State Board of Education reminds families to start school year with good habits

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) encourages families to establish and maintain good health and study habits as schools across the state open doors for the start of a new academic year. The onset of the school year provides a good opportunity to review academic content and start the year with a positive attitude and new routines.

“Students need to arrive at school ready to learn and succeed,’’ said Illinois State Board of Education Chairman Gery J. Chico. “Families can help their children excel by developing habits that ensure enough sleep, a good breakfast and a dedicated study time and space. The onset of the school year is a great time to establish new routines that will better prepare children to thrive in the classroom and for the rest of their lives.’’

As students approach the new school year, families might start new bedtime hours for an easier transition during the first week of school. Setting aside a quiet dedicated study space, with good light and appropriate supplies, may help children focus as they do homework.

A review of academic skills before the start of the school year may also help students succeed in the classroom. Some ideas include:

?         Dictate the grocery list to a child to practice writing skills.

?         Ask a child to write about summer vacation for a family scrapbook.

?         Review multiplication and division skills.

?         Talk about current events, the causes and possible connections to the school and local community.

?         Ask students to write three goals for the school year and then discuss steps that might help them realize their goals.

?         Talk to children about their fears or concerns regarding the return to school.

?         If a child is transitioning to a new school building or a new district, arrange a visit to the building so they might be familiar with their surroundings and perhaps meet faculty, staff or even other classmates in advance.

?         Check homework nightly and find ways to expand on topics through trips to local museums, libraries, parks and zoos.

Illinois 2010 Teacher of the Year Annice Brave, an Alton High School English and journalism teacher and finalist for the National Teacher of the Year competition, joins ISBE in encouraging families to make sure children arrive at school ready for the rigors and joy of learning.

“School doesn't only teach kids how to read, write and do math, but school is a place that prepares students for life,’’ Brave said. “The most important thing to remember is that learning is fun, but learning is a team effort; involved parents help teachers build better students.’’

For additional information about good educational practices and fun learning ideas, visit:

     •    Discovery Kids,

    •    National Gallery of Arts Kids,

    •    National Geographic Kids,

    •    PBS Kids,

    •    The White House,

    •    Scholastic,

    •    Science Buddies,

    •    The Center for Gifted,