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All our students know Diane Davis and her lesson time tips. She is our primary reading instruction specialist. Having worked with students of various ages over the last fifteen-plus years, she has come up with some pointers to help parents and students get the most out of their time with us. Even if you don't attend our classes, these ideas will help you get the most out of your instructional time, wherever it may be. After all, you are investing time and money to acquire a vital skill. Don't waste it!
1. Limit the amount of sugar intake before the lesson time. You will find that your child will be better able to focus and retain information. They will also be more attentive to the instructor. This is especially true if the student is hyperactive.
2. If the student tends to be be hyperactive, try to calm him or her down before coming to the lesson time. Some calming effects are soft music, looking at a picture book, and quiet activities. Some parents have found that half a cup of coffee and milk [no sugar] helps as well.
3. In line with point 2, limit strenuous activities before the lesson if possible. When a student is "wound up," it is hard for them to focus on what they are learning in a non-active environment. Having sports activities on a different day or after your reading lesson is better. If sporting or similar activities are before your lesson time, check to see if lessons could be scheduled on a different day.
4. Encourage the student on the way to their reading lesson. Help them to look forward to learning. Don't criticize or threaten to " motivate" them to do better in class. We have charts and snacks and try to make it fun, even though true learning is sometimes just plain hard work. Focus on the positive and on the accomplishments. Always build on strengths before working on weaknesses.
5. Make sure the student is getting enough rest. Overtired students are not able to work to their fullest potential.
6. Parents are welcome to sit in on classes. If the student is restless, a parent's presence may help them focus more on the material at hand. This also allows the parent to see what the student is learning in order to review and re-enforce the reading lesson at home.
7. When reading at home, remind students of the rules they are learning. A parent can also spell out words, ask the student to pronounce the word and then ask them to state what rules are being kept or broken. Repetition between actual lessons reduces the amount of time needed for review and helps the student progress through the material more quickly than would otherwise be possible.
8. Let your instructor know of your child's special interests or the books and movies he or she likes. If it is possible to weave these into the lesson, your child is more likely to be excited and interested in learning.
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