For Parents

When students take TNReady, the state’s new and improved English and math assessment, they are taking an important step to being ready for what comes after high school–whether going to career training, college, the military, or work. TNReady will help Tennessee students graduate ready to take on the world and win. TNReady will be a change for our students, and there are things parents can do to help support their students in being ready for this new assessment. The Tennessee Department of Education has more information for parents at its website,

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Learning Continues Through the Summer

Although school’s out, learning doesn’t need to stop. The summer is a great time for parents to connect with their kids on topics they’ve been learning about all year long in fun, interactive ways. Conduct an at-home science project. Sharpen math skills with print-out summer worksheets. And of course, head over to your local library for great books and summer programming. With just a little planning, you can teach your child something new and have a great time this summer.

Use Math in the Real World

Many of the math skills students are expected to develop are ones that can be put to use every day. Don’t make math something that’s just practiced in school, give it some real world application – measure distances when you travel, count change at the grocery store, divide whole pizzas into fractions (or slices) on family movie night. You’ll be having fun and getting your child ready for classwork and assessments.

Work on problems with real world application.

Reduce Test Jitters

Some kids can feel significant stress before an assessment. A common cause of test anxiety is insufficient preparation – make sure your child has studied enough to feel confident. But also watch for signs of anxiety coming from deeper sources, and make sure your child has opportunities to learn stress management techniques. Above all, remind your child that he or she is loved, no matter the test results.

For stress management techniques, click here.

Use Context Clues to Learn New Words

Tennessee state standards do not require students to memorize a certain vocabulary list. Nevertheless, your child will probably be expected to know some complex vocabulary words. Good news! Students can use their problem-solving skills to find context clues to help them understand what the unknown word means. Help your children learn how to understand on their own by using some  context clues strategies.

Notice and note in reading

Close reading is an important skill that parents can help their students learn. When you read with your child, ask questions about the text. Great questions include “What is the main idea?” and “Can you describe the characters and how they differ?” And a very important question is “How do you know that?”  Through asking questions and discussing what your student is reading, your student will learn to support their support their opinions with evidence from the text. This skill will help your student develop the critical thinking needed for their future.

Questions to ask your child, while reading together.

Help with homework without knowing all the answers

Tennessee’s higher standards have kids learning some concepts in an earlier grade than their parents did. Remember that parents don’t need to be completely confident with the lesson to help their students. Ask your children to explain concepts they’re working on – teaching someone else is a great way to learn. Because many assessments will ask students to show their work on some problems, you can help them prepare by asking them to show YOU how they got their math or English answer.

Understand Reading Levels

Many books for kids include reading level or age guidelines. RL4, for example, means reading level 4, and RL4.3 indicates month three of fourth grade. Books sometimes include age recommendations, like 009-0011 for ages 9 to 11. Other rating systems include Guided Reading Level, Developmental Reading Assessment, and Lexile Measures. Your child’s teacher can recommend appropriate levels for school and home reading.

Learn more about reading levels

Meet with the Teacher

Meet with your child’s teacher to get insight into both how your child is doing and different ways your child can grow. When you talk with the teacher, you also can learn more about what is happening in the classroom to prepare your child to meet important benchmarks. Prepare with questions before the meeting to make the most of your time.

Prepare with questions.

Create a Supportive Study Environment

Creating a supportive study environment at home can help your student learn more and feel confident with new assignments. Ask your child a few questions to make homework assignments easier to manage. Do you understand what you’re supposed to do? Do you have what you need to do this assignment? Does your answer make sense to you? Read more ideas about helping your child study at home.

Read more on helping your child study at home.

Encourage Reading, So Learning is a Year-long Activity

Reading daily (or at least weekly) solidifies the skills students are learning in class,  real-world reading, writing, and analytical skills. Support your student in developing these skills with activities at home. Encourage your child to read grade-level books and engage with them as they read to learn more and achieve more.

Check out this list of grade-level books.

Take Time to Recharge

After working hard throughout the course of the school year, holiday breaks offer a chance for students and parents to recharge and refocus. Spend time together on fun activities, reading, enjoying music and other arts, and talking about how the school year is going. An enriching time off will help your child head back to class refreshed and ready to learn more.

Get ideas for school break activities.

Motivate Your Child

As your students return to class, make sure you’re taking notice of not just the things they are working on, but also the things they are excelling at. Encouragement helps children feel confident in their abilities and will allow them to perform well on their assessments, demonstrating what they know and can do.

Discover more ways to motivate your child.

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