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Archive for June, 2017

4 Ways to Set up Your Child for Reading Success

Reading success

Children who come to school with rich experiences in oral language are better equipped to manage the complex skills needed for reading and writing. While all children can benefit from oral language experiences, they are especially important for children in the early elementary years or those beginning kindergarten in the fall.

Here are 4 ways to improve your child’s oral language skills this summer:

Modify screen time. We know that screen time has a place in both learning and fun but when are children are on screens they aren’t engaging in conversation. In the summer, it’s easy to lose track of time and be more flexible with the routines of the school year. Consider limiting screen time or chunking up the time throughout the day by using a timer or creating a screen time schedule.

Tell stories. Storytelling is a wonderful way to build your child’s oral literacy. Oral stories rely on playing with tone and volume to help evoke the power of emotions. As children learn to tell stories, they’ll naturally bring what they learn to their reading and writing. Get cozy and sit around making up silly stories or retell old favourites!

Play I-Spy. This classic game is perfect for road trips or just to fill a few moments with fun. Children love to try to stump their siblings and parents by choosing challenging items for them to find. I-Spy is a no-fuss way to get children talking, asking questions, and using descriptive language.

Play Charades. Charades is another game that all generations can enjoy. Keep it simple and give children the category before you start acting out your clues. This game encourages conversation, enhances questioning skills and is old-fashioned fun.

Have you noticed a theme to our oral language tips? Growing this skill is all about engaging children in conversation with a variety of opportunities to speak.

Posted in: English Tutoring

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Fun Early Learning Activities to Combat the Summer Slide

summer early learning activities

Summer learning doesn’t need to be boring! Although including some element of a learning routine into summer plans is a great way to prevent the summer slide, it’s possible to have fun, be outdoors and foster academic skills, too. We have four early learning activities for the little learner in your household:

Create a maker space in your backyard. Go on a hunt through your house for any materials that could be used outdoors to create a maker space for your children. This space promotes learning through play as children experiment, create, invent and learn using ase a variety of  tools and materials in a safe manner (e.g., batteries, wires, gears, wood, tools, paper etc).

Write lists. Asking your child to write a whole letter or story can be overwhelming at the best of times but in the summer it may lead to some moaning. Writing a list is a simple way to get children to write frequently. Encourage your child to start each day with a list of things to do including any academic work or chores you want them to accomplish. This will give them a purposeful agenda to their day that will keep them from saying they’re bored and help them practice time management.

Introduce DEAR time. Many children will be used to the DEAR, Drop Everything and Read, acronym from school. This is a time each day where the child stops whatever they are doing and reads for a designated amount of time. At school, the teachers often also join in the reading fun to be a reading role model. Choose a specific time each day or surprise your child by calling out DEAR time. After all, reading everyday is one of the best ways to prevent the summer slide. Make the transition to DEAR time easy by keeping a selection of books in different areas of the house so they always have something to read. Consider making an outdoor reading space using a tent and pillows a reality, too.

Stock up on sidewalk chalk. Sidewalk chalk can be used for tons of outdoor learning.

  • Write about the letters of the alphabet and have your child hop on them and say their name aloud
  • Call out math facts and have your child write the answers
  • Write rhyming words on the fence and encourage your child to draw the pictures that go along with them

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The Ultimate Summer Booklist for Elementary Kids

Summer Reading

Reading is the best way to prevent the summer slide and with the countdown on to the holidays, it’s time to make a book list with your child. Head to the bookstore to fill up your bookshelves now or take a trip to the local library to reserve your choices.

Here are some of the books that are on our summer booklist for elementary school kids including a family read-aloud:

Ready, Set, Go!

Written by Robert Munsch, Illustrated by Michael Martchenko

For ages: 4-8

Fans of Robert Munsch will be delighted to discover a new book to add to their collection. This athletic adventure is perfect for the months ahead when families participate in for charity walks, races, and marathons. Follow Miranda as she unintentionally enters the big race while trying to help her dad.

This Book Stinks! Gross Garbage, Rotten Rubbish, and the Science of Trash

Written by Sarah Wassner Flynn, Illustrated by National Geographic Kids

For ages: 8–12

This clever resource from National Geographic Kids is perfect for the child who loves learning fascinating facts. They can read about the world of waste with tons of stinky statistics and stories that will be sure to educate and entertain. It may even inspire your child to become a planet champion by reducing their rubbish.

Toronto ABC

Written and Illustrated by Paul Covello

For Ages: Baby-5

This book may be written with the youngest Torontonians in mind but we think all city kids will love this book about their very own city. A is for AGO, B is for Blue Jays, C is for Casa Loma, and the list goes on. This book might just be all the inspiration you need to plan family field trips all summer long.

Reading aloud benefits children even after they can read on their own. They strengthen their listening comprehension with the added benefit of bonding with you over a good book.

Our choice for a family read aloud this summer is, Wonder by R.J. Palacio (For ages: 8 and up). This beautiful novel about a fifth grader Auggie Pullman, born with facial differences and his quest to fit into his new school. This story is centred on themes of bullying, compassion and kindness. It will touch your soul and stimulate meaningful dialogue and conversation at the same time. Read it before it comes out in theatres in the fall.

While you getting books for your child, don’t forget to pick up ones for yourself. Let your child see the joy that reading brings by being a reading role model by enjoying books, magazines, and newspapers.

Posted in: English Tutoring

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Algebra Help – Strategies to Solve Problems

Algebra Help

Help with Algebra is one of the most common math tutoring requests we receive.

Algebra does not have to be as challenging as it looks.    And the good news is for every problem there is always a solution.

Here are some strategies for students to succeed when they start to learn this topic:

1) Ensure you are strong with the math basics like adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing.

2) Know your math order of operations with BEDMAS (B-brackets. E-exponents. DM-multiply or divide)

3) Understand the difference and impact of negative numbers with arithmetic.

4) Keep word problems organized with these strategies

5) Look for non-number symbols like x,y,z, etc, which are called variables.   Although they look scary, variables are mainly a way to show numbers where the value is unknown.  Try to visualize that some number is in the variable’s place and your goal is to solve it.   Other variables like pi (π) are constants.

6) If a variable appears multiple times, try to simplify it like they are numbers.  For example: y + y = 2y.  The only caveat is you do not combine variables that are different.  For example A + B does not equal 2AB.

7) Try to isolate the variable as best as possible through adding or subtracting similar numbers to both sides of an equation.

8) Use checks to ensure your work is correct.  The best way to do this is plug the answers for your variables into the initial equation(s) and see if all of the equations equal each other.  If not, review your problem again to see where you may have made an error.

Posted in: Math Tutoring

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Read the North to Celebrate Canada’s 150

Read the North - Canada 150

The countdown is on to Canada’s big birthday celebration and we can’t think of a better way to celebrate than choosing to #ReadtheNorth everyday with Canadian books from Indigo.

Since the weather is warming up, why not gather your favourite books and then head outdoors? Create a cozy space by setting up a tent and fill it with blankets, pillows and of course, books! Whether it’s a rainy afternoon or a sunny day, designate a time every day to head to the tent for reading.

As a child, our President, Joanne Sallay, reached for Anne of Green Gables, set in Prince Edward Island, over and over again. It’s a Canadian classic novel series by L.M. Montgomery.

Thanks to Indigo, we’re excited to be giving it away along with four more books by Canadian authors. Everyone in the family will have something to read from this collection!

1 x The World Needs More Canada

1 x Life of Pi

1 x Anne of Green Gables

1 x Canada ABC

1 x Who Goes Moo?

Entering is simple. You can win the #ReadTheNorth summer package by entering below! We’ll announce the winner on June 9th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

After you enter to win, check out four more suggestions to maximize the Canada 150 fun and learning all summer long.

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