How do I help my kindergartner improve his test grades?
My son is 5 years old and this is his 4th week in school. They have had two tests and my son has gotten a 7 out of 10 on both of them. That makes me and my husband worry about him. He knows how to recognize the alphbet, knows a few cite words but she reads a story to them for a week and then have a test on the story he does bad. Can some someone PLEASE give me and idea how to help him at home.
It sounds like your son is normal. Even though I am a teacher in public education, I am not a big fan of assessing Kindergarten children especially in the beginning of the school year. I know it has to be done, but try to keep it in perspective.
First of all, your son is just getting use to some big changes - new school, in school all day, new friends, different routines, various expectations from several teachers (classroom, art, music, PE) as well as other staff members (principal, lunch ladies, aides, office personnel). All of this can be overwhelming. Then you throw in all the of the academics - reading, math, and writing. Think about a time you started a new job. As an adult there was a adjustment time until you felt comfortable and knew what was going on and what to expect. However, we expect 5 year olds to automatically adjust to school.
However, there are somethings you can do to help your child in answering questions based on a story the class has been working on for a week. There is a great book I recommend to parents called Reading Magic by Mem Fox. She is a children's author from Australia and her book provides tips for parents on how they can help their children read. It is a very quick and enjoyable read.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
Read daily at least two books. You can choose one and he can select the other. By you selecting one of the books, you can expose him to all types of genres: fiction and nonfiction. Chances are he will want his favorites to be reread over and over again. This is ok. Because when he is listening to the same story, he is learning other things and not worrying about comprehending it. He might find words that rhyme, start with the same letter as his name, match the pictures or just observe you and what good readers do. Because you will be reading a lot of books, I suggest going to the public library.
Have him tell you stories about things you have done together. This could be trips to the bank, food store, etc. When he does that, he is practicing reading and writing skills: retelling, sequencing events, and cause and effect. You can point them out when he is finished. For example, you might say something like, "That's great, you told me all of the events in the exact order that they happened." or "We have to pay for the food before we could take it home to cook." Just mentioning those little things will help him in making connections.
Point out how you read a book, newspaper, flyer, phonebook, or anything else that is in print. Be explicit when you explain your thought process. For example if you are reading a book to him, point out that you start with the title, you notice the author's name and illustrator, you read from left to right, how you turn the pages, etc. Also explain what kind of information you can get for the different materials.
Make connections to characters, events, problems and solutions. This might happen when you are reading a book and the character asks in the same manner as you or your son. Point that out. It might also be in a similar situation, problem, or event. If the book is about a birthday party, you can compare it to one of his birthday parties. Discuss what you and he are reading.
It is also important to keep in mind that boys like different stories than girls. They like nonfiction a lot. They want to know how things work, true events, real people, scary stuff. They could careless about the princess and fluffy animals. So keep that in mind when selecting books. Guys Read is a great website that addresses this issue. Here are a list I found there that are just for the little guys. You may want to start with some of these titles first.
The Stupids Die
The Racecar Alphabet
The Maestro Plays
TRUCKTOWN Ready-To-Roll Series: Uh-Oh Max
I'm glad you are a concerned parent, but I think your son is going to do just fine. Enjoy the time you spend reading with him and make it fun!