Woman reading book.Teachers need parents to be part of the teaching and learning team.  In some cases, parents know exactly what to do and are immense resources for supporting and extending the learning that is going on at school.  In other cases, parents are not sure what to do and feel overwhelmed.  Other times, some parents may even be embarrassed to ask the teacher for ideas.  In this article, you’ll get a handful of easy-to-share and easy-to-access ideas that you can offer to parents.

Depending on your situation, you might choose to share all of these ideas at once or just one at a time.  Let parents know that these are tips that will help their children become (or continue to be) readers and “study-ers:

  1. Read aloud to your children everyday. They are never too young or too old to be read to.  You can start reading aloud to your children when they are born and can continue until they have children (and even grandchildren) of their own.
  2. Let your children see you reading and learning from what you read.  You can read magazines, the newspaper, books, letters, on-line resources, and a multitude of other sources.  The idea is that you are modeling both reading and LEARNING from reading.
  3. At the dinner table–or the breakfast table–talk about school and what your children are learning.  Instead of asking, “How was school today?”  Ask them what they learned.  Ask them what was the most fun about the school day.  Ask them what was the hardest part of the day - and what they learned.  Ask them what they are proudest about from their school day.  See the pattern?  Focus on specifics related to learning and school and your child.
  4. When you are helping your children with their homework, ask them what they already know (or think they know) about a topic before they begin to read it. Then, ask them what they learned from reading.  It’s OK if your kids know more than you do about some things.  It’s nothing to be embarrassed about.  You certainly know more about most things, but there are a few areas in school where they may be ahead of you.  Let them teach you.
  5. Expect your children to learn. There is nothing that is too hard for them to learn.  Tell them that over and over and over.  Let them know that you believe they can learn anything if they will apply themselves and be wiling to try again and again.  Your unwavering support and belief in them as learners will do more for their overall learning and achievement than you can imagine.

As a teacher, you need your students’ parents to provide all the support and help that they possibly can.  This 5-item list is one way to enlist that support - and to help them know how much you (and their children) need them.  It also lets the parents know that they are valued, worthwhile, and important.  It’s a definite win-win.

Educators have the most influential positions in our society–and need every bit of support that can be mustered.

Professional_Cover_FlatAs an educator, you need to maintain your energy so that you can serve the students who have been entrusted to you. I encourage you to access the tips booklet: Putting Pockets in Your Professional Life: 52 Tips to Implement Immediately. Pockets can mean the difference between calm and crazed.