All our students know Diane Davis and her lesson time. She is our primary reading instruction specialist. Having worked with students of various ages over the last fifteen plus years, she has come up with some pointers to help parents and students get the most out of their time with us. Even if you don't attend our classes, these ideas will help you get the most out of your instructional time wherever it may be.
1. Limit the amount of sugar intake before the lesson time. You will find that your child will be better able to focus and retain information. They will also be more attentive to the instructor. This is especially true if the student is hyperactive.
2. If the student tends to be be hyperactive, try to calm him or her down before coming to the lesson time. Some calming effects are soft music, looking at a picture book, and quiet activities. Some parents have found that half a cup of coffee and milk [no sugar] helps as well.
3. In line with point 2, limit strenuous activities before the lesson if possible. When a student is "wound up" it is hard from them to focus on what they are learning in a non-active environment. It is better to have sports activities on a different day or after your reading lesson.
4. Encourage the student on the way to the lesson time. Help them to look forward to learning. Don't criticize or threaten as a way of "motivating" them to do better in class. We have charts and snacks and try to make it a fun time even through true learning is sometimes just plain hard work. Focus on the positive and on the accomplishments. Always build on strengths before working on weaknesses.
5. Make sure the student is getting enough rest. Overtired students are not able to work to their fullest potential.
6. Parents are welcome to sit in on classes. If the student is restless the presence of a parent may help them to focus more on the material at hand. This also allows the parent to see what the student is learning in order to review and re-enforce the lesson at home.
7. When reading at home remind students of the rules they are learning. A parent can also spell out words, ask the student to pronounce the word and then ask them to state what rules are being kept or broken. Repetition between actual lessons reduces the amount of time needed for review and helps the student progress through the material more quickly than would otherwise be possible.