I think the number one phrase I hear from parents is, “What can I do to help my child at home?” My answer previous to this year has always been, “Read more, read to them, read with them, talk about your reading and practice the basic math facts.”
While I do strongly believe this is true and it certainly will help I had the thought today that the main issue that gets in the way of success is giving up. I told my students the other day that it is ok to lose. Progress is built off failures. Too often though when people fail, kids and adults, we just say well this is not for me.
The consequences of this mindset when it comes to school work is that when students are faced with a challenge in reading, and they are not prepared to do the work to solve the problem, they read less. When it comes to math they develop the “I am not good at math” attitude. Learned helplessness or the lack of perseverance I think is the biggest hurdle that is faced in the classroom and really even in adult life. We must learn that challenges make us stronger, make us better…as long as we are willing to get up after we fall, push through the hard parts and realize that we can do it!
I want my students to know that they can accomplish anything if they keep trying. I think that really is, deep down, what all teachers want their students to know at the end of the day. I can read the books that interest me, I can solve this math problem, I can do anything, if not today maybe tomorrow. That is what I want help with, getting that message to my students that they can climb a mountain if they want to, they just have to keep putting one foot in front of they other. Help them with that.
Reading to them/with them sure doesn’t hurt if you want to add that to the list as well 🙂