Tuesday, October 17, 2017

FREE e-Book Resources for Kids and Teens

It is known by many that the use of e-books can offer real benefits to children who struggle to read for a variety of reasons. The ability to adjust e-page backgrounds to other colors than white, change font sizes and more can often help challenged readers with such issues as visual fatigue, convergence insufficiency and other issues. In addition, just one e-reader can contain and offer an entire family a smorgasbord of book titles to satisfy a variety of children's (and parents') reading needs---from books for emergent readers to mysteries appropriate for teen readers and others.

In this post, we wanted to provide some FREE e-book resources to offer families who wish to promote literacy in their homes for all ages of children. We hope you will value and perhaps even save the link to this page as a future reference for all your family's e-reading needs.

FREE e-Book Resources for Kids & Teens

Open e-Books-This program does require parents to reach out to a teacher, librarian, or other eligible person to sign up for First Book. This will then allow parents to obtain a code that will give each child access to 10 books at a time via the FREE Open e-Books app. This excellent program is available to low-income families with kids ages 4-18 and it is filled with books that are still in copyright – which means a large collection of bestsellers and contemporary titles. Worth the time to take a look!
http://openebooks.net/

International Children’s Digital Library (ICDL)-The non-profit ICDL Foundation’s library has evolved into the world’s largest digital collection of children’s books. Currently, its digital library collection includes 4,619 books in 59 languages. The complete ICDL collection is also available as a FREE iPad app. A limited number of titles are included in the FREE ICDL iPhone app. The ICDL also created the FREE Story Kit app that helps users create their own electronic storybooks for reading and sharing. http://en.childrenslibrary.org/

Library of Congress-The Library of Congress’ selection of digitized books includes illustrated children’s classics for readers of all ages. The Library of Congress also makes available millions of primary sources for FREE online. To assist educators in teaching with primary sources, the Library offers classroom materials to help teachers engage students with content and develop critical thinking skills.
http://www.read.gov/books/

Best Free Children's e-Books Online-This is a listing of 234 sites that legally offer FREE e-books for children to read.
https://www.techsupportalert.com/best-free-childrens-ebooks-online.htm

Best FREE Kindle e-Books for Children-FREE classic Kindle e-book titles for kids from Goodreads.
https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/21465.Best_FREE_Kindle_Ebooks_for_Children_

FREE Kindle e-Books for Teens-This is a PDF document from tcea.org with clickable links to FREE e-books for teens ready to be read on a Kindle. (May also be read on other devices with the free Kindle app. Please see link below under Other e-Book Resources to Help Promote Literacy.)
https://www.tcea.org/documents/PD/Free%20Kindle%20eBooks%20for%20Teens.pdf


epic! (30-day FREE trial-Instantly access 25,000 of the best books, learning videos, quizzes & more for kids 12 & under.
https://www.getepic.com/

Bookshare-A FREE program supported by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs that provides FREE reading materials to anyone who has a print disability that keeps them from reading traditional print materials. An eligible Bookshare member would be someone with a visual impairment, a physical disability that impinges on reading ability, or a learning disability.
https://www.bookshare.org/cms/bookshare-me

Project Gutenberg-Project Gutenberg has 50,000 free ebooks to download or read online. These are books whose copyright has expired, so while they are not “trending,” they do include many classics.
http://www.gutenberg.org/

Online Books Page at University of Pennsylvania-Although a bit of a bugger to navigate, the Online Books Page at the University of Penn has an amazing collection of kids literature available! The link provided will take you to the children’s bookshelf, however you can browse by alphabetical listing or even search to discover new topics!
http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/book/browse?type=lcsubc&key=Children%27s%20books

Books Should Be Free-Perfect for introducing a child who is not yet reading or who enjoys listening to stories to literature! Books Should Be Free offers a wide selection of FREE audio and e-books including many of the classics. They also have e-book formats for Kindle, iPad, iPhone, Nook, Sony Reader and laptops.
For Children: http://www.loyalbooks.com/genre/Children
For Teens & Young Adults: http://www.loyalbooks.com/genre/Teen_Young_adult

BookBub-FREE e-books for teens and young adults (requires submission of email address for registration)
https://www.bookbub.com

FREE e-Books for Kids-A collection of FREE e-books for children from Amazon (for Kindle). The selections available may be FREE for a limited time. It is advisable to check daily for new FREE titles. See left sidebar on web page for various genres and topics currently available at no cost.
https://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=free+ebooks+for+kids&tag=geminimobiles-20&index=digital-text&hvadid=22381588&hvqmt=e&hvbmt=e&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_62sj6d2bod_e

MeeGenius-MeeGenius makes it easy to keep your child reading by offering hundreds of e-books including classics, MeeGenius originals, and partner content from Sesame Street, Dr. Seuss, and P.D. Eastman. Starting out as an iPad/iPhone app, MeeGenius has been a favorite of many families for years! While not all e-books are available for FREE, there's a wide variety of FREE e-books.
http://www.meegenius.com/

Oxford Owl Free e-Book Library-Oxford Owl has a great variety of books for kids ages 3–11. The books marked with an ‘e’ are the FREE books. The site has some really amazing features like offering activity ideas that go with the books. With some books in the youngest (ages 3–5) and oldest (ages 9–11) age groups, there aren’t any words shown on the screen. You only hear the story. Nevertheless, this is a good site if you’re looking for access to stories (both fiction & non-fiction) for a variety of ages. https://www.oxfordowl.co.uk/home/reading-owl/find-a-book/library-page

Kids World Fun-An enjoyable array of FREE, animated books!
http://www.kidsworldfun.com/ebooks.php

Children’s Books Online-This Rosetta Project site is an online library of antique illustrated children’s books. Selections are indexed by reading level: pre-reader, emergent reader, intermediate reader, advanced reader, adult reader & foreign language reader.
http://www.childrensbooksonline.org/library.htm

Classic Reader-Classic Reader is an excellent place to find FREE classic e-books. The site has a special section for young readers with more than 200 of the world’s best loved classics.
http://www.classicreader.com/browse/3/title/

Magic Keys-This site offers FREE illustrated e-books for children of all ages. Storybooks are separated into three categories: young children, older children, and young adult. Other site offerings include online games, jigsaw puzzles, and interactive coloring pages.
http://www.magickeys.com/books/

Read Print-The Read Print library hosts thousands of FREE e-books and poems, many of which are suitable for children. Most of the books on Read Print are classics, such as Peter Pan and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
http://www.readprint.com/

Other e-Book Resources to Help Promote Literacy

Read Ups-A great site for older children who want to find, read, and discuss books. The site allows you to read books on the site or import books from the web or your hard drive. Read Up books can be read alone or with a group of people. The site does require a Twitter account.
http://www.readups.com/

FREE Kindle Reading App- You can install this very useful yet FREE app on most devices (iPad, Mac, PC, Android, etc.) so that the device "becomes" a Kindle in function. We have the Kindle app installed on our PCs here in the office and use it daily. The number of FREE e-books that can be found for your Kindle on Amazon.com (in the daily deals section) is almost endless!
https://www.amazon.com/kindle-app/s?ie=UTF8&page=1&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Akindle%20app

Sources:

How to Find Free e-Books for Kids — Copyrighted Titles Included!
http://parentingchaos.com/finding-free-ebooks-for-kids/

For more tools & resources to help improve reading & spelling skills, visit:
www.FocusandRead.com Tools for struggling readers of all ages!
www.BrennanInnovators.com Info & support for struggling readers
314-892-3897

Image sources:
Brennan Innovators, LLC at www.focusandread.com AND
Pixabay.com at https://pixabay.com

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

11 Homework Tips to Help Kids with ADHD (and Others, too!)

For many children, homework is not a favorite word or activity. In fact, it is often the one word that causes more conflict than most during the school year for both students and their parents. When the issue of ADHD is also introduced into the mix, homework can become the catalyst for much angst in a home. So, what are parents to do? Should they immediately talk with their child's teacher to seek assistance? Should punishment be a method of making the child complete the homework assigned? Would some other approach be advisable?

It is always a good idea to discuss concerns about your child her teachers, but the idea of using punishment rarely solves any problem long-term. In fact, it can often create more problems than it solves. Punishment related to homework also does little to build a good parent/child relationship. Positive incentives for behavior modification are nearly always a good idea, especially when those incentives are chosen by the child and approved by the parent. Ownership of the issue is more readily accepted and then addressed by the child.

There are other strategies that can assist parents with problems related to on-time homework completion. We thought at the beginning of this new school year a list of such strategies might be helpful to many, especially to those parents of children with ADHD who struggle to focus and follow through with tasks in a timely manner---both inside and outside of the classroom. We hope you will discover at least one or two in this list of tips or strategies to help you and your child create a peaceful AND productive environment for homework at your house!

Helpful Homework Strategies for Kids with ADHD (and Others)

1. Consistency is important. Arrange for your child to study and complete class assignments in the same room or location each day. A desk or table where minimal distractions can occur is advised (a corner of a room with the student facing that corner is a good option).

2. Set aside a specific amount of time for homework each weekday. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that for each grade level, 10 minutes of homework is reasonable (i.e., for a student in grade 4, approximately 40 minutes of homework would be appropriate.) If your child finishes early, he or she can then read, write a thank you note to relatives or play an educational game online or offline.

3. Use a timer for the period set aside for homework. This will be one way to help your child focus more effectively since the timer will give the child a good sense of how much time tasks might take to complete.

4. Help your child develop a good and positive mindset for the homework tasks. If the child is tired or stressed (especially during periods in the late afternoon after school dismissal), allow some time for her to relax, have a snack to help replenish energy levels, play outside or indoors or listen to soothing music to help decompress BEFORE tackling the homework assignments.

5. If needed, step in to slow down the rate at which your child is attempting to complete the homework. Ask him questions like, "Will your teacher be able to read your work?" or "Do you think you are doing your best work there?" Notice that these questions are phrased not to reflect YOUR opinion but that of others. Asking such questions will help your child develop better reading and study habits going forward.

6. Encourage your child to review her work, both for content accuracy (expression of ideas/answers, spelling, etc.) and handwriting clarity (penmanship, etc.) This will no doubt not only improve the quality of that homework but also raise your child's sense of pride in work well done.

7. Help your child break down assignments into chunks or a series of smaller tasks (in a list format with perhaps only 2 revealed at a time.) This approach can be invaluable for large and long-term assignments. For such projects, remember to establish a timeline that is reviewed every few days to confirm progress and timeliness of completing smaller goals of the assignment. This will help to affirm your child and establish accountability for her.

8. Provide assistance and resources for your child when answers are not forthcoming or there appears to be a struggle of some kind. Depending on what you observe, this could mean a trip to your local public library for reference materials, etc., a computer session with your child locating needed resources for an assignment or other activity with your child to help explain an important concept. In some cases, you may need to advocate for your child. This may become an opportunity to seek out more specific accommodations or other resources from your child's teacher, a reading specialist or even a medical professional for an evaluation of the learning challenges you observe.

9. Remind your child of his strengths and de-emphasize (but don't forget) weaknesses. This will him help approach the homework tasks with more confidence and help boost self-esteem, too.

10.Use color coding in as many ways as possible to help with the reading, study and organization of assignments. Ask your child to write down every assignment in one place. For older, high school students who have phones, request that they record their assignments in the phone or send themselves a text message with the assignment complete with due date.

11.Provide your child with a 2-pocket folder for his completed work. This folder can be used for this folder for any school papers you need to sign as well.

Sources

8 Tips to Help Grade-Schoolers with Learning and Attention Issues Slow Down on Homework-by Kate Kelly, Understood.org
https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/learning-at-home/homework-study-skills/8-tips-to-help-grade-schoolers-with-learning-and-attention-issues-slow-down-on-homework?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI3JWZ5OnA1gIVgSSGCh0bCQNNEAAYASAAEgLMYvD_BwE

10 Homework Tips for ADHD Children-by Eileen Bailey, HealthCentral.com
http://www.healthcentral.com/slideshow/10-homework-tips-adhd-children#slide=10

For more information on customizable reading tools for better focus & attention, please visit:
www.FocusandRead.com Tools for struggling readers of all ages!
www.BrennanInnovators.com Info & support for struggling readers
314-892-3897

Image courtesy of:
Brennan Innovators, LLC at www.focusandread.com

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

BEST Literacy Apps for More Reading and Spelling Success!

There was a time in the world of education when teachers utilized flashcards and ringed charts filled with sight words to help improve reading skills and student literacy. Those very low-tech and no-tech approaches to reading success were appropriate for their time but not all that stimulating and engaging as some of the tech resources currently have available to educators and the students they serve.

Today, we have tech hardware and software applications for literacy that grab student attention and keep them engaged, resulting in better skill building, improved comprehension and increased retention of content read by those students. We have been gifted with tablet and desktop programs that can help kids zero in on the exact text needing to be read. We also have applications available for the classroom and home use that can help support readers easily overwhelmed by too much text on a digital page. In addition, there are spelling apps that make learning new words much less tedious than in years past.

In this article at the beginning of a new school year, we wanted to provide the latest in reading and spelling apps for students in today's classroom. For your benefit and that of the students or children you serve, we have gathered such a list here to help you address the needs of challenged spellers and readers. We hope you will find this list not only helpful now at the start of the new school year but will keep it handy for use throughout the entire year. Happy Reading and Spelling, everyone!

Apps to Help Challenged Readers and Spellers

1. Top 10 Spelling Apps by Reading Rockets
(Various prices w/ 1 FREE app)
http://www.readingrockets.org/pdfs/Top-10-Spelling-Apps.pdf

2. Beginning Spelling App for Word Study by This Reading Mama
($4.99-for Android & iPad, iPhone & iPod)
https://thisreadingmama.com/beginning-spelling-app-word-study/

3. VocabularySpellingCity by SpellingCity
(FREE-for Android & iPad, iPhone & iPod Touch)
For Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/app/spellingcity/id538407602?mt=8
For Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.spellingcity.VocabularySpellingCity

4. Spelling Applications-compiled by DyslexiaHelp, University of Michigan
(Some FREE & various prices for Android & Apple)
http://dyslexiahelp.umich.edu/tools/apps/topic/spelling

5. Reading & Spelling Programs -compiled by DyslexiaHelp, University of Michigan
(Various prices for Android & Apple)
http://dyslexiahelp.umich.edu/tools/reading-programs

6. The Reading Focus Cards Desktop App ($5.99-for Macs & PCs)
http://www.focusandread.com/page/488513590

For more tools & resources to help improve reading & spelling skills, visit:
www.FocusandRead.com Tools for struggling readers of all ages!
www.BrennanInnovators.com Info & support for struggling readers
314-892-3897

Image sources:
Brennan Innovators, LLC at www.focusandread.com AND
Pixabay.com at https://pixabay.com

Thursday, August 31, 2017

BEST Research-Based Interventions for Dyslexia, ADHD and Other LD

As educators and parents, it is prudent to consider research-based or evidence-based resources when assisting students in any way. This is even more critical when helping challenged readers and learners.

In this article, we wanted to provide the most up-to-date research-based resources to help the many adults who serve populations with dyslexia, ADHD and other LD. We have listed them here with direct links for your convenience. Please know that every child is unique, exhibiting individual behaviors and specific needs. Discovering the BEST resources, techniques and interventions for an individual child or student of any age may take time, patience and extended efforts in order to increase the possibility of good outcomes.

Special Note: It is suggested that teachers, tutors, programs, and schools provide specific, evidence-based techniques. We also recommend that these techniques be discussed at follow-up meetings after student evaluations and/or assessments. This does not mean or guarantee that these techniques will result in a positive outcome in all cases. There are too many variables involved to provide any kind of guarantee of success. We also do not receive any financial or other exchange benefit from making specific recommendations. We sincerely want to provide our professional opinion about what may be an effective intervention for your child. This is not a complete list. There are many other effective techniques which we are continually discovering.

BEST Research-Based Interventions for Dyslexia, ADHD and Other LD

Interventions for Challenged Readers

1. Orton-Gillingham Techniques for Dyslexia
Of all the reading programs specifically designed to help struggling readers by explicitly teaching the connections between letters and sounds, Orton–Gillingham was the first. Today—decades later—many reading programs include Orton–Gillingham ideas based on a multi-sensory approach to reading and learning.
https://www.orton-gillingham.com/

2. Tools for Unfocused, Overwhelmed and Other Readers w/ LD

a. Reading Focus Cards (Patent 7,565,759)
Low-tech tools for reading physical books, documents and other printed media
http://www.focusandread.com/products

b. Reading Focus Cards App (Patent 8,360,779)
Digital tool for Macs and Windows PCs that allows readers to more easily and more comfortably remain focused on digital media--both online and offline (for web pages, digital documents and more)
For Macs: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/read-and-focus/id920617853?mt=12
For Windows PCs: https://gumroad.com/l/ReadingFocusCards

Instruction Techniques for Dyscalculia (Math Learning Disabilities)

1. The University of Chicago School Mathematics Project
UCSMP has created a curriculum for students from pre-kindergarten all the way through 12th grade. UCSMP materials, including Everyday Mathematics for Grades preK-6 and seven UCSMP textbooks for use in Grades 6-12 mathematics (Pre-Transition Mathematics; Transition Mathematics; Algebra; Geometry; Advanced Algebra; Functions, Statistics, and Trigonometry; and Precalculus and Discrete Mathematics), are being used currently by an estimated 4.5 million students in elementary and secondary schools in every state and virtually every major urban area. (Usiskin) We find that these techniques are appropriate for children with strong visual memory, language, and fluid reasoning ability. They are not as effective with children who are concrete learners and who need foundational memorization of facts and consistent scope and sequence of skills.
http://ucsmp.uchicago.edu/about/overview/

2. Connected Mathematics
CMP is a problem-centered curriculum promoting an inquiry-based teaching-learning classroom environment. Mathematical ideas are identified and embedded in a sequenced set of tasks and explored in depth to allow students to develop rich mathematical understandings and meaningful skills.
https://connectedmath.msu.edu/

3. Saxon Math (for Elementary Students w/ Math LD)
Saxon takes an incremental approach to math, introducing a new skill or principle each day, then reviewing these concepts and skills day after day for weeks. This approach helps build students’ confidence in their ability to “do” math successfully. Students who have used this program receive consistently high scores on standardized math tests. We find this technique to be successful with concrete, sequential learners who need memorization, review, and scope and sequence learning.
http://www.hmhco.com/shop/education-curriculum/math/saxon-math

Computer-Assisted Instruction (CAI) (for Middle to Sec. Students w/ Math LD)

1. I Can Learn
A full-curriculum mathematics software solution that is a self-paced, mastery-based technology fully aligned to Common Core State Standards for math grades 5th through algebra and allows for effective differentiated instruction in a positive learning environment.
http://www.icanlearn.com/

2. Accelerated Math
Students must learn to think critically—like mathematicians—in order to master math. Accelerated Math keeps students working—and thinking—to solve a set of 6 problems before they see which ones they missed. The right amount of productive struggle helps students learn.
http://www.renaissance.com/products/practice/accelerated-math/

Assistive Materials for Dysgraphia

1. Stem sentences, essay templates and graphic organizers for dysgraphia
http://storey.weebly.com/graphic-organizers-and-writing-templates.html

2. They Say/I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing with Readings (Second Edition)
http://books.wwnorton.com/books/webad.aspx?id=4294986798

3. High School Essay Templates
http://writewellapp.com/high-school-essay-templates-and-formats

4. Elementary School – Sentence Generators
http://sentence.yourdictionary.com/

5. More Stem Sentences
https://www.pinterest.com/explore/sentence-stems/

6. Handwriting without Tears
http://www.hwtears.com/hwt

Sources

Evidenced-Based Intervention Techniques for Dyslexia, Learning Disorders, and ADHD-from Turning Point Assessments
https://iqtestingdenver.com/2017/05/31/evidenced-based-intervention-techniques-for-dyslexia-learning-disorders-and-adhd/

Orton–Gillingham: What You Need to Know-by Peggy Rosen and Understood.org
https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/partnering-with-childs-school/instructional-strategies/orton-gillingham-what-you-need-to-know

For more information about tools & resources to help improve reading fluency, please visit:
www.FocusandRead.com Tools for struggling readers of all ages!
www.BrennanInnovators.com Info & support for struggling readers
314-892-3897

Image sources:
Brennan Innovators, LLC at www.focusandread.com AND
Pixabay.com at https://pixabay.com

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

More Fluency Results in Improved Reading Rate, Comprehension and Retention, too!

Most educators know that a variety of skills come together to enable a student to read and so so proficiently. Those same educators will cite the specific reading skills required for this to be accomplished.

The right tools, strategies and teaching techniques can make all the difference in successfully developing and improving these skills in emergent as well as experienced readers. The following is a list of basic or primary reading skills needed for effective reading to result:

Primary Reading Skills

1. Phonics: To know the relationship between the sounds of spoken language and the letters of written language is essential for reading.

2. Word recognition: Many common words in English, such as "the" and "one," do not fit the normal phonics rules, so your child will need to memorize them.

3. Fluency: To read fluently, your child must not only be able to recognize words instantly, but also be able to divide the text into meaningful chunks.

4. Spelling and writing: Your child increases his knowledge of how print works when he spells and writes on his own. When he sees each letter, he learns to associate a sound with it. At first he may write "book" as bk — because he hears the /b/ and /k/ sounds. With instruction, he learns correct spelling.

5. Comprehension: To read, your child must understand the meaning of the words. She builds comprehension when she discusses what she thinks a book will be about and summarizes what happened in a story. Her understanding increases as her vocabulary expands.

In this article, our focus in on fluency (#3 above). We wanted to provide resources and information to help with the improvement of this all-important reading skill of recognizing words instantly and dividing them into meaningful chunks. Developing fluency does not simply require the teacher or parent to "force feed" a group of words or text to a child. It most definitely does not involve "speed reading" or increasing the rate of the words viewed by a reader, which many software programs attempt to do. The teaching of fluency requires specific activities and resources to encourage a child to attack the text needing to be read.

In a 2011 focus study of secondary students who were challenged readers, it was found that when implementing the appropriate strategies and tools, reading fluency improves, which in turn significantly improved the student' reading rate and comprehension. For more information on this study, please visit this link.

So, in our attempt to help parents and teachers with the development and improvement of reading fluency, we have provided here a list of resources and links to assist you. We hope you will discover that the following links will help your child or students do just that---Improve fluency so that reading rate and comprehension will follow. In the end, retention of what has been read will also be positively impacted with these improvements.

Reading Fluency Resources

Fluency Resources for Reading - from Brennan Innovators, LLC
70+ reading fluency resources all in one place
https://www.pinterest.com/brennajn2000/fluency-resources-for-reading/

Reading Fluency Activities - by ReadingResource.net
The FREE reading fluency activities on this page are essential for children with dyslexia and struggling readers. These activities can be taught in the classroom (small and large group setting) and can also be implemented at home! Keep checking this page for more free printable reading fluency activities and other ways to increase reading fluency!
http://www.readingresource.net/readingfluencyactivities.html

A Complete Guide to Reading Fluency- from Scholastic
Videos, activities, strategies and more to help develop and improve reading fluency.
http://teacher.scholastic.com/resources/fluency/

Sources

Breaking the Code: Primary Grade Reading Skills---by Scholastic
http://www.scholastic.com/parents/resources/article/milestones-expectations/breaking-code-primary-grade-reading-skills

For more information about tools & resources to help improve reading fluency, please visit:
www.FocusandRead.com Tools for struggling readers of all ages!
www.BrennanInnovators.com Info & support for struggling readers
314-892-3897

Image sources:
Brennan Innovators, LLC at www.focusandread.com AND
Pixabay.com at https://pixabay.com

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Get 'Em In-Gear for a Great School Year!

The summer vacation time has always been a great season to reconnect with family and friends at a much more leisurely pace. Travel and enjoyable activities both indoors and in the sun can do much to help all of us recreate and refresh. This is especially true for children who have a chance during the summer months to experience important downtime, allowing for more creativity and reading for enjoyment than during the much more structured school year.

However, how can we best get them ready for late August or early September when the new school year begins? There are a few ways parents can do this, ways that are relatively painless and that may even go unnoticed by the children! Here are a few great ways to start the ball rolling to get your kids in-gear to begin the new school year:

GREAT Ways to Get Kids In-Gear for the New School Year

1. Get the children to bed on time. During the summer, children aren’t always on a schedule. However, proper rest is essential for a healthy and productive school year. Help your child get used to the back-to-school routine: start the transition now to earlier wake-up times and bedtimes. Structure and consistency are very important here.

2. Provide for healthy meals. Hungry kids can’t concentrate on learning, so good nutrition plays an important role in your child’s school performance. Studies show that children who eat healthy, balanced breakfasts and lunches do better in school. Fix nutritious meals at home, and, if you need extra help, find out if your family qualifies for any Child Nutrition Programs, like the National School Lunch Program (see link below for additional information).

3. Prepare a study area. Set up a special place at home to do school work and homework. Remove distractions. Make it clear that education is a top priority in your family: show interest and praise your child’s work.

4. Read Together. Take the pledge to read with your child for 20 minutes every day. Your example reinforces the importance of literacy, and reading lets you and your child explore new worlds of fun and adventure together. Change it up and promote variety by including read-alouds, sustained and independent silent reading and discussions about what you read. Do it TOGETHER!

5. Talk about and discuss ways to manage or limit school stress. If you or your children are overly anxious about performance in school, work through your negative beliefs, especially the beliefs about the implications of school failure. Challenge those negative thoughts that the worth of a person or future prospects hinge entirely on academic grades. Good performance will be achieved only when you and your children manage or overcome your fears and discover your own personal worth.

6. Set goals. Enjoy setting goals for your children and yourself, so weaknesses can be transcended and full potentials can be reached. Study goals must be realistic and achievable. For example, encourage small steps to reach higher targets.

7. Motivate the need to learn. Achieving some goals will certainly motivate children to reach more challenging targets. Another motivating factor would be to understand that a child works primarily for herself and her future career. Apart from the external rewards that parents may promise, a child or teen must understand that studying well is an opportunity for self-development and personal improvement.

8. Provide interesting learning opportunities that engage your child. To encourage your children or teens to prepare for the new school year, expose them to activities that inspire them to learn about things that interest them. A visit to a museum in a particular area of interest for the child is a place to start. A day trip to several libraries outside your usual locale can also be a good idea. Look into library and civic programs that may be offered over the summer months at little or even no cost.

Additional Important Tips for Parents

1. Communicate with teachers and the school. Contact your child’s teachers at the start of the school year. Get acquainted with them and let them know you want to be an active partner in helping your student to learn and grow. Plan to keep track of your child’s subjects, homework, activities and progress throughout the school year. And, consider serving on your local PTA or joining other parent groups that engage with and support your child’s school.

2. Take your child to the doctor, and make sure your child has health insurance coverage. It’s a good idea to take your child in for a physical and an eye exam before school starts. Most schools require up-to-date immunizations, and you may be asked to provide paperwork showing that your child has all the necessary shots and vaccines. So, check your state’s immunization requirements (see link below for additional information). And, always keep your own copies of any medical records.

Sources & Resources

Get in Gear for the New School Year: Back-to-School Tips for Parents by ed.gov
https://blog.ed.gov/2013/08/get-in-gear-for-the-new-school-year-back-to-school-tips-for-parents/

Eight tips to start the new school year by My English Pages
http://www.myenglishpages.com/site_php_files/reading-tips-for-new-school-year-start.php

National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
https://www.fns.usda.gov/nslp/national-school-lunch-program-nslp

State Vaccination Requirements
https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/imz-managers/laws/state-reqs.html

For information about tools & resources for children & teens with reading challenges, please visit:
www.FocusandRead.com Tools for struggling readers of all ages!
www.BrennanInnovators.com Info & support for struggling readers
314-892-3897

Image sources:
Brennan Innovators, LLC at www.focusandread.com

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Tools and Strategies to Help Unfocused, Overwhelmed and Visually-Fatigued Readers

There is no doubt that in today's world, most of us are often unfocused, inattentive and overwhelmed as a result of the amount of reading required of us each day. There was a time (and not that very long ago!) that we were not faced with a hundred emails in our inbox, various "white" papers needing our attention and attached digital documents requiring review and signatures. Needless to say, that has all changed, AND these kinds of digital media vie daily for our attention in addition to the physical media demanding our readers' eyes. To say the least, we are fast becoming immersed in text 24/7. Is there any wonder that we feel overwhelmed by it all?

Then, for a moment, imagine a challenged reader who also struggles with ADHD, dyslexia or another reading issue, too. This individual is frequently overwhelmed and often unfocused even BEFORE attempting to read. What can the average amount of media currently presented daily cause for such a reader? The result is much more challenge and struggle than many of us can visualize.

There are ways to manage such focus and overwhelm issues with large (or small) amounts of reading or text. Sometimes the right tools can make all the difference for a number of readers. For others, it might be a particular tool, focusing strategy (or combination of tools and strategies), resulting in more attentive reading with better comprehension and retention.

We have gathered here a list of resources that include BOTH tools and strategies for such readers. In fact, most readers could benefit from knowing about these resources for those times when they are fatigued or just have too much reading to accomplish in a specific time period.

We hope these resources will help you or someone you know who struggles with focus and overwhelm when reading!

Other Resources to Help with Focus and Overwhelm

How to Stay Focused: Train Your Brain from Entrepreneur
Amid the noise, understanding your brain’s limitations and working around them can improve your focus and increase your productivity. This article will provide some tips for how to do that.
https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/225321

The RIGHT Strategies Get the Job Done for Challenged Readers w/ ADHD & Others
Refer to this set of specific strategies often, and then match the appropriate strategies to every reading situation in order to improve focusing and tracking skills as well as overall reading success.
http://helpforstrugglingreaders.blogspot.com/2016/10/the-right-strategies-get-job-done-for.html

Distracted Reading in the Digital Age by Elizabeth Randolph and Vassar
This article describes how an English professor and a librarian help students focus and read with more success.
https://vq.vassar.edu/issues/2015/01/features/distracted-reading.html

Strategies and Accommodations for Challenged Readers
This web page provides a FREE downloadable list of strategies to help unfocused and overwhelmed, challenged readers of all ages.
http://www.focusandread.com/learning-strategies

Kindle & Reading Focus Cards Apps Work TOGETHER to Help ADHD & Dyslexic Readers Succeed!
The combination of these two desktop apps can work together to provide more FOCUS and less OVERWHELM than any other tech device for ADHD or dyslexia.
http://helpforstrugglingreaders.blogspot.com/2016/09/the-kindle-and-reading-focus-cards-apps.html

10 Bible Verses For When You Feel Overwhelmed by Rachel Wojo
Sometimes, the best remedy for feeling overwhelmed is reading God’s Word. The article here may be a simple post, but it is a beeline of verses that might hit the heart of the matter and could be just what the doctor ordered.
http://rachelwojo.com/10-bible-verses-for-when-you-feel-overwhelmed/

18 Tips to Support Dyslexics & Other Challenged Readers
This article offers readers a list of 18 tips to help and support the challenged reader(s) in your family or in your classroom.
http://helpforstrugglingreaders.blogspot.com/2017/02/18-tips-to-support-dyslexics-and-other.html

Feeling Overwhelmed is a Common Anxiety Symptom by CalmClinic
Feeling overwhelmed is perhaps the most common symptom of anxiety, and it can actually affect you on a very base level. This resource from CalmClinic will provide some ideas to help you manage the anxiety of being overwhelmed.
http://www.calmclinic.com/anxiety/symptoms/feeling-overwhelmed

Low-tech Reading Focus Cards - Customizable reading tools for physical books, documents & other applications (From $16.95)
http://www.focusandread.com/products

Reading Focus Cards App - Virtual index card-like reading tool to aid visual focus, tracking, fluency, comprehension & retention---infinitely customizable (Mac, PC-$5.99)
http://www.focusandread.com/page/488513590

OpenDyslexic - Font designed by Abbie Gonzalez to ease visual aspects of reading for dyslexia (FREE)
http://opendyslexic.org/

For more information about tools & resources for children & teens with ADHD, please visit:
www.FocusandRead.com Tools for struggling readers of all ages!
www.BrennanInnovators.com Info & support for struggling readers
314-892-3897

Image sources:
Brennan Innovators, LLC at www.focusandread.com AND
Pixabay.com at https://pixabay.com