Learning Resources Offers Tips for Making the Most of Parent-Teacher Conferences
Vernon Hills, Ill., November 9, 2006 — Parent-teacher conferences are an annual fall ritual and one of the best ways for parents to get involved in their child’s education. The educational experts at Learning Resources, a leading manufacturer of hands-on educational products and toys for homes and classrooms, offers tips to parents for making the most of parent-teacher conferences.
“Studies show that students with involved parents are more successful,” says Wendy Zachrisen, a former teacher and now educational marketing manager at Learning Resources. “One of the ways parents can make a difference is by attending their child’s parent-teacher conference or scheduling a conference with their teacher.”
Zachrisen acknowledges that parents often feel that their roles at parent-teacher conferences are that of listeners rather than participants, but parents are an equal part of the equation and should participate actively.
“Parents should not hesitate to bring a written list of specific questions for the teacher,” says Zachrisen. “Also, be prepared to share information about your child’s academic strengths and weaknesses, as well as likes and dislikes.”
Other tips include:
- During the conference, ask about grade level subjects/curriculum, assessment or testing, homework and the teacher’s expectations for your child’s grades and discipline. Use the conference to express any concerns you may have and inquire about specific ways to help your child at home.
- Communicate with your child and be an active listener. It’s important to discuss her or his feelings and thoughts about school. If your child is struggling with anything socially or emotionally, then learning falls on the back burner.
- If you realize your child is having difficulty with a particular subject, don’t overreact. Find entertaining ways to extend learning at home. Innovative learning toys and fun games can turn dejected students into enthusiastic learners. For example, Learning Resources’ Reading Rods® Phonics Activity Sets (for ages 4-9+) help children learn essential reading skills (letters and sounds, word building, sentence building and spelling) through engaging activities and interesting topics.
- Parents can help children build math skills with Learning Resources’ Light ‘N’ Strike Math™ game. This arcade-style game makes practicing addition, subtraction, multiplication and division interactive and fun.
- Ask teachers how to choose books best suited for your child. Elementary school children should only read books independently that are aligned with their reading level. If children try to read more difficult books on their own, they will become discouraged.
- Don’t stop communication after the conference; communicate with teachers on an on-going basis. Many teachers and administrators have the ability to communicate via e-mail, or whatever method works best for you and the teacher.
According to Zachrisen, “The most important point for parents and caregivers to keep in mind is that when they develop an ongoing relationship with their child’s teacher and support their child’s learning in the home, they are going to make a huge difference in their child’s academic success.”