Listen to their reading, read with them, read to them!

Parents are always asking our Coaches “how can I help my child to read better?” Well, the answer is simple – read to and with them. There is no shortcut or easy answer for this type of challenge. The best thing a parent can do is set aside reading time every single night to listen to their child(ren) read. Sit with your child and watch them read the words off of the page. Help them to sound out and pronounce any words they are having trouble with and make sure to ask questions. Asking questions is a great way to tell if your child is reading words or reading and understanding material!

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We also suggest two reading sessions on Saturdays and Sundays, one in the morning and one at night. The first reading session in the morning should be the same as weekday reading; your child should read for an hour to you and while sitting next to you. The night reading session, however, has to be different. This is when your child should be listening to you read. Why? It does help with the development of understanding information delivered to them and it helps them understand reading patterns and breathing patterns.

As a society, we are always looking to work smarter, not harder- which is why various apps are so popular. The problem is that working smarter not harder often skips the experience needed to get from point A to point B. If you need more tips on how to help your child spend more time reading, or how to parent a challenged reader, please contact us! We are here to help!

Snow Days should not be days off!

Snow days are often do-nothing-days. Why? It’s a weekday off of school but this doesn’t mean that your child can’t study at home. Snow days mean it isn’t safe or advised to go outside and travel to school, but it doesn’t mean it is dangerous to read, write or practice math. But they kids want to have fun…

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Learning doesn’t have to be boring. We here at Success Ladder Academy work to engage children. If they’re bored, they’re not focused. So, if there is an opportunity to teach-at-home during a snow day, we suggest you embrace it as a parent.

Here are five ways to help snow days steer clear from off days:

Hide spelling words around the house and have a treasure hunt. Once the child finds the word, they have to bring it to the parent and then spell the word with his or her eyes closed. The winner is the child with the most found and correctly spelled words.
Watch a movie and then have the child write a two-page synopsis of it. This helps the child stay engage with the movie, as well as promotes writing and spelling skills.
Cook lunch! Having a child help read a recipe promotes following directions. Measuring food for the recipe works on math skills. Cooking the recipe helps them learn independence and chef skills!
Pick a famous historical place and then build it as a box or pillow fort. This will help your child research and learn about historical events. As a bonus, have the child reenact a scene from history.
Clean with baking soda and vinegar. This has to be done in a well-ventilated area and with supervision. You can Google more on this exercise or call us at the Academy for information on this science lesson!

How to make your child’s academic resolutions achievable

One of the big things we focus on at Success Ladder Academy are goals. Understanding not only why goals are important in life, but how to achieve them, will help students throughout their lifelong learning efforts.There are three main ways to help your child reach any type of goal, especially academic resolutions.

 

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First, write it down and put it on the refrigerator at their eye level. Sure, you might think this is silly, but it works. The more we look at our goals, the more we send a subliminal message to ourselves that we are working towards something. Even if the sign becomes white-noise, on a subconscious level, that sign is working.

Second, set-up milestones. Having a goal or a resolution isn’t enough. Children need a roadmap to meet goals and they should be part of creating that roadmap. We suggest sitting down with your child and explaining what milestones are (don’t assume they understand the concept) and then create a list of steps that need to be taken to reach the resolution or goal. Next, put those steps into milestones with actual deadlines.

Finally, set-up consequences for missed milestones. We often focus on rewards with children. While this could work for a while, it also presents a dangerous lesson that children should be rewarded for doing what they are supposed to do. In life, we adults are not rewarded for meeting deadlines at work. However, we are reprimanded if we miss deadlines. Setting up consequences for missed milestones not only helps children meet their goals and fulfil resolutions, but it better prepares them for real-world situations that will arise later on in life.

Have questions? Let’s discuss your questions or concerns. Contact Success Ladder Academy today!

Cold weather activities to keep the brain going

It’s cold and raining and snowing and the kids are home, sitting on the couch, not sure what to do. There is only so much social media one can take. And so, boredom sets in and then snacking sets in and then lounging. This doesn’t have to be your child. There are ways to engage children on bad weather or cold weather days that will stimulate them, keep them out of the fridge, and improve their brain function.

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We love the idea of a treasure hunt that is based in educational quiz questions. By setting ten minutes aside for yourself to launch this game, you are keeping your children busy while learning. Regardless if you use math or history questions, placing questions to get clues around your home will kick-off the fun. The prize should be a trip to RedBox or something simple that will continue to keep your children busy after the treasure hunt!

Another great idea is baking. Since baking is like a science with required measuring and math, you’re teaching your child two skills at once and there is sweet treat at the end of the activity. We like the idea of boxing up the baked goodies to bring to senior center or assisted living homes, too. There is another valuable lesson about service and volunteering here.

Invent a game. Have your children invent a no social media, no digital media, no batteries game. If you only have one child, this can be rewarding and you can invite his or her friends over to play the game when it is done. Or, if you have more than one child, you can judge a competition for the “best” game with prizes. Make sure you create multiple win categories so no child is left out from a win. Each effort should be rewarded so you can reuse this technique on another day. Plus, the games become keepsake memories that make perfect “regifts” for grandchildren later on in life.

Have questions? Let’s discuss your questions or concerns. Contact Success Ladder Academy today!

Top Mistakes Parents Make

You’re a parent. You’re not perfect, but maybe you wonder about what you could be doing better or what mistakes you’re making when it comes to your child’s education. Well, after receiving various questions re: this subject, our staff decided to sit down and address the issue.

The truth is – sometimes our children fail or lag behind because parents intend to do one thing and end up on the wrong leadership path. That’s why we have decided to list the top 3 things parents do that could be considered education-based mistakes.

  1. Thinking bad grades are a phase or the teacher’s fault. Sure, it could be a hormone based phase or a bad teacher (they do come in and out of all of our lives) that are causing bad grades, but this isn’t usually the issue. There always tends to be something different and it is almost always a learning disability or a learning style issue at the root cause.  Brushing off bad grades as a phase or a teacher shouldn’t be the new norm. Instead, we encourage parents to take this seriously and investigate the cause.
  2. Assuming you have all the homework and that everything is all-good. Parent involvement shouldn’t be relying upon your children as a way to check into what is going on with their education. Kids forget and get distracted or downplay assignments. As a parent, being involved directly with teachers, tutors, or Academic Success Coaches is the best way to stay in the loop and ensure your children are really getting homework down and not just memorizing the material- but understanding it!
  3. Too much praise. This one is a bit controversial. Children should be nurtured and praised. But when that praise becomes too much, why reach a goal? Why work through something hard? When praise is handed out without measurable growth, what does it become? We have found that children who are overly praised tend not to understand the value of education and it becomes an even harder adjustment for them (in school and in life) as they get older and have to meet the standards of goals that are not easy to achieve. Overly praised children tend to not adjust well when incidents of failure happen – and they do happen. Understanding praise earned is a great reward for children. Praising children for every little thing has been shown to actually harm self-esteem and self-motivational habits later on in life.

 

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Why Tutoring as you know it… Isn’t The Answer

Have you ever asked yourself if traditional tutoring is worth the investment? The truth is, it isn’t. Traditional tutoring is the aspirin of the education world. It offers momentary relief but doesn’t truly heal anything. Other remedies do the healing. The same goes for challenges within school. Tutoring doesn’t address why a child is behind or struggling. Tutoring doesn’t identify core issues, like learning disabilities, learning styles, or behavioral challenges, which need to be addressed to solve lifetime learning processes.

Focusing on not just what a student learns, but how a student learns is how the entire staff at Success Ladder Academy helps. We offer current solutions to the aging issue of tutoring. Become a lifelong learner has its own ecosystem that should be nurtured, especially if disabilities, alternative learning styles, or behavioral issues are involved. The root of the challenge has to be addressed to make education a positive experience. And by addressing the issue now, the child’s professional career will be impacted later in life too.

We focus on executive function and executive learning. This identifies the part of the brain that takes all the information that comes in through the roots and organizes it for learning. If a student has problems with organization, planning, and reasoning (or executive function skills) it will affect school performance, and tutoring doesn’t bring these factors into play.

Tutoring also is school- at least it looks like it! Engaging students shouldn’t look like school. Learning takes place outside of a school setting, as it does in the setting. We help Academic Coaching become fun and enjoyable by taking a unique approach that can’t be offered with tutoring.

This said, we have put together a few tips to help you recognize if your child may need more than simple tutoring. They are listed below:

  • Avoids work
  • Yawns all the time when listening
  • Tries really hard for minimal outcome
  • Struggles to sound out words
  • Can’t remember months, days, math facts, spelling words
  • Can’t follow more than one or two directions at a time
  • Is inconsistent with math processes; can’t find or correct math errors; doesn’t understand how numbers work
  • Struggles to read, write, or spell
  • Is uncoordinated, awkward, or has poor posture

If your child has any or all of the above listed behaviors, it may be time to stop considering tutoring and start considering Academic Coaching.

Challenges for Children

Teacher Kyle Redford shared a heartbreaking letter to his future students and their parents on his most recent blog. It reads, “Children with learning challenges, particularly dyslexia, have taken to the internet to share letters they have written to their new teachers, communicating their hopes and dreams for the upcoming school year. In these poignant and frequently unsettling appeals, students wish to remind teachers they are trying (even when it may not look like that), that they are smart and capable (even if they struggle with certain skills), and that they have high aspirations for their own learning (which they hope their teachers will share). Implied in this letter are previous teacher failures that prompted students to share in this way.” I understand exactly where Mr. Redford was coming from. At Success Ladder Academy, our staff has experienced exactly what he penned on his blog; past teacher failures that impact the current Academic PTSD for children. Are you aware of how teachers have failed your children in the past? Most kids don’t talk about it until you ask…

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Pressure to be Perfect

Do you expect your student to be perfect? If so, take a look in the mirror. We all have flaws. As people, as professionals, and as parents. We are flawed and yet we put a crazy amount of pressure on our kids once they enter school and become students.  The parents who come through my “tutoring” (Academic Success Coaching) program are really there to encourage their children or help them work on their flaws. They know perfection will never be achieved (it can’t be) but that improvements and measurable growth are possible. Children have different learning styles and we have to respect and adapt to this- it shouldn’t be the other way around. More so, creative thinking helps students understand what they read and helps improve their journey throughout life and school- yet we are primarily focused on math and perfectionism. Why? My school is here to help students, not perfect them. We look at all the subjects, not just math, and continue to develop a way for students to exceed their own expectations as well as master subjects that may be challenging to them.

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Academic PTSD

Academic Post Traumatic StAcademic Stressress Disorder (PTSD) was described to me this week by a parent who signed up for our Academic Success Coaching program. It is phrased as “What happens when a child has one learning style and is forced to conform to a rigid, across-the-board school system dictated by a national program.” It goes beyond that even further; parents are fearful of the qualifications of the teachers assigned and entrusted to raise their children, for six to seven hours a day, with enriched skillsets.  Their kids’ college careers depend on the teachers assigned to oversee their education and it is traumatic for both the parent and the student should something go wrong. A great teacher can make a difference, a bad teacher can traumatize a student’s life-long potential. So, yes – Academic PTSD is very real.

 

Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day 2015

Since 1992, millions of children have spent the day at their mother’s or father’s workplace to see what they do every day and to experience the responsibilities of a job and a career, but this year’s “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day” on April 23rd will be a little different.

This special day was founded originally as Take Your Daughter to Work Day by Gloria Steinem of Ms. Foundation, and expanded formally in 2003 to include boys, and has now become an institution both here in the U.S. and in other countries.

But what happens to children who aren’t as fortunate to have moms or dads who are working or no parent at all?  This year the White House is leading the charge on encouraging companies and other organizations to reach out to these children to include them in the day’s events, and is opening the White House gates in the D.C. community who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity.

“Every year, lots of kids are left out,” President Obama said in a web video, announcing the new twist to the long-held tradition of parents bringing their kids to work for a day. “Maybe they’re foster kids, or homeless, or struggling in school, or their parents don’t have jobs that allow them to bring their kids to work.”

“We’re asking employers across the country to reach out to young people in your community who don’t have a workplace to visit,” Obama said. “Invite them to spend the day with you. Show them what you do every day – and tell them that, with hard work and determination, they can do it too.” And companies throughout New Jersey and the tri-state area are doing just that, reaching out in non-traditional ways to include children who might not otherwise be involved.

This year’s theme established by the Take our Daughters and Sons to Work Foundation emphasizes the importance of educating and empowering today’s youth and is using this visual message to make it memorable:

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Parents or employers can learn more about relevant activities and ideas by visiting the Foundation’s website at www.daughtersandsonstowork.org

At Success Ladder Academy™, we emphasize the importance of a strong foundation to help children and teens realize their full potential in school, in their future career, and in life in general. Through a unique combination of Academic Success Coaching™ coupled with character development activities, we help children succeed and discover the possibilities associated with a balance of academic and life skills. Success Ladder Academy™ truly believes in this year’s theme for Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day that Knowledge is the key to empowering children in their lives!

You can call Success Ladder Academy™ for more information at 908-829-3173.