4th Grade Language Arts
· Encourage Reading
Find ways to encourage your child to read independently. Make sure that they have the time and space to devote to reading and that they have plenty of material to read for fun. Take him to the library regularly.
· Use Technology to Encourage Reading
Learn how to use technology to help develop your 4th grader’s growing interest in reading. There is a large selection of online books for children, many with interactive features such as animations or voice recording. You can also encourage their interest in reading by helping him find online sites about topics that interest him.
· Discuss What Your Child is Reading
Ask your child about the books they are reading, both in school and for fun. Try to ask probing questions that go beyond having him just relate the action in a book. Ask about the themes of what they are reading and encourage him to summarize what they are reading and discuss it with you.
· Set an Example for Good Reading Behavior
Continue to model good reading behavior by discussing what you are reading. If you’ve just read an interesting magazine article, tell your child what you learned from it.
· Foster Effective Arguing
Encourage your child to learn to make a good argument. If your child wants the privilege to do something that they have not previously been allowed to do, have him present an argument for doing so. Make sure your child can back up the claims they are making. If your child says that all their friends are allowed to do something, ask him to substantiate that claim.
· Discuss the News
Engage your child in a discussion about the news stories you see on television or hear on the radio while you’re in the car. She should be developing the skills that will make her an informed and discerning consumer of information. By discussing what is happening in the world, you can explain why certain issues are important and share your values with your child.
· Find Reasons to Write
Real writing can happen all the time, both inside and outside school. Help your child find useful reasons to write outside school: A letter of complaint about a broken videogame, an invitation to a get-together, or a request for information about a sporting event. Make writing connected to real life and not just an exercise.
· Use a Favorite Story
Most children have a favorite story that they ask their parents to tell them over and over again, maybe about the day they were born or the time a special event took place. Encourage your 4th grader to write this story down and to make a book about it. It could be illustrated with photos and could become a lasting family keepsake.
· Play Vocabulary Games
Make a game out of broadening your child’s vocabulary. Choose five unfamiliar new words for him to learn each week and see how often everyone in the family can use those words in everyday conversation. This will help improve your 4th grader’s vocabulary, reading comprehension, and speaking skills.
· Play Storytelling Games
A fun game to play in the car or home that can involve the whole family is “what happens next.” Everyone should name a different object and then one person begins telling a story using all of these words. The next person must continue the story, picking up from where the last person stopped, while using at least one of the named objects, and having the story make sense as it continues. The silliness of where the storyline goes, combined with the use of the imagination, is a fun way to practice important listening and thinking skills.
4th Grade Math
· Encourage a Positive Attitude Toward Math
It’s around this age that many youngsters become discouraged by math and begin to think of it as a subject they’re just not good at. Be aware of this and try to prevent your child from developing a defeatist attitude toward math. Encourage him to stick with it when a problem appears difficult and to approach it in different ways.
· Read Math Problems Out Loud
If your child is struggling with math problems, have him read each problem out loud slowly and carefully, so your child can hear the problem and think about what is being asked. This helps him break down the problem and come up with problem-solving strategies.
· Integrate Math into Everyday Activities
Continue to find ways to integrate discussion of math concepts such as “times as much” into your everyday activities. Compare the weights of your 4th grader and their siblings, or the family pet. Figure out how many times your cat’s weight your child weighs, and how many times your child’s weight their father weighs.
· Keep an Eye Out for Math Concepts
Encourage your child to spot examples of some of the math concepts they are learning about. See how many right angles or right triangles your child can spot. Or have him look for parallel lines, such as train tracks or pillars in a building.
· Highlight How Math is Used in Cooking
Baking and cooking are among the best ways to familiarize your 4th grader with how fractions work. Having him help out in the kitchen also reinforced valuable sequencing skills and time management concepts.
· Practice Math in the Car/Walking
When you have a long trip to take in the car and your child asks how long until you get there, have him answer the question themselves by using math. Tell him how fast you’re traveling and how far away you are, and see if they can estimate how long it will take you to arrive.
· Use Math in House Projects
Encourage your child to use their math skills for projects around the house. If you’re wallpapering or carpeting, for example, have him calculate wall or floor areas and figure out the total cost of various materials.
· Encourage Math Appreciation Through Sports
Sports provide a fun and engaging way of exploring a host of mathematical concepts, starting with basic addition. The halves of a soccer game or the quarters of a football game offer an illustration of how fractions work in the real world. If your son enjoys a sport, encourage him to explore it through math.
· Encourage Music Appreciation
Music is a great way for your child to engage with concepts related to math. Practicing an instrument means learning about tempo, measure, and meter—all of which involve math.
· Play Family Games
Plenty of family games incorporate math. Tic tac toe, Connect Four, many card games, and dominoes are just some of the games that help build strategic thinking and math skills.