For Parents

When Tennessee students take the new and improved statewide English and math assessments, 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. Strong academic standards and an assessment that measures how well students are meeting our high expectations will help Tennessee students graduate ready to take on the world and win. Here are ideas for things parents can do to help support their students academically.

Get the TNReady brochure for parents


Do Some Writing

Encourage creative writing with a series of writing prompts. Compare and contrast in an essay the differences between a favorite book and a movie. Read a poem or the lyrics to a hip-hop song and then write a paragraph explaining the deeper meaning. And of course, capture the archetypal summer experience – writing a pen-pal by giving your child the address of an out-of-town cousin. Exposing children to different types of writing will help organize their thoughts and build on what has been learned in school.

Sharpen Spelling, Memory, And Math With Family Game Nights

Break out the Yahtzee, Scrabble, and chess! Did you know that many of these classic board games teach important analytical, strategic, and cognitive skills? Declare a family board game night and select some games that broaden math skills, teach literacy and language skills, and stretch brains. With a little friendly family competition, your kids will have fun learning and expanding their brains this summer.

Take a Trip to Your Local Library

If you haven’t done so yet – take a trip to your local library. Encourage your child to talk to their local librarian and learn how to use the book search system, to find books at the top of their reading lists. Besides being a repository of reading for your young, hungry bookworms, many public libraries offer programs to encourage reading during the summer, as well as free all-year educational events, including a reading competition from First Lady Crissy Haslam for readers in grades K-4.  But hurry!  If you want to enter the First Lady’s competition – all summer reading hours should by logged by July 28.

Explore And Discover With Science Experiments

The beautiful weather and the extra time can make summer the perfect time to conduct a science experiment. Head outside and investigate nature – from trees to birds to crawling insects. Use the bright summer sun to heat up a snack by creating a makeshift solar oven. Perhaps pick up a new plant or seeds and encourage your kids to plant them and watch them grow. And on rainy days, turn to indoor science experiments that explore chemical reactions, DNA in strawberries, and more.

Celebrate and Learn About The Founding of the United States

Independence Day. A time to celebrate the founding of our nation and brush up on early US History! For early-grade students, a School House Rock video lays out the British-American conflict in song and animation. For older students, go straight to the primary source, the Declaration of Independence. Read this founding document and discuss the main ideas and important points. Once you’ve covered the history, head over to NOVA’s online resource to break down the chemistry behind a Fourth of July favorite, fireworks.

Head into the Great Outdoors

Give your kids a dynamic science lesson, physical activity, and a fun experience all in one: Take them outside. If you have a fourth-grader, sign up for a free yearlong pass to the National Parks for the whole family. When you head out, take along resources like these printable National Junior Ranger books that teach students about paleontology, constellations, the solar system, and the importance of preservation to make your trip both educational and fun.

Get Resources to Make Your Outdoor Adventures Fun and Educational

Read And Earn College Scholarships

Did you know that your kids can get scholarships by reading this summer? It’s all a part of the Tristar Reads contest. Sign up at and log the books they read and the time spent reading. Once you’ve signed up, don’t forget to follow the program on Twitter and Facebook for story-time events all summer.

Learn More About Tristar Reads

Share the Love of Reading

Remember the books you read as a child? Pull out those classic favorites (Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, the Chronicles of Narnia, Holes, and more) and share them with your kids this summer. Take time to talk about the books afterward. If your favorite childhood book was made into movie, pop in the movie version and compare the film to the book. When you read and discuss books with your children, you are reinforcing their reading and critical-thinking skills.

Click here for a start on your summer reading list

Get Ready for What Comes After High School

Summer is a time to relax, but also a time to think about what comes next. For younger children, it’s time to delve into areas of interest through trips, independent study, and camps. For high school students, it’s time to think about the future a little more concretely. High-schoolers could gain real-world experience through an internship or job. They could create a resume to prepare for future opportunities. Or they could research postsecondary programs, tour different schools (many schools have virtual tours if you can’t make it to campus), and get their application materials together. Taking advantage of the summer is a great way to keep your child’s future bright.

Download This PDF To Help Plan With Your High Schooler.

Avoid the Summer Slide, And Create The Summer Spark

What is the summer slide? It is the tendency for students to lose some of the learning gained from the past year. At Expect More, Achieve More, we want to work toward the opposite of the summer slide – the summer spark. During the summer, students have time to delve deeper into subjects that interest them With their parents’ guidance they can explore, discover, and learn – returning to school with even more knowledge than when they had left. Responding to that vision of learning, curiosity, and growth, follow this page along with Expect More, Achieve More’s Facebook and Twitter for tips to help families keep the learning going through the summer months.

Take Time to Recharge

After the TNReady preparation that has come from high-quality teaching this 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.

Encourage Reading, So Learning is a Year-long Activity

TNReady is not just a “fill in the bubble” test, it measures 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.

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.

Use Context Clues to Learn New Words

There will be no rote memorization of vocabulary words for TNReady. Nevertheless, your child will probably run into some new 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.

Learn More about TNReady

TNReady is Tennessee’s state assessment for grades 3-11. This test helps you know if your kids are learning the real-world skills they need to succeed! At you can learn more about the what, how, and why behind TNReady. You’ll also find an in-depth parent guide and other helpful resources.

Click here for the how, what, and why of TNReady.

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

Create a Supportive Study Environment

Creating a supportive study environment at home can make all the difference in being ready for TNReady. 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.