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NYC Helpline: How To: Work with Students' Families

Preparing for High-Stakes Standarized Testing

Tips for Parents - How to Help Your Child Prepare for the ELA   Lamson Lam

Check to see that your child has done their homework and has done it well every night.


  • Ensure that their reading time is a very special, very quiet time.

  • Sit and read with your child as much as possible.

  • Your child should stay in one place without movement or distraction for at least 30 minutes while they read.

  • Your child should be staying with the same book every night until he/she finishes it.

Here are some questions to check your child's comprehension while they read:

  • Who is the main character? Describe him/her.

  • Who are some of the other characters?

  • What are the relationships between the characters like?

  • Where does the story take place?

  • What is the problem?

  • What is the main idea of the chapter you are reading?

Reading Responses/Reading Logs
When your child is finished reading, he or she needs to be writing a reading response and filling in their reading log every night (with the exception of Fridays).

Test Preparation Homework
If your time is extremely limited, and you only have 10 minutes a day to check your child's homework, ask them to show you their test prep homework.

Checking Test Prep Homework

  • Try to let your child do the test prep work on their own first, (they will be on their own on the real test).

  • Check their answers and ask them to explain how they figured them out (it helps to do this with right answers as well as wrong answers)

  • Ask them to tell you what type of question they are working on (Main Idea, Theme, Detail, etc.)

  • If they are doing a piece of writing, you can check it using "How to Score a 4" [PDF Document].

Additional Activities that Would be Helpful

  • Reading to your child and asking the same questions as above.

  • Reviewing old work in their Blue Test Prep workbook. (if available)

  • Doing practice work in store - bought reading comprehension workbooks.

  • Ask your children to explain what they have been learning about reading and writing in school.


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