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.


8 Tips to Help Grade-Schoolers with Learning and Attention Issues Slow Down on Homework-by Kate Kelly, Understood.org

10 Homework Tips for ADHD Children-by Eileen Bailey, HealthCentral.com

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

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)

2. Beginning Spelling App for Word Study by This Reading Mama
($4.99-for Android & iPad, iPhone & iPod)

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)

5. Reading & Spelling Programs -compiled by DyslexiaHelp, University of Michigan
(Various prices for Android & Apple)

6. The Reading Focus Cards Desktop App ($5.99-for Macs & PCs)

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

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