What Questions to Ask Your Child's Teacher Before Summer
As a teacher, I have observations and information about each student in my class. I write specific comments in the spaces provided on the report card. My intent is that this information will help parents support their children’s social and academic skills.
As a mother who is a teacher, I know that there is often additional information that could be helpful. Teachers aren’t trying to keep secrets, but sometimes there is just a lack of time, especially at the end of the year. Because of this, I decided to ask these five questions and I was glad that I did!
1. What is my son’s specific reading level?
It is important to find out your child’s independent reading level. This level is their “just right” level. Reading books at this level will help with reading expression, fluency and comprehension. The next level higher would be their “instructional level.” This means that there are some reading errors, but the reader understands most of the content. A child needs some help figuring out those unknown words in books at their instructional level; but with support, this would be a good book to practice.
2. Are there friendships that we should encourage over the summer?
If you have the opportunity to volunteer in your child’s class, you probably already know the answer to this question. If you can’t be in the classroom, this is important information to learn. By asking this question, I found out the names of five classmates who are a good match for my son. Knowing this, I will now contact those parents to set up play dates.
3. Are there any areas that are not academic, which we should practice?
I wasn’t surprised to find out that my son struggles with personal responsibility. Some students require extra assistance with time management, organization, and cleaning up after themselves. While these are not subject related, these skills can affect a child’s ability to succeed if they are not developed.
I have already decided that my son will write his own packing list for our summer getaways and he will have additional chores during the summer months. My hope is that focusing on personal responsibility now, will help develop these needed skills for the upcoming year.
4. Knowing a bit about next year’s curriculum, is there anything that my child should practice?
Although my son meets the grade-level standards for writing, he doesn’t have a lot of stamina for writing longer pieces or working through all the steps of the writing cycle. After learning this, I will have him select a few topics that we will research together. Using the iPad will allow him to practice his writing skills with less frustration; correcting errors or including additional information electronically instead of erasing.
As a teacher, I do suggest that parents familiarize themselves with next year’s science/social studies content so that they can do a bit of pre-teaching. Reading a book or seeing a science exhibit on a topic that will be covered, can help a student feel more prepared when the teacher starts those discussions.
5. Did I miss anything?
There might be something that isn’t necessarily assessed with the report card, but the information could be helpful. Is there anything else that consistently kept him from being his best? Were there social issues that impacted friendships? Did you notice any specific interests that I might not know about?
Everyone wants to relax over the summer, but knowing this information, and spending some time preparing, could be just what is needed to help your child have an easier time returning in the fall and a successful school year.