April 17, 2013
As the end of the school year approaches, questions about kindergarten readiness are on the minds of many parents. What if my child did not go to preschool? What kinds of activities help teach, maintain and improve my child’s readiness for kindergarten? Does my child need to know the alphabet? Should my child already know how to read? Whether your child attended preschool or not, the following activities can be effective in preparing children for kindergarten instruction.
- Read to your children. Simply reading a picture book every night will help your child master basic speech, teach text skills (i.e. reading from left to right), and increase his/her attention span.
- Have children tell a familiar story to you. This will help children become familiar with the basic structure of a story and teaches a skill being emphasized as part of the new national Common Core Reading Standards.
- Create flash cards with the letters of the alphabet. Flash cards will help children memorize their upper and lower case letters. These cards can also be used to teach letter sounds, which is essential for reading readiness.
- Make up fun counting exercises. For instance, try counting all of the objects on the kitchen table. Then group them into categories and count them again. This is a playful way to help develop the skills that will be needed for math instruction.
Use these activities throughout the summer and your child may happily enter school ready to learn even more. For even more assistance with assessing your child’s kindergarten readiness, try the STS Kindergarten Readiness Inventory (KRI). The KRI was created for at-home administration and offers parents a snapshot of their child’s current ability level. Visit www.ststesting.com to view a brief video about administering the KRI.
March 21, 2013
My earliest memories of learning how to write in cursive go back to the second grade. I remember lining up in the classroom, all ready to leave for the day (in an orderly fashion.) Using my lunchbox as an impromptu desk, I took those few moments to practice writing the cursive alphabet. This was 1970 and our second grade curriculum didn’t include practicing our penmanship. I just wanted to learn how to “write like a grown-up.” For years I tried to copy my mother’s impeccable cursive handwriting. It came in handy in instances like signing her name on permissions slips when she had forgotten to do so (or maybe I forgot to give her the note!)
Not everyone’s effort and dedication to writing is the same. If you’re writing to communicate, you need to make it neat. If you’re writing to take notes, you only need to be able to read it yourself. If you’re writing your official signature, consistency is more important the legibility (have you ever been to a loan closing?)
I get it. Children no longer need to learn to read and write in cursive. The use of computers and tablets in the classroom not only replaces the need to know cursive, but competes for available time in the curriculum schedule. So cursive loses. I’m sad that future generations won’t be able to read historical documents, or a grandparent’s journal from the 1970s. And so maybe it will make it easier for someone to steal your identity because you don’t have a unique signature. But that’s already happening, sans paper and pen with digital theft.
Handwriting analysis will still exist, but with less tell-tale loops and disconnected words. The debate goes on (and has been going on for years now.)
I suppose fewer lessons in cursive will mean less anxiety in the classroom and being able to avoid an unpleasant scene like this:
Please share your thoughts on this topic by adding a comment below.
February 19, 2013
As the school year winds down, make sure your kindergarteners are ready to step up to first grade with the STS School Readiness Test (SRT). The SRT is a hand-scored group test which can be completed in less than 2 hours. The SRT tests: vocabulary, identifying letters, visual discrimination, phonemic awareness, comprehension and interpretation, mathematical knowledge, developmental spelling ability, and handwriting (optional). Simple “Ready” and “Not Ready” scoring categories provide easy to use instructional implications for teachers. For more information on the SRT, visit our website www.ststesting.com or call us at 1.800.642.6787.
February 5, 2013
STS has created a new HSPT resource page for parents. Click here to visit the site for detailed information about scoring, reports and test preparation.
January 7, 2013
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 15,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 3 Film Festivals
Click here to see the complete report.
December 20, 2012
At this time of year, many 8th graders and their families are making final decisions about which high school they will attend for the following school year. If your prospective high school uses the HSPT® as a part of their admissions process, then making sure your HSPT® scores get where they need to be is a big concern.
While many assume that the HSPT® score distribution system is similar to college entrance exams like the SAT and ACT, it is actually quite different. There is no national coding system for the HSPT®. Many high schools test independently, so the results for the students that test there are sent only to that location. In some geographic regions, a cooperative of high schools test collectively, often under the direction of a Catholic diocesan education department. In these cases, students may be presented with the option of sending their scores to several different high schools by coding them on their answer sheet on test day.
Whether your high school tests individually or cooperatively, the distribution of test results to students and their families is always determined by the school or diocese.
If you have not yet received a copy of your test scores, and you believe you should have, or if you need to have your scores sent to another high school, the first step is always to contact the high school where you or your student tested. Because the schools and dioceses determine their own score distribution systems, we can never send results to a student unless the request is made by the school or diocese that administered the test to the student.
STS congratulates all graduating 8th graders on the upcoming completion of their elementary education and wishes them the best of luck as they embark on the adventure of an enriching high school education at any one of the excellent high schools that utilize the HSPT® as a part of their admissions process.