet with your child’s teachers regularly to monitor progress. 
  • Compliment your child’s work and success in school. 
  • Make sure your child does each day’s homework assignment. Set aside a quiet place for homework and set a regular time each day for it. 
  • Listen to music together, and have art materials (crayons, paint, brushes, pencils, paper) available at home.

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