Monday, February 2, 2004

Educators, parents suggest methods to help kids learn

Education Q&A

Click here to e-mail Denise Smith Amos
QUESTION: I learned to count by using buttons, pennies, toothpicks, cards - anything that could be numbered. I learned how to spell my name by practicing with brothers and sister, Mom and Dad. Have our brains changed so much that these ways no longer work for children? What are some techniques parents can use to help children read and do math?

ANSWER: A panel of parents and educators recommends making flashcards for reading and for math. Some had other suggestions.

• Suzy McBrayer, a Mason parent: When shopping, we use coupons to figure each item's cost and practice subtraction.

• Ray Warrick, tutor in Sycamore Township: Have children pick three new words from a newspaper - learn to pronounce them, define them, spell them and use them in a sentence.

• Kathy Adams, professor at Wright State University in Dayton: Her son helps build grocery lists by counting cans and jars in the kitchen and reading labels.

• Eileen Ryan, retired teacher in Kenwood: Ask a child to pick letters or words off a box of cookies.

• Peter DeDominici, education director at Cincinnati Museum Center: Count the tableware when setting the table.

• Dala Jo Cornett, parent in Burlington, Ky.: Make flashcards with small words first and build up.

• Jim Forte, teacher at St. Catharine of Siena in Westwood: At stores, his daughter picks money out of his wallet to pay and tells cashiers how much change is owed.

• Mike Mayo, principal at Concordia Lutheran School in Clifton: Play "War" card game but no face cards. Players add, subtract or multiply the cards played in each round. The first to answer correctly keeps the cards.

• Chris Gramke, parent and Princeton Schools spokesman: Identify stores you pass by first letters of their names: "A is for Applebee's," for example

• Karen Schweier, Green Township parent: Plays "Slap It" with flashcards of words and math facts. Cards are turned over one by one. Son reads each aloud and answers problem. If correct, he slaps the card to claim it. If wrong, it stays in the deck to be replayed.

• Wilson H. Willard III, superintendent of W.E.B. DuBois Academy in Over-the-Rhine: The ladies from Color Purple had it right: Put labels on everything to teach sight reading.

• Katie Barkley, teacher at St. Bartholomew School in Finneytown: Do "environmental reading" (stop signs, logos, etc.).

Q: Recently your paper wrote about a young man who said his favorite Web site was the Word of the Day. What did he mean?

A: Xavier Reynolds, a 16-year-old North Avondale high school junior, meant the Merriam-Webster Web site ( . Select "Word of the Day" from the menu on the left.


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