Monday, August 22, 2011

Back-To-School Time
This blog was written for BFF#116-Back-To-School

When I was thinking about the theme back to school, I decided to write about some great websites that would be helpful to families with school aged children. Please check out the websites below and feel free to copy and print this article for further references. If you need anymore help, just leave me a comment and I will be more than happy to help you.
Preschool/Kindergarten Sites Reading and Phonics Help opened in September of 2002 as a free public service to teach children to read with phonics. Our systematic phonics approach, in conjunction with phonemic awareness practice, is perfect for preschool, kindergarten, first grade, second grade, special education, homeschool, and English language development (ELD, ELL, ESL). Starfall is an educational alternative to other entertainment choices for children.
Learn letters with this interactive Website. These Website support letter recognition through reading and writing upper and lower case  letters. This website offers practice in upper and lower case letter recognition, shapes, writing, words, numbers, colors, and keyboarding skills.   Note: Please read "What are Dolch Words?" for background information on these lists. Here are the dolch word lists, the 220 most common words and 95 additional nouns in children’s reading books, in alphabetical order. Dolch words, or sight words, provide an excellent base for reading at an early age. They are often called sight words because some of them can’t be sounded out, and need to be learned by sight. Note that all the Dolch words can be taught before children finish the first grade in school. Words in the second and third grade list are more common in books for those age groups, but they do appear in books for earlier grades, just less frequently.

Math Websites for Preschool/Kindergarten  Offers lots of teaching games in Math, Science, and Social Studies. Be sure to check this site out, because it has a wide range of things to offer.

1st-3rd Grade Websites   This website offers all kinds of math games to help your 1st through 3rd grader. It also offers Grammar, Reading, Science, and Social Studies skills and games.   From homework help to managing social stresses, find out how to best help your school-age ... Grade-by-Grade Guides.   This website offers a great spelling game for children of all ages.

***********Homework Help for All Grades**********   This website is like a reference desk and offers homework help in many different areas. Be sure to check it out, as I am sure you will find most of what you need on this site.  
This site is for:

*parents who are concerned about their children's spelling and are keen  to help them improve
*adults who find English spelling difficult and want to learn to spell correctly
*teachers who need some online printable spelling worksheets to supplement their own materials
and includes:
*advice about how to deal with problems and become a better speller
*a collection of free printable worksheets, each comprising a complete lesson
*designed to test and teach spelling skills
*games, puzzles and quizzes to help encourage an interest in spelling   Spell Check
How to Play: The computer will give twenty sets of four words. Place a check next to the word which is spelled wrong. Spell the word you checked correctly in the box. If you get all twenty problems correct, you can put your name on our leader board. This site also includes skills for Math and Reading.  This website has everything you need to teach your child multiplication.   This site has a printable math times table.  It also provides training and exercises to help your child learn their multiplication facts.   Lots of great ideas for parents to use when teaching their child multiplication facts.  This is one of my favorite websites. It offers online information in just about any area of study. You won’t want to miss this one.  Oh, what isn’t fun about playing Math Baseball??? Improve your math skills. Fun game teaches addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and elementary algebra. For kids and children of all ages and grades.  Ziggity Zoom Useful and Best Kids Sites Check out the Top Kids Websites from around the web. These kids' sites are great and we have something for everything- educational, learning, science, math, art, history, weather, fun, games, shopping, resource sites, and so much more. We add new sites to our Top Kids Websites every week so check back often!

Web Sites for Elementary School Writing Skills
There are many Web sites that offer activities, games, and other resources for elementary writing skills, but some may be laden with distracting ads, have unclear or confusing directions, or be otherwise unsuitable. Evaluate a site or explore it with your child to be sure it is appropriate and meets his or her needs.

Fun Brain's Words Page has a variety of games designed to assist kids with writing skills. Children can test their skills at understanding plurals, grammar, vocabulary, story structure, idioms, and commonly confused words.

I Know That!, a multimedia education site, has several games dedicated to writing skills, including sentence puzzle and punctuation paintball.

Buzz In's English and Writing Page is excellent for older elementary school students. Kids can click to learn about different aspects of writing and take a fun quiz to test their skills.

Jenny Eather's Writing Fun is an interactive tool designed to improve children's writing skills by clearly identifying the parts and processes of various types of writing. The easy-to-use online text organizer helps kids to feel confidant their writing is organized well.

BrainPOP Junior's Writing offers a fun way to learn writing skills through short, interactive movies on topics like paragraphs, tenses, and types of sentences.

Magic Tree House Writing Club helps children improve writing skills through reading, writing, and organizing fiction. Mini lessons with characters from the popular Magic Tree House series help young writers grow and learn.  **Just Google these sites for more information.

Best Children's Reading Websites: List of Educational Sites
What Are Some Of The Best Children's Reading Websites?

Some of the best children's reading websites are sites that have a variety of resources for children with different interests and abilities. Many children's reading websites have interactive learning tools, games and reading material. You may want to check out the following websites to find the best children's reading website for your child.

ReadWriteThink has online reading tools for children in kindergarten through twelfth grade. When using the tools on this site, kids can practice phonics, word recognition and comprehension.

Starfall has phonics games for young children, online stories and reading activities.

Reading Planet has games, a tool to help children select books, activities and even polls.

Elementary Reading Help: Exploring Graphic Organizers and Other Written Reading Assignments

Elementary students often do not understand what is required in by their reading homework. Parents need to explain these assignments, especially when they make use of the latest teaching techniques, like graphic organizers. Teachers are using new teaching techniques and learning tools that can enhance a child's education. Parents need to understand the methods being used and explain them to their children. This article can help parents comprehend modern graphic organizers and other recent advancements in literacy education. A graphic organizer is a chart that breaks down the various aspects of a story or other text. These worksheets have very simple graphics and sections, but often have little in the way of directions. When a child has a firm grasp of the important components of a book such as character, setting, problem, rising action, climax and resolution, the organizer becomes much easier to understand. Understanding how to work with an organizer as you gather the information about a story is the key.

Most plot organizers look similar. Usually the chart looks like a pyramid of boxes and lines. To start, your student will need to assign each of the aspects of the story its own box. Here are some of the aspects your child will be working with and roughly where they are entered on most graphic organizers:

Character: Students should list and describe the main characters of the given story. This should be written on the bottom of the diagram to the left.

Setting: Next to the character section, your student should describe the setting of the story, including location and the time the action took place.

Conflict: Elementary reading teachers want to ensure their students to identify the primary conflict or problem of the story. Your student should describe this problem next to the setting where an angled line rises upward.

Rising action: Along that rising line your student should describe the rising action or the events that move the story along and cause the story to develop.

Climax: When your child notes the critical action and turning point of the novel has occurred, he should describe this event at the peak of the diagram.

Resolution: This is how the story ends and the point at which all of the problems are or have been resolved. Elementary school teachers expect third, fourth, fifth and sixth graders to describe the resolving of events at the bottom line of the diagram all the way to the right.

Another graphic organizer, the Character Map, is designed with a circle or box in the middle. This circle represents the main character. The circles or boxes that surround it represent different characteristics of the main character. Elementary students are expected to describe the various aspects of the character in each box or circle. Sometimes teachers will assign a similar worksheet but for a different aspect of a story such as the setting or plot; either way, the middle usually holds the main, general component and the outlying graphics hold the details.   This site offers printable graphic organizers in all of the different reading areas.  Graphic organizers help students construct meaning. The following organizers can be used with any book and across all grade levels. Use them to assess your students understanding of what they are reading, observe their thinking process on what you read as a class, as a group, or independently.  This website offers something in every area and level of learning. On this site you will find printable charts, Math Help, Reading Help, and a little bit of everything. This is a great website to put in your favorites.

As you can see, there are a lot of wonderful resources to help your child learn. Websites are always a good way to help your child overcome their anxiety about learning something new. Most children enjoy playing games, so if your child is struggling in a certain area…maybe it is time for a little more practice in a fun way. When teaching your child how to read, be patient. Remember phonics is not easy to a new reader. When in doubt, ask your child’s teacher to help you with some ideas for the two of you to work on at home. Never be afraid to ask for help from others. Your child’s education is everyone’s responsibility. I hope the above information is helpful to you. If you need any help with any other areas, please leave me a comment and I will try and help you the best that I can. Why I am not an expert, I am a teacher and love to help children learn. I wish you and your child a school year filled with much happiness and lots of learning.


  1. This is an awesome post!! I seen several of my kids favorites like Starfall, Primary Games, and Fun Brain. There are also a whole host of sites that I will be sharing with the kids. They love to play on the computer when they can find a moment when I am not on it. Good luck with that!! Mama needs to learn to share her computer!! LOL

    Wonderful resource!! I will be bookmarking it for the kids in their games folder. Lots of great sites. Good for what ails them!


  2. Thanks Kathy for the sweet comment. Yes, these are some great websites that I know your kids will enjoy. I am so glad that they had a great first day of school. :)