— Helene Goldnadel Classes

July, 2019 Monthly archive

Everybody wants their child to read well. The question is how can you help, right? Well, if you understand a few basic concepts, you’ll be able to evaluate your child’s reading skills and support their literacy goals just like a pro!


When checking to see how a child is reading, a good teacher looks at several key items that can tell some pretty important information of where that child is at with their reading development. Remember, to properly manage and instruct, we have to be able to measure progress. Evaluations help us with that.


First, before we begin, let’s take a look at the prize. Our goal is ultimately about the Big F…. That’s right, fluency. This is the grand prize. To achieve fluency, a lot of little steps have to occur and a lot of little parts need to work together.


Fluency? What does fluency really mean and how can we break it down for us enough to help our own child? Some might tend to think that fluency is about how fast somebody can read – how someone can go through the mechanics of decoding. While this is a partially correct, it’s certainly not the whole story.


Fluency is composed of two parts, the first of which may not sound too familiar – will be our biggest focus now: Automaticity. The word itself is mouthful, but it’s important so lets say it aloud again: Auto-ma-ti-city!


Automaticity simply refers to the speed and accuracy of word recognition and spelling. Achieving automaticity in the mechanics of reading and writing frees up a child’s brain for comprehension, the second part of fluency. And there you have it. Fluency equals automaticity and comprehension.


For now, let us focus on automaticity. Have you ever heard the axiom: “We’re learning to read, so we can read to learn”? Children are in fact learning to read, so that when they’re older they can read to learn about new and wonderful things.


Automaticity is the first step makes it all happen, and this is where you will be evaluating your child’s skills. (Now just for the record, comprehension skills are also simultaneously developing as well)


A good way to look at automaticity is like seeing the process that goes into developing a habit. We work on developing good habits during our learning time, our practice time, our reflection time, and our warm up times. Spending time explicitly learning the correct way becomes second nature or automatic after awhile.


Take for example an ice skating performer who beautifully twirls on the ice in front of large crowds. Though she makes it look easy and graceful, we didn’t see all the hours she spent, all the weeks and months she sacrificed in order to break down the parts of the routing in the smallest of units, so that when she expresses herself out on the ice, it’s automatic and beautiful. In fact, she performs most of her routine, without even thinking about it – with automaticity.


Here are a few key points by Helene Goldnadel to evaluate your child.


Be a good observer: What letters to do they have trouble sounding out or spelling? Make a note of them. Do they omit words when reading a sentence?


Don’t assess your child at his or her level of frustration: Try not to evaluate your child when she/he is at her point of giving up. You are evaluating in order to find the sweet spot of instruction, called the instructional zone.


Okay, now your evaluation will change as your child progresses, but here are a few tenets to keep in mind:


Phonological awareness: Observe your child’s ability to pay attention to and identify, and reflect on various sound segments of speech. Are they using blends correctly? (Blends are two letters joined together to make another sound, such as sl as in sling or fl and in flag.)


Consonant-Vowel Patterns: How is their use of consonants -vowel patterns shaping? For example, vowel patterns could be the ea as in team, ee as in seen, ai as in rain or train, and finally, ou as in shout. Make a note of these and review them when you are reading together.


Ultimately, there are a number of different ways to assess your child, but the best way to do this would be give your own spelling test, which is a lot easier done than said.


How would you do this? Well, write down twenty words that your child may or may not be able to spell. If you don’t know which words to use, look at one or more of their books and identify twenty from there. Then, give your child a blank sheet of paper and have him or her number the paper all the way up to the number twenty. Read the chosen words aloud and have your child spell the words out. If you wish, you can use the word in a sentence to help give your child a context for the word usage. Complete the spelling list and make your assessment. Mark which ones they missed and how they missed it. Did they leave out a letter, add in a letter, or omit a letter? Keep your child’s test and make the corrections. Keep the same word list and revisit the test in a couple of weeks. Again, make the corrections and repeat until all the words in the list are correct.


To strengthen your child’s skills with developing phonemic awareness and patterns, the use of flash cards can significantly help. Flashcards strengthen a child’s ability to sort, categorize, and recall information quickly – leading to automaticity. Follow these steps and you will be on your way to understanding where your child is and how you can support them in getting to where they need to be – fluency.


Also read: Childhood Exploration and The Benefits of Learning and Education

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Parents’ involvement in their child’s education is a key factor in the child’s scholastic success. It helps eliminate the cultural barrier that separates home from school.


The importance of involving parents in child’s education can be justified on several counts. First, parents have been rightly recognized as their children’s first teachers and role models. Experts suggest that parents’ attitudes and practices toward diversity influences and shapes children’s attitudes toward people who are different from themselves.


“Parents themselves are important teachers”, says Helene Goldnadel. Parents’ willingness to take the risks of displaying their own ignorance, when they don’t know something, working patiently to solve problems they face are some amongst the important part of teaching children. Playing with children and talking to them, even for a short period of time, is an important part of their learning. Trying new things is part of learning to teach. What a person knows is less important than what they do to find out new things.


When parents and children explore learning together, the experience of cooperation, family support, and excitement outweighs the problems of being tired, not having enough time and embarrassment. Education includes more than just being in the classroom. The information society requires more than basic education. It rewards creativity, the ability to work together, the ability to put information together in new ways, curiosity, questioning, and asking difficult questions.


Students’ participation in extracurricular activities like sports, school clubs, music, theatre is part of this development process and should receive as much support from parents as classroom work. Education often begins even before school i.e. at home. The demands of future work will place more emphasis on personal interaction and building close and collaborative interpersonal relationships which is almost a difficult task to achieve until and unless the same sort of environment is created at home.


Growing up has never been easy especially now in the new millennium amidst unprecedented prosperity, it has become more striving than ever. The cravings to know each and every fact of the existing world around him drives the inquisitive child to a stage of instability. During this stage the child cries for attention, help and love from the parents. This stage if ignored can prove to be lethal for the child.


Parents usually prefer to discuss only the career oriented issues with the child and rest of his cravings are considered as taboo. The child is always raised with pressures to excel in life. When children are young, parents marvel at their every little accomplishment but later the primal ambition left with the pushy parents is just to see their child topping the class. The grim epithet to the tormented lives of the children is the word ‘failure’. Sometimes the children express an inability to cope with the pressure to excel, frittering the dreams of their parents.


Examination fear, sibling rivalry, issues at school, warring parents, fear of punishment, distressed parents, divorce of parents are some of the prominent reasons roosting among the children which are making them vulnerable towards depression or a new world (without parents).


The escalating aspirations where the youth believes in achieving anything and the need of instant gratification makes the youth bully in nature. In such cases the refusals by the parents to accept the browbeating attitude of the child drives him away from them towards the world of destruction.


To safeguard the future of their child and to bridge the gap the parents have to bring a cluster of changes in their own behavior and personalities. The parents should ensure that the state of anguish being brought in the lives of their children by the inchoate emotional forces running rampant in the adolescent mind of the child should not go unheeded in any case or on the pretext of being a subject of taboo. Parents should also ensure that they are least absorbed in their own lives and career and try to spend the maximum time with their child.


On seeing their child scoring low or being flunked most of the parents are seen doing comparisons between their child and the other intelligent classmates of the child who scored the highest, such affronting creates despair in the child. Instead of doing comparisons, sermonizing the child to compete in today’s rat race and creating polarities, the parents should keep patience to hear and understand the child, entice the child for study and match the child with peer. They should try to ferret out the caliber of their child and help the child hone it up.


Some children do not want to grow up as they assume that adults have no fun in their life. They perceive all the adults in their life as stressed and permanently tired. Here too the parents should tend to talk to the child about what they enjoy by growing older, also to tell them that education is the best provision for the journey to the old age. Caring relationship has proved to be the most powerful disciplinary and learning tool for children. Parents have the most important and enduring relationship with their children. Children learn more from the home environment than any other thing.


Parents are the truest friend a child has, when trials heavy and sudden falls upon the child; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with the child during sunshine deserts him; when trouble thickens around him, still will parents cling to their child, and endeavor by their kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to the hearts of their child.


Being pragmatic the parents should establish a few family rules and should stick to them. If children learn to obey at home, it will be easier for them at school. Punishment for not following the rules should be non-physical. The follow ups of these little but primal elements in life by the parents and the teachers will not let the child get bogged down by anxiety, phobias, academic and socialization plights and can restore a happy life to thousands of children. These factors corroborate the statement that ‘the parents definitely have a role in proper education of their child’.

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One of the most important things for any child is a good education from an early age. They need to be taught social skills and learn to interact with their contemporaries and ideally teaching should begin in the home or a child education scheme – before the child starts pre-school.


Child Education Schemes


From the age of two a child can join one of the many schemes devoted to child development. Most of these schemes combine physical games and exercise with language skills and pre-reading activities.


For two to five-year-olds they offer a mixture of free play and structured games with the emphasis on fun. Games are non-competitive and focus on building the child’s confidence – a great advantage when they start school or pre-school.


For six to twelve-year-olds there are schemes that offer lots of different games and exercise. Exercises are disguised as games so the children are having fun while getting physically fit. Jumping rope and playing hula hoop are excellent physical exercise as well as being great fun. The professional staff are all fully trained in health and safety and you need have no fear for your child’s well-being.


In The Home


Of course parents have a large part to play in their child’s education. In the home it is important to play with the child, talk to them a lot and read to them to develop their language skills. Spending time with your child reciting nursery rhymes, pointing to pictures and letters in board books or playing with alphabet blocks will all help your child to start reading at an early age.


You will be surprised to find that your child will soon recognize the covers of their favourite books and will even pretend to be reading them using the words that they remember from your story telling sessions. It is a wonderful feeling when a child recognizes their first letter or word.


Providing colored crayons and paper or coloring books will help your child develop their writing and drawing skills. At first a child will just scribble but they will soon start to try and draw objects around them or copy letters.


The Best Start in Life


To give your child the best possible start in life it is probably best to combine a stimulating home environment with an education scheme. In the home the child gets your individual one on one attention. In the right scheme your child will learn to interact with their peers and work as part of a team in a socially acceptable way and they will develop their communication skills.


Also read: Helene Goldnadel on Developing Social Skills

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“Early childhood development is the foundation to everyone’s life”, says Helene Goldnadel. Nevertheless, each child has their own personalities and ways about them as well as similarities such as meeting developmental milestones in a relatively similar time in their lives from talking to walking.


Doctors tell parents not to compare their child with other children according to their early childhood development. One child might start walking at nine months and one might be 14 months. Both could be healthy yet have their own time schedule. Often children are around a year old when they are walking or at least starting to walk.


Taking notice of early childhood development is important though. If a child continues to miss milestones and aren’t meeting early childhood development there could be a problem. This is why doctors are parents observe these things. Talking, crawling and other important elements are important parts of development. Doctors will monitor a child. It could be the child is not sitting up on schedule, but they are doing other things related to gross motor skills, such as crawling and rolling over. It could be a sign of something or it could be the child is just skipping that part of development then it will come in eventually. Otherwise a child continues to be monitored and eventually tested to ensure they don’t have a disorder or condition that needs treatment.


Another part of early childhood development is fine motor skills. This includes the movements of their fingers, toes, lips, tongue and hands as well as their feet. Sometimes it might be something small that a parent doesn’t even notice could mean anything. An example is walking on their tiptoes. Doing this a little is normal, but constant tiptoe walking could indicate an issue. Giving complete answers to every question presented by the doctor and the nurse will help determine if there are any early childhood development disorders that need immediate attention.


Any child with a neurological disorder or sensory integration dysfunction can hear properly but process the information differently leading to confusion. Such children are hypersensitive or insensitive to any of the five senses or with all of the senses. Most of the early childhood development disorders are diagnosed by an occupational therapist, especially sensory processing disorder.


Speech skills and articulation are also parts of early childhood development. Your baby won’t be able to answer questions with words as they are still learning about speech. Parents are suggested to talk to their baby. They will learn to answer you even if it is only in babbles now then it will continue to actually words when getting older. A baby can articulate, even if they are not making words they are starting to make clear sounds, which leads to speech. Once they understand the proper sounds by listening they will be learning the correct pronunciation of every word. However, each child is different and may reach the required milestones within a flexible range of 3-4 months and sometimes that is what makes the diagnosis about late development so difficult.


Also read: A School Age Child Writing Activity by Helene Goldnadel

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