Developing Vocabulary

Reading Comprehension

Language and Writing

History/Social Science

T-CAP Test Taking Strategies

Parents Helping Students



  • Cut out a variety of numbers from the newspaper (including money, fractions, and decimals) and have your child put the numbers in sequence from smallest to largest or largest to smallest.
  • Have your child estimate the length of a wall, a table, or any other object. Then measure it to verify the estimation.
  • Encourage your child to look for patterns in the environment (colors, numbers, shapes, etc.). Have your child tell you about the pattern and what it was that made it a pattern.
  • Have your child help you when cooking. Let your child help you read the recipe and talk about what the measurements mean. Let your child experiment with a variety of measuring devices (for example using a 1/4 cup measure and finding out how many it would take to fill a 1 cup measure).
  • Make a game out of estimating quantities: beans in a cup, cotton balls in a bag, people on a bus, cars in a parking lot, or people in a movie theater.
  • Have your child sort and classify a variety of household items (such as buttons, screws, bottle caps, keys, rocks, noodles, silverware, socks, etc.). Ask your child why he/she sorted the items in a certain way (was it by size, shape, color, etc.). See if your child can find another way to sort or classify the same objects. Have your child compare and contrast the different amounts of items in each group using words like more, less, larger, smaller, long, short, etc.
  • Use sports statistics or weather information in the newspaper or from television and have your child calculate averages or sequence numbers. Ask questions like which temperature was higher, what was the lowest score, how many points did the winning team win by?
  • Have your child do a number search. The object is to look for numbers around you: on cars, buses, houses, signs, etc. Talk about the numbers your child has collected (what was the largest number found, are there any odd numbers, what would you get if you added/subtracted two of the numbers, etc.).
  • Have your child see how many numbers he/she can find that are written in word form (ex: One-day Cleaners, Five Points Auto, etc.). Challenge your child to find examples for all numbers between 1 and 10.
  • Provide your child with toys and games that require thinking, problem solving, and are challenging (such as jigsaw puzzles, building blocks, trivia games, Rubic's cube, various computer games).
  • Give your child various opportunities to create graphs (line graphs, bar graphs or picture graphs). For example, give your child 20-30 pennies and have him/her sort and line them up by date and tell you which date has the most/least/same. Also save old mail envelopes and have your child cut out and paste (in a bar graph) all the stamps that are the same (again talk about which one is more/less/same).
  • Have your child make a picture puzzle to illustrate various numbers. For example, choose some symbol that your child can easily draw to stand for 1s and 10s (for older children you can include 100s and 1,000s). List some numbers and have your child depict them. For example, if _ = 10 and _ = 1, then the number 15 would be drawn ______.
  • Have your child use a deck of cards to learn about the relationships of numbers (more/less) and about subtracting, adding, multiplying, and dividing numbers. For example, remove all face cards from a deck (kings, queens, jacks) and divide the remaining cards between two people. Place the cards face down. Each player turns over one card and makes a comparison statements: Is it more or less? How much more? How much less? Added together they would equal _____. Subtracted they would equal _____. Multiplied they would equal _____. Divided they would equal _____.
  • Make a set of flash cards with numbers on them (the size of the numbers will depend on the ability or grade of the child). Have your child draw a card and look at the number (example 25) and see how many different addition or subtraction problems he/she can think of that have an answer of 25.
  • When your child is trying to solve a problem, encourage him/her to use the following steps: THINK - talk out and understand the problem and what may be required as a solution; PLAN - create a way of attacking the problem that may lead to a solution; SOLVE - carry out the plan; REFLECT - look back and see if the answer/solution seems possible or reasonable. If not, what might he/she have to change in the plan?

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  • Read nonfiction science books with your child. Have your child write about what he/she learned from the book and how it compares to real-life experiences.
  • Have your child keep a Science Journal. In the journal, have your child write observations and draw pictures about various things in the environment (i.e., weather changes, animal behavior, plant growth, etc.).
  • Provide opportunities for your child to collect data and read charts and graphs in the newspaper.
  • Encourage your child to do research on questions he/she asks (i.e., What if?, Why?, How?, etc.). Ask questions from time to time that require your child to apply what he/she knows or to research answers.
  • Ask your child to predict what he/she thinks will happen next when investigating a question.
  • Plant a small garden with your child. Have your child collect data about the growth of the plants.
  • Take your child to different land areas, such as the seashore, lakes, wetlands, and mountains to make observations.
  • Have your child chart the daily weather, collect data on cloud types, record daily temperature, or rain fall.
  • Observe, talk about, and ask questions about animals and plants in your yard, neighborhood, or at the zoo.
  • Observe cause-effect relationships in nature (i.e., how weather and water erode rocks into smaller rocks and sand, how changes in the environment affect living things, or how pollution affects the land and rivers).
  • Share cooking experiences with your child. Talk about how liquid and solid materials mix, dissolve, or combine and change.
  • While shopping have your child help select healthy foods according to the basic food groups. Discuss which vegetables grow below the ground, above the ground, on bushes, or on trees. Have your child observe and classify foods.
  • Provide your child with opportunities to collect, sort, and classify objects by a given characteristic or property (i.e., color, shape, size, use, etc.).

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  • When reading with your child, emphasize the meaning of words, rather than just recognizing or pronouncing words.
  • Point out new words in the environment (when driving, shopping, watching TV, or videos, or reading).
  • Ask your child to tell you synonyms (words that mean the same) and antonyms (words that mean the opposite) for words that are being discussed or studied. Also ask your child to tell you rhyming words.
  • Encourage your child to look up words in the dictionary to learn their meaning and to confirm their correct spelling.
  • Help your child to create a synonym chart (words that mean the same). When your child is doing a writing assignment, encourage your child to substitute more interesting words (synonyms) for commonly used words.
  • Provide your child with a dictionary and thesaurus and remind your child to use them when completing writing assignments.
  • Have your child predict the definition of unknown words when reading, find clues in the passage that might help to guess their meaning, and then check their meaning in the dictionary. Discuss why your child's guess was or was not reasonable.
  • Encourage your child to read to the end of the sentence or paragraph when he/she doesn't know the meaning of a word, and then use the context to determine its meaning. Substitute synonym words or phrases to check if the meaning is the same.

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  • The best kind of assistance you can give at home is to read with or to your child and discuss what is read. Provide good reading materials and visit the library often.
  • Ask your child to retell what was read in his/her own words.
  • Ask questions that require your child to predict what is likely to happen next, or what the story will be about, or how it may end.
  • Ask your child to describe people, places, objects, and events in a story.
  • Ask your child to tell you what happened first, next, and last in a story.
  • Have your child tell about characters' feelings or attitudes and why they might feel that way.
  • Ask your child to describe similarities and differences between two characters, settings, problems in a story.
  • Have your child tell you what the problem and solution were in the story.
  • Ask your child how he/she is similar to or different from a character in the story.
  • Ask your child to find details which tell about the main idea or about the topic.
  • Ask your child to tell you which details in a story or passage are important and which are not as important.
  • Help your child turn headings, subheadings, and bold print into questions and then read to find the answer.
  • When reading nonfiction or informative texts, have your child read the first sentence of a paragraph and then tell you what information is likely to be in that paragraph.
  • Have your child read and interpret everyday types of reading material, such as newspapers, advertisements, sale notices, bulletins, announcements, labels, road signs, and billboards. Ask questions about these reading materials.

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  • Provide your child with a dictionary and emphasize using the different information in the entries, identifying parts of speech and synonyms, using the pronunciation guide to find other words with the same sound, and using guide words at the top of the page to quickly find words.
  • When doing projects at home that require research, ask your child what kinds of books would have information on the topic or which volume of the encyclopedia is needed.
  • Teach your child how to use the guide words in a telephone book to look up a friends' telephone number.
  • Encourage your child to use the table of contents, the index and guide words to locate information in a book.
  • When your child is drafting or editing a composition at home, have your child cut apart the sentences in a paragraph and rearrange them to find the most logical order.
  • When reading nonfiction, ask your child to identify the topic sentence in a paragraph and which sentences support the topic sentence.
  • When your child is writing, ask how two short sentences could be combined into a compound or complex sentence. See if your child can find a better way to say something he/she has written (i.e., more description, make the meaning clear).
  • Correct common grammatical errors in your child's speech.
  • Have your child proofread his/her own paper with special attention to capitalization, punctuation, spelling, and correct grammar.
  • Have your child read his/her writing aloud and listen for grammar and punctuation errors.
  • When reading to, or with your child, point out special punctuation in sentences.
  • Have your child keep a personal dictionary in a small file box near his/her desk or study area with 3x5 cards containing commonly used or misspelled words.

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  • Read newspapers, news magazines, and watch television news programs with your child. Discuss current events, your child's ideas and different points of view on issues.
  • Read with your child about people and events that have made a difference in the world, and discuss the readings together.
  • Make maps, globes and the Internet available to your child and use every opportunity to refer to them.
  • Make the most of everyday opportunities to do history; visits from grandparents, reading books, telling stories, holidays, elections, symbols like the flag, the national anthem before sporting events, pictures in newspapers and magazines, visits to museums.
  • Help your child learn about locations (such as the color and style of the building in which you live, the name of your town, your street address), so when you visit other places, your child will have a point of reference.
  • Create a treasure map for children to find hidden treats in the backyard or inside the house. Treasure maps work especially well for birthday parties.
  • Help your child find your street on a city map. See if your child can find the streets of relatives or friends.
  • Use a globe or map and have your child find places talked about on television news programs, or to follow the travel of his/her favorite sports team.
  • Watch travel programs on television and discuss the differences and similarities between where you live and the featured place.
  • Take your child to visit the different political, residential, recreational, ethnic, and commercial regions of your city. Discuss how they are alike and different.
  • Play a license plate game with your child while out driving or walking. See how many different license plates you can find. Talk about how they are different and if the plate tells something about the state it represents.
  • Don't let significant holidays pass by unnoticed. Take time to discuss with your child the meaning of various holidays and their relationship to our lives today.

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Madisonville Intermediate School
1000 Green Rd.
Madisonville, TN 37354

Terry Moser - Principal

(423) 442-2454
FAX (423) 442-1534

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