Reading & Writing
Read and circle. Mom Julie Murray helped her kids improve their comprehension by previewing questions before reading a story. Have your child circle important words in the questions, like "Make a list" or "Who is the main character?" Then, when he reads the passage, he should circle the answers to the questions. Now your child is ready to respond.
Talk it out. If your child's an auditory learner, encourage him to whisper the reading section to himself or mouth the words, says Richard Bavaria, Ph.d., senior vice president of education outreach for Sylvan Learning Centers. "The information will stick in his memory more effectively," he says.
Play detective. Improve your child's focus by asking him to sleuth out the "five W's and one H" (Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How) in every reading passage. If your child finds these "main clues" and highlights or circles them, he should be able to easily "solve," or answer, important questions.
Ace the essays. Help your child make up essay questions to practice answering. Create a "mind map" or web. For example, if the question is "What can you do to help the environment?" your child would write that in a center circle. Around it, she can jot her ideas in additional circles, such as "Pick up litter." Once she's drafted all her options, she'll write them in a paragraph, from most important to least.