5th Grade Language Arts
· Save Favorite Books
Don’t be too quick to store away or discard books that your child enjoyed when they were younger. Plenty of older kids love to revisit their early favorites.
· Visit the Library
Visit the library often with your child. Help their sign up for a library card and encourage them to borrow books regularly. Set a target for the number of books your 5th grader will read in a year and reward them with a special treat if they reach their goal.
· Encourage Reading A Range of Materials
Provide books that match your child’s interests and encourage them to read in a variety of formats, including comics and magazines, and online books. Ask your child’s teacher about their reading level and seek out corresponding material. Reading level is often indicated on the back of paperback books, although several formats are used. RL5 means reading level 5, while 5.2 is a bit more specific, meaning a level equivalent to 5th grade, second month. Some publishers also use age guidelines, with 009-0011 meaning a book is appropriate for ages 9 to 11. You can always ask your librarian for guidance.
· Read Aloud
You should continue reading aloud to your child as long as you both still enjoy the experience and you have the time. By this point, reading aloud should be a much more collaborative experience than it was when they were younger. You could take turns reading pages or have their do most of the reading. Reading aloud has been shown to build reading comprehension and a strong vocabulary, so try to continue providing this experience for your child, even if it’s through books on tape that you listen to together in the car.
· Discuss Reading
Talk to your child about what they are reading. Ask them to tell you what a book is about and who the main characters are. Ask her what she’s enjoying about the book. Having your 5th grader talk about what she’s reading prompts her to analyze the text as she’s learning to do in school and to ask the kinds of questions that are being discussed in class.
· Discuss Different Points of View
Your child’s classroom discussion of reading is starting to focus on how different points of view can influence and shape perceptions. You can help develop their understanding of this concept with your conversations at home, whether you’re talking about what happened that day at school or about stories that are on the news. Ask them to tell you not just what happened, but why your child thinks someone acted in the way they did.
· Discuss Familiar Stories Through Different Points of View
Make a game out of exploring different points of view in familiar stories. Follow the example of The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, by John Scieszka, a popular book that tells the well-known tale of the destruction of the pigs’ houses from the viewpoint of the wolf. According to this book, it turns out the wolf just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and ended up being blamed for poorly timed sneezes. See how inventive your child can be at coming up with alternate versions of other children’s favorites. This is a fun way to pass time in the car.
· Look Up Answers
When family conversation leads to questions that require looking up an answer, challenge each person to use a different print or digital resource to quickly find an answer to the question.
· Spot Metaphors and Similes
As your child learns about new concepts like metaphors (He has a heart of gold) and similes (She’s busy as a bee) make a game out of identifying examples in everyday conversation, on television or in print.
· Find Writing Projects
Keep an eye out for fun projects that involve writing. If your child put together a family tree when they were younger, your child can update it with a companion piece of writing in which your child provides short biographical entries about each person. your 5th grader can make these as simple or as lengthy and involved as your child likes.
· Use Social Media to Practice Writing
If your family uses social networking sites, such as Facebook, ask your child to become a regular contributor to status updates. Writing short summaries of important family events or weekly activities will help their practice their writing skills and develop good social networking skills. Make sure to check your daughters’ posts and to discuss concerns about content or language that you have with her.
5th Grade Math
· Highlight Real-World Uses of Math
As the math they’re learning becomes more complicated and less obviously connected with their everyday experience, some children start to develop math anxiety. It’s important to keep your child engaged with math and to help her understand the real-life applications of the concepts she’s learning in school. Coming up with a budget for back-to-school supplies or for a monthly allowance is one way for them to practice addition and subtraction. Asking them to help you with cooking or baking shows them how fractions work. Helping you calculate prices when you’re grocery shopping is also a good practice.
· Help Prepare for Math Class
Help your child reduce stress over math by familiarizing them with the concepts they will be covering in class. Ask their teacher for a syllabus and refer to this to preview each evening the material that will be covered in the following day’s math class. Skim over these pages with them. No need to spend time working out the meaning of concepts or trying sample problems, although you can consult the glossary for definitions of unfamiliar words. Even this slight increase in familiarity with the terms that will come up the next day will help your child approach math with more confidence.
· Read Problems Out Loud
If your child is struggling with math problems, have them read each problem out loud slowly and carefully so your child can hear the problem and think about what is being asked. This helps them break down the problem and come up with problem-solving strategies.
· Keep Math Positive
Speak positively about math and reward effort rather than grades or ability. Think about how important reading is and how we are told to model this behavior for our children. We need to place math in the same category. Don’t discount the importance of math by saying, “I’m not a math person, I was never good at math.” Help your child read books that incorporate math, such as Millions of Cats, by Wanda Gag, or On Beyond a Million: An Amazing Math Journey, by David Schwartz.
· Consult Online Resources
Familiarize yourself with the range of online resources that can help your 5th grader practice and review the math concepts they are learning. See our Additional Resources section for some links.
· Practice Calculations Using Decimals
Connect the work with decimals that your child is doing in class to the real world by encouraging them to shop for bargains. Have them divide the cost of bulk-packaged items by the number of single items to find the cost per item. So how much are you paying per roll of paper towel or per can of soda when you buy in bulk? Or ask them to calculate how much of savings you’ll make per item with sale prices offering volume discounts.
· Practice Using Fractions
Help your 5th grader familiarize themselves with fractions by asking them to scale recipes for your family. Have them start by halving or doubling a recipe. When they feel comfortable doing this, ask them to convert it by 11⁄2, allowing a recipe that is supposed to feed a family of 4 to work for a family of 6.
· Set Up A Play Bank Account
Pretend to set up a bank account for your child. Before you do this, discuss with them the basic concepts of banking – interest, checking and saving accounts, credit and debit cards, etc. The experience will help get them excited about saving and increasing their money.
· Highlight Math in Sports
Sports provide a fun and engaging way of exploring a host of mathematical concepts, starting with basic addition. Any hard-core baseball fan knows that the game can’t truly be appreciated without an understanding of some essential statistics, like a player’s batting average and runs batted in. If your child is passionate about a sport, encourage them to explore it through math.
· Play Games That Use Math
Play family games that help foster math skills. These include card games like Go Fish, which requires counting and sorting cards into sets, or board games like Monopoly.