Reading Skills By Grade (4-6)

Reading Skills: A Grade by Grade Guide (4-6)

The new school year is upon us! Do you wonder what reading skills your child should have by the end of his or her respective grade? Refer to the grade-by-grade guide below, based on the Illinois’ common core standards.

Reading Skills By Grade:

By Fourth Grade Your Child Should Be Able To:

determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in text describe a character, setting, or event in depth explain major differences between poems, drama, and prose compare and contrast points of view
read and comprehend stories, dramas, and poetry explain events, procedures, ideas, or concepts in historical, scientific, or technical texts determine meaning of academic and domain-specific words or phrases describe text structures (problem/solution, cause/effect, comparison, chronology)
interpret information presented visually, orally, or quantitatively and use it to understand text integrate information from two texts in order to write or speak about the topic knowledgeably accurately read unfamiliar multisyllabic words in context or out of context read on-level text with purpose and understanding

By Fifth Grade Your Child Should Be Able To:

quote accurately from text when explaining explicit information vs inferences compare and contrast two or more characters, settings, or events determine meanings of words and phrases, including figurative language explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fit together to provide an overall text structure
compare and contrast stories in the same genre determine two or more main ideas of a text, explain how they are supported by key details, and summarize the text draw on information from multiple print or digital sources to answer questions or solve problems efficiently read on-level with purpose and understanding

By Sixth Grade Your Child Should Be Able To:

determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through details describe how a story’s or drama’s plot unfolds in a series of episodes and how characters responds or change explain how an author develops the point of view of the narrator compare and contrast experience of reading a story/drama/poem with listening to or viewing audio, video, or live version
analyze how a key individual, event, or idea is introduced, illustrated, and elaborated in a text determine meaning of words and phrases, including figurative, connotative, and technical meanings integrate information presented in different media or formats and in words to develop understanding of a topic/issue read and comprehend literary nonfiction

All standards have been reported from the Illinois State Board of Education. Additional standards are expected that have not been stated above. If you are concerned with your child’s reading skills, seek the guidance of a neuropsychologist who can help refer you to the appropriate support system.

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

Reading Skills: A Grade by Grade Guide (K-3)

Reading Skills: A Grade by Grade Guide (K-3)

Believe it or not, the new school year is almost here! Are you wondering what reading skills your child should have by the end of his respective grade? Refer to the grade-by-grade guide below, based on the Illinois’ common core standards.

A Grade by Grade Guide to Reading Skills:

In Kindergarten Your Child Should Be Able To:

retell familiar stories ask and answer questions about stories (with support) identify parts of a book (covers and title page) demonstrate understanding of features of print
recognize and name all upper and lower case letters recognize and produce rhyming words demonstrate letter-sound correspondence segment syllables
isolate and pronounce sounds in words read common high frequency words read emergent reader texts follow words left to right, top to bottom, page to page

In First Grade Your Child Should Be Able To:

describe characters, settings, and main events in stories identify main topic and recall key details decode two syllable words ask and answer questions about text
explain major differences between books that tell stories and those that give information identify similarities and differences between two texts on the same topic recognize features of a sentence (capitalization, first word, ending punctuation) decode regularly spelled one-syllable words and irregularly spelled words

In Second Grade Your Child Should Be Able To:

describe how characters respond to major events describe overall structure of a story compare and contrast two or more versions of the same story decode regularly spelled two-syllable words with long vowels
decode words with common prefixes and suffixes identify main idea of multiparagraph text read and comprehend informational texts determine meaning of words and phrases in an age-appropriate reading

 

In Third Grade Your Child Should Be Able To:

retell stories, fables, folktales, and myths explain how details support the main idea distinguish literal from nonliteral language decode multisyllabic words
compare and contrast books in a series compare and contrast two texts on the same topic read and comprehend informational texts of different subject areas distinguish own point of view

All standards have been reported from the Illinois State Board of Education. Additional standards are expected that have not been stated above. If you are concerned with your child’s reading skills, seek the guidance of a neuropsychologist who can help refer you to the appropriate support system.

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

Holiday Birthdays

How to Make Holiday Birthdays Special

Happy Birthday to me! As I sit here writing this it is November 27, Thanksgiving Day, and yes, it’s my golden birthday. A holiday birthday. Hooray! Not! Here I am 27 years old, and I’m still bitter about sharing my birthday with the Turkey. Please don’t let this happen to your child. Don’t let them grow up to be bitter, turkey – resenting, happy birthmas – hating brats. Maybe my suffering won’t be in vain if it helps you save your child from the same fate! Okay, so maybe I’m getting a little dramatic here, but for a kid this is how it feels sometimes. Don’t let the “specialness” of the holiday take away from your child’s own special day.Holiday Birthdays

Here are some ideas to make your child feel special on his holiday birthday:

  1. Make it about them. I made this #1 for a reason. They need to be #1. If their birthday was August 3rd they would be #1, so don’t make them feel any less because they share their birthday with Cupid. Give them a day that’s about them. Celebrate on a different day. If your child’s birthday is on a holiday you should still acknowledge it on the holiday – maybe light candles on a small cake and let them open one small gift. However, it is best to throw any parties on a different day. Usually a week or two before is best, because no kids like to have to wait even longer just because the Pilgrims ate dinner with the Indians on their birthday like 5 million years ago (I know the numbers are a little off, but come on I’m dead on in kid math)! Some families choose to celebrate ½ birthdays instead, so that they have a better budget to focus on their child’s birthday. Or you could take a tip from Alice in Wonderland and have a Very Merry Un-Birthday party – just so long as you make it about your kid.
  1. Separate presents, separate presents, separate presents. Don’t try fooling your kid with the old “we’ll combine your gifts and get you an extra big Christmas gift.” Ha! Yeah right! Your kid is only going to fall for that one once, and remember fool me once! This rarely (if ever) actually happens, and even if it does – kids don’t like to have to wait. At least give them a somewhat decent gift on their birthday, and then give them a better gift for the holiday.
  2. Let them help pick the theme. A Valentine themed birthday may seem cute when they’re little, but they are not going to like sharing their day with Cupid for long, and unless your child is currently crazy about Frozen® – they are not going to be crazy about a Winter Wonderland theme for their December birthday. Let them help pick the theme. If they don’t have an idea you like try giving them a few options, but let them have as much say in it as their brother or sister had for their birthday.
  3. No holiday wrapping paper! Don’t wrap their birthday gift in Christmas paper. I cannot stress enough – your kid wants to feel special on their day. Please wrap their birthday gift separately. If you don’t want to buy more paper, try using the comics section from a newspaper to wrap their gift. Kids love that kind of stuff!
  4. Keep it fair. Keep in mind what you spent, and how much effort was put into their siblings’ birthdays. Try to keep it fair.
  5. Communicate with them. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to make your kid feel special. Just communicate with them. Let them know how special they are to you, and how much you love them. That’s the most important part!

That’s it. My rant is over. Hopefully, my suggestions will help some other kids.

Whatever you may be celebrating this month, I wish you- Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays, and of course Happy Birthday!

childhood friendship

Help! I Don’t Like My Child’s Friend

Have you ever found yourself saying “I don’t like my child’s friend?” As children develop their autonomy and sense of self, their friendships often times reflect their interests, values, and status in the social environment. Whether it is in school, on the soccer field, or in religious school class, children are exposed to a variety of peers and have many opportunities to connect with others to satisfy a sense of stability within the social fabric of their world. Although the acquiring of peers can be a validating and comforting process, what is the role of the parent when your child has identified a “bad egg” that you just can’t stand???

Tips When You Don’t Like Your Child’s Friend

childhood friendship

Help! I don’t like my child’s friend

  1. Recognize and monitor your feelings. These feelings are your feelings and not the same sentiments that your child experiences. Be cognizant of how you talk about this friend and the non-verbal language that you may communicate (not asking questions about this one particular friend, using a sarcastic tone, exasperated speech when you find out your child spent all of recess/lunch with this person, closed off posture, etc.) as these send messages to your child about how you feel about their friend. Your negative feelings may cause your child to become tight-lipped about their future interactions, therefore reducing the ability to process why this person might not be great friend material. On the contrary, your child may become awkward or cut-off from their friend but not truly understand why they are not a good fit. Check your emotions before dialoguing about this friend to turn every opportunity into a calm, teaching opportunity.
  2. Identify the value that your child finds in this friend and help them to develop more appropriate boundaries and relationships. Sit down with your child and find out what value and function this friend serves. Are they loud but nice? Impulsive yet inclusive? Are they mean yet popular? Help your child create a list of criteria that constitutes “good friends” and help them see that popular is not as important as being inclusive, kind, and share common interests. Also it is important to note that just because the friend might be loud or impulsive, does that constitute not being a good friend? Everyone has a variety of qualities and in this situation, do the good outweigh the bad as no one is perfect.
  3. Get your eyes on the situation to oversee what you perceive as negative to, in fact, determine if this person is a negative influence. Have your child invite their friend over to observe their interactions, how this person treats your child, and to evaluate all qualities to determine if your bias is accurate. Where does your bias come from? Your experiences, both positive and traumatic from growing up. Sometimes working overtime to prevent against negative experiences in your child’s peer relationships limits their bank of experiences and the lessons they can learn even from situations that may seem upsetting.

Read here for valuable tips on how to help your child find the right friends.

texture aversion

Help! My Child Has a Texture Aversion

“Just take a bite!” “Just try it!” “One bite and you can eat the rest of your food.”

Does this sound all too familiar to you? Do you recognize this battle during mealtime? Your child may have a food texture aversion.

Signs your child may have a texture aversion:

  • Only accepting a narrow range of food choices
  • Extreme preference for certain brands of food
  • Anxiety when faced with a new food item
  • Inability to eat any foods, including foods regularly chosen within the home, when not at home
  • Preference toward avoiding food, often for an entire day, instead of trying something new
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing
  • Frequent gagging when served certain foods
  • Facial grimacing or spitting out foods
  • Vomiting when new food is introduced
  • Refusal of food is not related to a food allergy
  • Prolonged mealtimes

What you can do to help with a texture aversion:

  • Reactions
    • Keep a journal of the types of foods your child eats and his reactions to these specific foods. This list will be extremely helpful for the speech-language pathologist or occupational therapist when taking your child in for a feeding evaluation.
  • Don’t push
    • Don’t reinforce the food aversion. Many parents believe that withholding favorite foods as punishment will force the child to give in, but this will only worsen the problem. Also, promising rewards for trying disliked foods will also reinforce food aversions.
  • Modeling and fun
    • Model the behavior you want to instill in your child by eating a wide variety of foods. Children will often adopt the behaviors they are exposed to. With positive reinforcement your child will reduce stress around new foods. Also, get your child involved in meal preparation. Make playing with new types of food fun. Learn about foods and where they come from. Teach your child how foods help our bodies. Expose your child to new foods or averted foods in a fun, stress-free environment.
  • Evaluation
    • Take your child for a feeding evaluation with a speech and language pathologist or occupational therapist. These professionals will help you determine if further therapy is necessary and can introduce the concept of food chaining to your child.
      • Food chaining is the systematic process of slowly introducing averted or new foods to your child. This should be done with professional guidance.

If you believe your child may have a texture or food aversion consult with a professional feeding therapist. Remember, take the stress out of eating for your child and make eating foods a fun and exciting activity. The goal is to reduce stress for you and your child.



lisps: why they happen

Lisps: Why They Happen

Lisps, or /s/ and /z/ distortions, can happen for a variety of reasons. In younger children, these distortions are expected, but once children reach 5 years old, these distortions are no longer age-appropriate. These sounds can be difficult for children to produce, and require 3 main factors for accuracy: tongue placement (behind the teeth), manner of production (fricative, or pushing air out continuously through a small opening), and voicing (voiceless for /s/, and voiced or vibrating vocal chords for /z/).

The problem with lisps:lisps: why they happen

/s/ and /z/ lisps can negatively impact a child’s overall speech intelligibility, which can make communication difficult. At an age of rapid speech and language growth, children with lisps may find it challenging to communicate with peers and family.

The most common lisp types are interdental and lateral:

  • Interdental: An interdental lisp occurs when a child’s tongue is placed between his teeth (similar to a /th/ sound), as opposed to staying behind his teeth. This placement is very common in younger children and is age-appropriate until around 5 years old. Interdental lisps can be treated through targeting tongue placement and working to keep a child’s tongue back behind his teeth.
  • Lateral: A lateral lisp occurs when a child has difficulty with /s/ and /z/ manner of production. For these children, air flow is escaping out the sides of their mouth, as opposed to through the middle. This production is never age-appropriate, and therapy is necessary to modulate air flow to a more accurate placement.

Children with /s/ and /z/ lisps are at greater risk for distortions on /ch/ (church), /sh/ (shoe), and /dz/ (jump), and /jz/ (treasure). Should you have concerns about your child’s speech abilities and how a lisp may be impacting his intelligibility, a licensed speech-language pathologist can help!

Click here to read Tipper vs. Dipper: How to Produce the /s/ and /z/ Sounds.



time outs done right

Time-Outs: Discipline Done Right

Many parents express concern that their time-out strategies do not work.  However, when implemented appropriately, time-outs can be a useful tool for managing problematic behavior in children.  Instead of a time-out being a punishment, it can be viewed as a means to teach children how to “take a break” from a situation in order to self-regulate and calm their bodies and thoughts.  Time-outs can be an effective discipline technique when done right.

Try implementing these tips for effective time-outs:

  • Give your child a warning for non-physical behaviors (e.g., yelling) that warrant a time-out. time outs done rightCounting to three can be an effective means to teach children that they are displaying inappropriate behaviors which will lead to a time-out if they choose to continue.  For physically aggressive behaviors, children should be immediately sent to time-out.
  • Location, location, location. Time-out should involve a child being placed in a chair facing a wall, preferably in a room that limits distractions. Parents will often place children in their rooms which can be fun and counterproductive. In the world of time-out, boring is better!
  • Do not provide any social attention such as eye-contact or verbal remarks when the child is in time-out.
  • But my child will not stay in the time-out chair! At times, parents may need to prompt their children to stay seated. This could involve physically redirecting your child to the time-out chair, or standing in front of their chair similarly to a guard.  Remember, do not provide any social attention when your child is in time-out.
  • Use a timer. Set a timer somewhere within the child’s view, but not within their reach. A good rule of thumb is to use your child’s age to determine the number of minutes for the timer to be set (5 years would be 5 minutes).  However, the time-out period can be brief, as long as the child is calm and not exhibiting any negative behaviors.  The key is that children do not need to stay in time-out the entire time. This will teach your child that it is up to them to determine that they are relaxed, ready, and able to reintegrate into their previous setting.  If your child continues to display tantrum behaviors after the timer is up, re-set the timer for the same amount of time and tell your child, “Oh, it seems like you are still not ready to leave your time-out chair. We need to set it for another 5 minutes.”
  • Once time-out is finished, your child should be instructed to engage in a remediation behavior (e.g., clean up toys previously thrown), or prompted to show some type of pro-social behavior toward the person target of their aggression (e.g., hand shake, a hug, saying “Sorry”).

Extra Food For Thought in using Time-Outs:

  • Think of alternative behaviors to teach. Underlying all problem behaviors is a function.  If triggers have been identified for your child’s misbehavior, teach them adaptive ways of obtaining what they want.
  • Catch them when they are good! Kids love attention, so make every effort to praise them when they behave appropriately. We want your children to learn that you are like a light switch that turns on for good behaviors, but off for bad behaviors.

Click here to read more about positive v. negative punishment.




Prepping for a Perfect Playdate: Elementary Age Edition

Parents of elementary school children have a number of questions about playdates.  For example, how long should a playdate be and how often should they occur? 

The answer, you ask? Well, it depends! The above questions are only the beginning of an important list of considerations when thinking about playdates in elementary school. First and foremost, you have to know your child. For example, how active is your child, what types of activities keep him engaged, how are his problem-solving skills? Does your child know when to ask for help? The answers to these questions can help parents plan a playdate that is appropriate for their child’s individual needs.

Why are playdates so important for elementary age kids?

While playdates in elementary school can require extra time and energy, playing with peers can be very beneficial to your young ones. Although school is a significant agent of socialization in a child’s life, play is often not part of most classroom learning. As stated in a previous blog about playdates for preschoolers, peer-to-peer interaction helps children develop their social and emotional skills. They learn social problem-solving, they practice communicating their thoughts, feelings, and ideas, and they have the chance to explore their creativity.

What to consider when prepping for a playdate:

It’s important to consider your child’s individual needs and preferences, as well as those of his playmates. Expectations are key! Clarifying everything from the start and end time, to what type of play is acceptable in your house can alleviate some common playdate frustrations. Be reassured that in your house, playdates carry your rules. This is not meant to suggest you shouldn’t expect some rule-breaking due to not knowing your house rules, however, kids are used to following different sets of expectations depending on the setting.

If your children are the type that requires more planned activities, then go ahead and plan, but be flexible! It’s good for children in elementary school to take some responsibility in planning their leisure time. One way to allow for this is to suggest a number of activities, and let the kids decide which ones to do and in which order to do them.

This leads me to my final note about playdates in elementary school. We know that as children mature and develop, they can be expected to take on more responsibilities. As the adults supervising playdates, we must remember to find the balance of giving our kids space, while also staying close enough to be available.

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonDeerfieldLincolnwoodGlenviewLake BluffDes PlainesHinsdale and Mequon! If you have any questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140!

Social Work

social IQ

Tips to Raise Your Child’s Social IQ

 

 

Social IQ is a concept developed around the idea of social skills and how well-developed they are in social settings. So much awareness is involved in developing social skills: Tone of voice, facial expressions, eye contact, gestures, and personal space (just to name a few). It is amazing we learn most of them through observation alone! Where is the class that teaches us how to share, compliment, join a group, manage conflict, and express and understand feelings!?
For some kids, social skills develop naturally and without much emphasis, but for others, these can be daunting skills to tackle. With the new school year upon us, the classroom is a breeding ground for social mishaps and social victories.

If you notice your child struggles in social situations, here are some things you can do to help raise his Social IQ:

  • Get to know your child’s strengths and weaknesses: Is he flexible with his friends or does he tend to be a bit bossy?
  • Discuss with them the importance of friendships and what he thinks it means to be a ‘good friend’.
  • Set realistic social goals with your child (i.e. Lilly will congratulate two classmates if they win in a game or Johnny will introduce himself to a new classmate and ask to join in on an activity at recess.).
  • Involve teachers and counselors to help reinforce and observe goals.
  • Help your child talk about and identify feelings, facial expressions, and gestures.
  • Practice conflict management: develop a plan that’s easy to remember in ‘heated’ moments.
  • Take a deep breath, count to 3, and use “ I feel ______ when _________”.
  • Practice skills at home (i.e. sharing, complimenting, asking questions, waiting her turn to talk) and be a good role model!
  • Join a social skills group.
  • Social skills go far beyond the examples mentioned here, so this can be a great opportunity to not only learn new skills, but practice them with their peers in a structured setting.

Click here for a list of apps to help teach social skills.

books

Books by the Ages: Reading Fun for All!

 

 

 

Whether reading to a child, having a child help turn the pages of a book, or a having a child read aloud, books are a great resource for learning, fun, and special moments!

For example, I recently heard my favorite book from childhood, Alexander and The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, is being made into a movie. I was so excited that I put it in my calendar! The fact that I read this over 30 years ago and still feel this excitement shows the impact books can have on a child at any age.

Below are some of my favorite books broken down by ages. Can’t afford to buy them all?…take your child to the local library and have them get their own library card.  Most are free if you a resident where the library is located!

Books for Children Birth to 3:

  • Goodnight Moon by Margaret Brown
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
  • Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt
  • Counting Kisses: A Kiss & Read Book by Karen Katz
  • Ten Little Ladybugs by Melanie Gerth and Laura Huliska-Beith
  • Board books by Caroline Jayne Church
  • Board books by Leslie Patricelli
  • Honk, Honk! Baa, Baa! by Petr Horacek

Tip-choose books with the following qualities:

  1. Books where you can use different expressions as you read
  2. Books where you can incorporate tactile experiences (let the infant touch and chew)
  3. Books where you can allow the child to use cognitive skills–bright colors, shapes, photos.

Books for Toddlers:

  • Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein (also under school age)
  • Go, Dog, Go! by P.D. Eastman
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Eric Carle
  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.
  • Pete the Cat books
  • The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
  • Curious George books
  • Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin

 Tip-choose books with the following qualities:

  1. Books that reinforce concepts such as letters, numbers, colors, etc
  2. Books that are interactive where you can ask questions, have child help turn pages, or rhyme words

Books for School-Age Children:

  • Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
  • A Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
  • Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
  • Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary
  • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
  • Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
  • Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters from Obedience School by Mark Teague
  • The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner
  • Stuart Little by E. B. White
  • Books by Judy Blume
  • My Weird School series by Dan Gutman

Tip-choose books with the following qualities:

  1. Books that have clear text that is easy to understand
  2. Books that have colorful illustrations that help with words or phrases that may be unfamiliar
  3. Books that encourage discussion
  4. Chapter books

Books for Teens:

  • Harry Potter series
  • The Outsiders by SE Hinton
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  • Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld
  • Books by John Green (The Fault in our Stars, Looking for Alaska, Paper Towns)
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Tip-choose books with the following qualities:

  1. Books that spark an interest based on hobbies or type of literature (fiction, biography, sci-fi, etc)
  2. Books that introduce a new experience
  3. Books that are part of a series

Read here for more on books that promote language in babies and toddlers!