Reading & Standards

School Connections

Use every chance you have to talk to your child’s teacher. You are your child's first and most important teacher. You know your child better than anyone! You can help the teacher get to know your child.

What to expect through the grades

Looking at your child's work will help you know what he is learning and ask good questions. You can also ask the teacher what your child is learning so you can talk about it at home.

Instead of asking your child: "What did you do in school today?" try asking about something specific: "Your teacher told me you did a science experiment with a balloon today. What happened? What did you see? What did you talk about?"

In the primary grades, your child will most likely have one homeroom teacher. Having a positive relationship with this teacher is very important for your child. Research tells us that if your child has a good relationship with his teacher, he will behave better, get along better with his classmates, and do better in school!

If your child does not have a good relationship with his teacher, talk to him about it and then meet with the teacher. Talk through any misunderstandings or communication problems. Tell your child's teacher what works best with your child.

Ask your child how he feels about school and who his friends are. If your child has difficulty making new friends, ask his teacher for suggestions. You can also try to invite classmates over to play, or sign them up for activities together.

Start these habits now so you can help him feel happy at school for the rest of his life. Habits started in the early years of school are important as your child moves from grade to grade.

Read class newsletters and ask what your child is learning about in school. At this level, it is common for students to study "units" about different topics, such as geometry, Native Americans, or the water cycle. The units might take a few weeks to complete and are usually exciting for students. Find out what your child likes about each one and what she has learned. Ask what other questions she has about the unit. Go to the library and check out more books about the topic.

At this level, your child may have more than one teacher for the main subject areas like math, science, social studies, and reading and writing. This is in addition to teachers who teach special subjects (art, music, and physical education).

When your child has more than one teacher, it is important for you to understand what each of them expects of your child. You may be asked to meet with more than one teacher at conference time. Be sure to find out about your child's strengths or needs in each subject.

Continue to ask your child how she feels about school. Children in these grades often love going to school, learning new things, and talking about what they are learning. If your child is not feeling this way or not sharing a lot at home, be sure to talk to your child's teacher or your family doctor for ideas.

Talk to your child about her friends. Friendships can get tricky at this age, and your child might need help figuring out how to handle social situations.

Keep these conversations going so when she gets older she will feel comfortable talking to you about these topics.

Children in these grade levels are often learning about themselves. This is an exciting time, but also a difficult time for many children. Always try to talk to your child. Sometimes she will not want to (that's normal), but remember to try again later.

It is very important for you to continue to understand your child's work. Attend Back-to-School night, Open House, and other school events so that you know what your child is learning about. Conferences will help you understand your child's strengths and weaknesses and prepare for high school.

While children at this age want to be independent and will say that they don't need your help, they do. Doing well in middle school will lay a good foundation for high school!

When your child enters sixth grade, she will most likely have a different teacher for each of the main subject areas and may even go to different classrooms. For instance, she may have one teacher for science, one for social studies, one for reading and writing, and yet another one for math. Middle school and the chance to move from teacher to teacher help students prepare for high school.

This is a good time to help your child talk about things she likes to do. Help her think more about herself and what she is good at. Help her connect with subjects and activities that will make her feel proud.

Try asking, "What are your favorite parts of the day? Why?" Or ask about social opportunities at school, "Are there clubs or sports you can join at your school? What are you interested in? How do you join?"

When talking with your child’s teacher, share, ask, and connect. Click each area below for possible topics to discuss and questions to ask.

Be sure to SHARE what you know about how your child learns and what he or she loves to do.

Get ready to share information about your child with his or her teacher. It helps to talk to your child before you have a meeting with her teacher. You may use these questions as you talk with your child about school:

Ask your child:
  • What do you want the teacher to know about you?
  • What do you want me to know about what you are doing at school?
  • What do you think you are good at in school?
  • What do you think you need help in at school?
  • What is your favorite part of school? Why do you say so?
  • What concerns do you have in school?
  • What helps you learn the best?
When you speak with the teacher:
  • Share some of your child’s answers to those questions.
  • Share something interesting about yourself, too. The teacher is a part of your child's learning family, so get to know the teacher.
  • Share your email or phone number with each of your child’s teachers, even if you gave this information to the school office.
  • Share your goals for your child’s learning and future.
Be sure to ASK for information on how your child is graded, what he or she will be learning, and how you can help at home.

Questions you may have about your child’s social growth:
  • Does my child seem happy at school?
  • Does my child get along with others?
  • Does my child pay attention during class?
  • Does my child take part in class discussions?
  • Does my child interact with other children?
Questions you may have about your child’s academic growth:
  • What are my child’s strongest and weakest subjects?
  • Does my child’s work meet the expectations set for this grade?
  • Does my child’s reading meet the expectations set for this grade?
  • What can I do to help my child at home?
  • What can I do to help my child be a better reader?
  • Does my child need tutoring or additional help?
  • What can I do to be sure my child is ready for the next grade level?
Other questions you may want to ask:
  • If your child has work that you don’t understand, ask the teacher to explain it to you.
  • Ask how the teacher assesses homework.
  • Ask to look at your child’s records or grades. Ask about his or her progress.
  • How can I help at school?
Be sure to ask about ways to CONNECT HOME AND SCHOOL, ways you can look up grades, find out about homework, and call or email the teacher.

Questions you may have about communicating with the teacher:
  • What is the best way to contact the teacher? Email? Phone? Text message?
  • Ask how to view your child’s grades online, if available.
  • Will your child have a homework folder, notebook, and agenda for assignments? How often will she bring this home?
  • Will a calendar or letter come home each month from the school about school events?
Most importantly, let your child see and hear how often you talk with his or her teacher. Help your child see that you are a team, working together. After talking to your child’s teacher, talk to your child. Plan what you and your child need to do next. These questions may guide your discussion:
  • What are you the most proud of that was said?
  • Were you surprised about anything that was said?
  • How are we going to do the things your teacher suggested?
  • When can we work on these things each day?