Helping your Middle Schooler in Language arts
One of the hallmarks of gifted students, traditionally, has been voracious reading. This is becoming more challenging in the face of technology devices, and the lack of time that parents have for reading, and thus the modeling of the importance of reading. Private schools for the gifted require independent reading at the rate of a book a week.
Our students often are good at "pretend" reading, or at developing strategies to find answers to questions in text, but they aren't reading for enjoyment or comprehension. So, what are some things you as parents can do to encourage reading?
Model reading yourself
It is somewhat hypocritical to insist on your child reading 45 minutes a night when you do not model that yourself. Find time to model the importance of reading:
Make yourself part of the reading
Be willing to read or listen to what your middle-schooler is reading
Evaluate print with your child
Talk about what you see in print. Any of these can lead to discussions and further research:
Limit and definitely monitor screen time
There is some research that suggests that video games are ok for brain connections, up to about half an hour. After that, there is nothing gained. A recent article about executives of technology companies revealed that they restrict their own children to very little technology use: Most did not allow their children screen time during the week at all or permit the use of devices in bedrooms.
Writing is often a high-stakes, high stress activity because so much of the assessment of what students know is done through their written expression.
Organization of Thinking
A well-organized response to any question, whether it is responding to a prompt in class, answering a high school or college test question, or answering an ad for a job, is the same structure: A claim backed up by at least three significant pieces of evidence, and a conclusion that leaves the reader with something more than just what is above. At the heart is organized thinking. You can encourage this logical thinking:
Model your own writing with your child.
Writing is time-consuming. Do it together:
Support your child's physical ability to write.
Please email me any suggestions or experiences you have had helping your gifted middle schooler to read or write more.