Are there ways parents can help their children using learning resources, including textbooks, more effectively?

While the teacher is the main source of instruction, parents can often supplement the teacher's efforts to help their children gain the most from assignments.

Parents can begin to communicate with their child by:

  • Discussing school, class work and homework with him/her
  • Understanding the North Carolina Standard Course of Study for the child's grade or course, i.e., to understand what the student is expected to learn
  • Talking with the teacher to appreciate how the student is being instructed in the classroom
  • Understanding the developmental level of their child

Specifically parents can show interest and encouragement by asking some simple direct questions such as:

  • What is the assignment?
  • How can you figure out the answer?
  • What do you know?
  • What do you need to know?
  • What do you do first?
  • May I listen to you read?

By planning for textbook study, a student will find the material more "user friendly":

  • Look at the overall layout of the textbook.
  • In the beginning, look at the Table of Contents to see how the book is organized.
  • Look at an individual chapter's organization.
  • When starting a textbook assignment, develop a simple plan to proceed.

Some suggestions follow:

  • Read chapter preview questions, if any.
  • Or read review questions at end of selection before reading selection.
  • Read through the selection at least once.
  • Always pay attention to vocabulary words in bold or highlighted type.
  • Use illustrations (graphs, photographs, charts) to clarify content; do not forget to read the captions.
  • When finished, summarize the chapter or section.
  • Develop a content map, outline, or timeline so the student can organize for learning.
  • For fiction content, pay attention to plot, setting, and major characters and use prediction and summaries after each chapter.

Use the textbook as a springboard to help students make connections to "real world" experiences.

Understanding is increased when students can relate very general information provided in textbooks to their daily lives. Parents can help students to make this connection by asking questions that have application to the "real world."

Encourage students to use multiple sources for information and not limit their research or reading about a topic to only what is provided in the textbook. Encyclopedia and the worldwide web or Internet are good sources for additional information.