For Immediate Release
September 8, 2009
Illinois State Board of Education Urges Families to Start School Year with Good Study Habits
Studies show family participation and support increases chance of academic success
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Education is encouraging parents to become involved in their children’s learning and to start the school year by establishing consistent home study habits. Studies have routinely linked parental involvement with higher student grades and test scores, more positive student attitudes and behaviors, and improved school environments.
"The start of the school year is the best time to establish new habits for both students and their families who play a vital role in their children’s academic success," said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. "Parents are their child’s first teacher. Family involvement strengthens student learning and improves academic achievement. Children with active family support are more likely to continue their education beyond high school and learn the social and behavioral skills that will help them throughout life."
Studies show that when parents are involved students have higher grades, test scores and graduation rates. They also enjoy better school attendance, increased motivation and self esteem. Family participation in education was twice as predictive of a student’s academic success as family socioeconomic status.
Some practical study tips and family involvement ideas include:
- Establish a quiet and clutter-free study area with bright lighting and school supplies nearby. Encourage children to sit down for homework at the same time each day.
- Review your child’s homework and make sure he or she understands the assignments.
- Start the year off by reading letters or flyers received from your child’s school and make time to attend "Back to School" events or review school information available on the school’s Web site.
- Introduce yourself to your child’s teacher either by writing a note, sending an e-mail, making a phone call or attending a school event in order to learn how you may work together to help your child find success this school year.
- Ask your child’s teacher, principal or the parent coordinator at your child’s school how you can participate in the classroom or volunteer in the school. Join available parent-teacher organizations or clubs, school committees or extracurricular activity booster clubs.
- Encourage children to develop organizational habits such as filling in assignment books or calendars to keep up with school work and manage their time.
- Call your school’s office and ask if the school uses an online parent tool that allows you the ability to see your child’s assignments, grades and attendance information from any Internet-connected computer. Many schools have these tools available to help busy parents keep current on information at any time.
- Ask your child to teach you one new thing he or she learned in school each day.
- Set aside time for your child to read something for fun every day. When the reading time is over, ask your child to briefly tell you what he or she read.
- Contact your child’s teacher after the first two weeks of school to make certain your student has gotten off to a positive start.
One resource for Illinois residents is the Lincoln-based Academic Development Institute, a non-profit organization founded in 1984 to assist families, schools and communities with children’s academic and personal development. The ADI aims to help all children become self-directed learners, avid readers and responsible citizens.
"Schools do a great job of teaching knowledge and skills, but children’s attitudes toward school and their habits of studying, reading, and learning are largely built at home," said Sam Redding, executive director of the Academic Development Institute. "That is why strong school communities take care to support parents in their critical role, and parents take time to nurture their children’s attitudes and habits for learning."
Parent information and resources from the ADI and the Illinois State Board of Education can be found at http://www.illinoisparents.org/