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10 Tips to Get Your Student Reading This Summer

Kids who don’t read in the summer holidays start the new school year at a disadvantage, and the effects are long-lasting and cumulative. The ‘summer slide’ can easily be avoided by regular reading during the break, but this is easier said than done!

As most parents know, getting kids to pick up a book in the holidays can be a challenge, but these are some ways to encourage your child to read over summer:

Make reading materials available

Kids are much more likely to read if they have easy access to books, comics and magazines. One of the simplest ways to encourage reading is to make sure there are plenty of enticing reading materials around the house.

Schedule some down time

There’s not much point having a house full of wonderful books if your child is too busy rushing from one activity to the next to read them. Encourage focused reading by giving kids some down time to lose themselves in imaginary worlds.

Visit the library

Regular visits to the library will keep reading skills sharp over summer. Being exposed to different types of books helps children’s minds grow. Kids who visit the library in the holidays learn to see it as a welcoming and relaxing place.

Talk about books

An easy way to encourage reluctant readers is by talking about books. Pique your child’s interest by reading the blurbs on some books you think they’ll enjoy and asking them how they think the story will end. Curiosity may compel them to find out more.

Explore your child’s interests

Another great way to get kids reading is by exploring their interests. Find a subject they enjoy and get some books on it or encourage them to do online research.

Enjoy books together

This tried-and-true method is still one of the most effective. Take turns reading aloud or enjoy some audio books together during the summer break.

Enroll in a summer reading program

Summer reading programs are a fun way for kids to keep track of what they’ve read. Have a look at some online sites where kids can enroll in interactive reading programs that allow them to post reviews and chat about books.

Swap books at a street library

Bookshelves are popping up in unexpected places, and there may be one near you. Kids love quirky street libraries where they can browse the titles and exchange books for free.

Use captioning on TV

A simple way to encourage reading is to turn on the captioning on the TV occasionally. All forms of reading help strengthen spelling and vocabulary skills.

Encourage kids to read at every opportunity

Make the effort to incorporate reading into as many holidays activities as possible. Kids can learn a lot from reading brochures, maps, signs and information boards at parks and zoos.

These tips will go a long way towards averting the dreaded ‘summer slide.’

Family Activities to Keep Learning Going Over the Summer


With the summer holidays rapidly approaching, parents are scratching their heads for ways to entertain kids while keeping learning going. The temptation is to focus on fun at the expense of education, but multiple research studies have confirmed the importance of staying engaged with learning during long breaks.

Fortunately, there are many activities that are both fun and educational.

Here are some things families can do together to ensure kids continue to learn over the break:

These are just some of the ways you can keep learning going in the summer break while spending quality family time together.

How to Teach Your Teen to be Financially Savvy

Good financial skills are very important for teenagers as they take on part-time jobs and begin managing their own money. Worryingly, a recent OECD report found that financial skills among teenagers in Australia have declined since 2012. A significant number of students surveyed were unable to recognise a financial scam or read a payslip.

Without sound financial knowledge, young people are at risk of making poor decisions that could affect them well into the future.

You can help your teenager become financially savvy by teaching the value of:

  1. Saving. Start early by opening a bank account for kids to deposit pocket money and cash from birthdays and Christmas. Learning how to save can help them avoid debt in later life. For teens, watching their savings grow through internet banking is a powerful motivator and it equips them with basic skills to manage their money online.

  2. Budgeting. Once teenagers start earning, they should be responsible for paying some of their bills. Teach them to budget by keeping track of their income and expenses in a notebook, on a spreadsheet or by using one of the many apps available. Having a good understanding of their disposable income enables teens to make sensible decisions and avoid overspending.

  3.  Research. With so many choices available today, teenagers need the skills to research different plans and options. You can help your child develop these skills by conducting searches with them for mobile plans or products they’re interested in. Discuss the pros and cons of each option before reaching a decision. It’s important that young people know how to evaluate information and recognise hidden costs, particularly interest.

  4. Protection. Just as there are many financial options available for teenagers today, there are also many scams and rip-offs for them to fall victim to. Again, the best protection is knowledge. Teach young people how to protect themselves online by only giving credit card details to reputable sites and reading the fine print before entering an agreement or purchasing a product online.

  5. Planning. Many teenagers are saving for a new phone, device or even a car, but it’s never too early to start thinking about their long-term financial future. Encourage your teenager to consider what they would like to do when they leave school. Do they want to move out of home, travel or study overseas? Would they like to buy a house? The earlier young people start planning and saving, the better equipped they’ll be for the future.

Benefits for Kids of Stepping Outside their Comfort Zone

Everyone has a comfort zone. It’s that place where you feel secure because you know what to expect. Risk and stress are minimised when you’re in this safe place, meaning it’s very easy to stay there and avoid anything that makes you uncomfortable.

While it may be scary, there are many rewards for stepping out of your comfort zone and embracing new experiences. This applies for kids as well as adults.

Courage and curiosity are two of the most valuable qualities parents can nurture in children. Kids who aren’t afraid to try new things gain many benefits over those who are too afraid to stretch themselves.

Here are five benefits kids gain when they step outside their comfort zone:

  1. Confidence. True confidence comes from conquering fears and knowing that you can meet any challenge life throws your way. The only real way to gain this kind of confidence is by taking risks and overcoming hurdles. This is how children find out what they’re made of. Those who remain in a safe cocoon throughout their childhood are never forced to confront fear and uncertainty, and their lives will be poorer for this. As we all know, success breeds success.
  2. Resilience. Life is not all about winning, and no one is successful at everything they attempt. Children need to learn how to fail gracefully and to keep persevering with tasks they find difficult. If they are shielded from difficult or uncomfortable situations, they lose valuable opportunities to develop resilience. This is one of the greatest qualities to possess when life gets tough, and those without it often find themselves at a loss when things don’t go their way.
  3. Stress management. We’re taught to think of stress as a bad thing to be avoided, but stress can push people to perform at their best. Anything in life worth striving for is going to cause some tension, and children need to learn how to manage these feelings. Stepping outside their comfort zone allows kids to get to know themselves and how they react under pressure, helping them develop stress management techniques.
  4. Leadership Qualities. Leaders don’t hang back and stick to the same comfortable routine day in day out because it’s easy and safe. They step up to the plate and take risks, inspiring others to do the same. Encouraging kids to be brave and strong is a great way to create leaders who stand out from the crowd.
  5. A Spirit of Adventure. A safe life is a boring life. Without challenges and risks there can be no growth. Kids need to stretch themselves and reach for the stars to have the rich and meaningful lives they deserve.

Encourage kids to be brave by:

The pace of life is only going to get faster, and those who have the skills to deal with uncertainty and change will flourish above those who don’t.


Resource Ideas for Homeschooled Students

Thanks to technology, it’s never been easier to give kids an excellent education at home. There are many resources available online for homeschoolers, giving parents access to a wide range of lesson plans and teaching materials.

A lot of these materials cost money, and there are no guarantees they’ve been designed by qualified teachers, but if you know where to look, there are many quality free resources to be found.

These are some of the best places to find free homeschooling resources you can trust:


Education Department Websites

Education departments and related government websites are a treasure trove of free resources. You can find detailed lesson plans with clear objectives and background notes for educators.

Lessons have been designed to meet the requirements of state curriculums, and websites provide valuable information about planning and design frameworks.

You don’t need to limit yourself to your own state when looking for resources. Materials from other states and even other countries can usually be adapted to meet your child’s curriculum.

Unlike many lessons plans available online, you can be certain materials found on government websites have been designed by qualified professionals.

Don’t forget that past exam papers with links to marking guidelines and notes are also available for free on state government websites. Past NAPLAN papers can be downloaded from the ACARA website.


Publishers’ Websites

Publishers often provide quality free resources for teachers, including lesson plans, ideas for activities and teachers’ toolkits. Some also provide free access to online book clubs where students can post messages and interact with others about the novels they’ve read. This is great for kids who are schooled at home and may have limited contact with other students.


Museums and Art Galleries

Many museums, art galleries and other educational institutions provide thematic units for different subjects, complete with worksheets, links to resources and assessment tasks. These materials provide in-depth coverage of topics and use a range of teaching strategies to meet the needs of diverse learners.


Teachers Forums

Teachers forums give homeschoolers an opportunity to connect with other educators, swap ideas and share resources. They can be a vital source of information and inspiration.

There are forums specifically for homeschoolers, but those who educate their children at home are also more than welcome in general teacher forums where they can tap into a vast pool of knowledge for free.

Quality free resources for homeschoolers are readily available online if you know where to find them.

Why Emotional Intelligence Is Important for Students

Emotional intelligence, also known as EQ, refers to a person’s ability to identify and understand their own and others’ emotions. People with emotional intelligence use this understanding to manage their behaviour, influence others and make good choices.

Emotional intelligence is important for students because it equips them with the skills to handle conflicts and difficult situations. Kids with high EQ are more resilient in the face of bullying, can resist peer pressure and are able to recognise when they are becoming stressed. They perform better academically and have superior communication skills.

EQ in the Classroom

Good emotional intelligence has been found to have a significant impact on classroom behaviour. Students who lack insight into their own and others’ emotions find it hard to concentrate on their school work and form strong relationships with teachers and peers. They often act aggressively because they can’t express themselves or manage their behaviour.

Family dynamics play a pivotal role in equipping students with EQ, putting many at a disadvantage. Experts believe that emotional intelligence is so vital to future success and happiness that it should be explicitly taught at school through instruction and role playing.

Schools with programs to enhance EQ benefit from a more harmonious classroom environment. Studies have found that secondary students who have been taught to identify and manage their emotions are less likely to engage in risk behaviours and they display greater self-awareness and confidence.

Multiple studies have found a strong link between emotional intelligence and academic performance. Students with high EQ perform significantly better than others and stay at school for longer, reinforcing how important it is for parents and teachers to foster EQ.

Tips for Enhancing Your Child’s EQ

To achieve happiness and success, kids need to develop emotional intelligence.

5 Tips to Help Your Demotivated Student

A curious, happy and intellectually stimulated child is a motivated one. If kids aren’t motivated to study and do well at school it means they’ve lost the sense of joy that should come with learning new things and accomplishing goals.

Kids can become demotivated for many reasons, and sometimes the problem lies outside the classroom. Here are some great ways to help kids rediscover the joy of learning.

  1. Find out where the problem lies. If a child is being bullied at school or having problems with their peers, they will often lose interest in learning. Tensions at home can also have a negative impact on motivation, so talk to your child about why they don’t seem interested in their school work. Also speak to their teachers about any social or learning problems they may be experiencing.
  2. Seek help. One of the main reasons kids lose motivation is because they’ve fallen behind. This often manifests in a lack of interest in learning and behaviour problems at school and home. Other students exhibit similar disruptive behaviours because they’re not being stimulated enough by the work. It can be hard for parents to know which category their child falls into. Professionals can assess students and help them catch up or provide extension activities to motivate them.
  3. Don’t focus on results. When it comes to school work, many parents only show an interest in their children’s results, but it’s also important to ask them regularly about what they’re learning. This helps kids understand that learning is valuable and exciting in itself, and not just a means to an end. It’s also a great way to help kids retain knowledge. Good results should be celebrated, but effort should also be rewarded. Focus on strengths rather than weaknesses and make sure kids know that failure is a part of the learning process.
  4. Encourage discussion. If you want your child to develop a curious mind, encourage them to talk about ideas, beliefs and current events. Also include kids in family decisions whenever possible, and provide opportunities for them to make decisions that affect their lives. This will develop their critical thinking and communication skills, and give them confidence to participate in the classroom. If kids feel like their opinion matters, they’ll enjoy learning about new things.
  5. Help with organisation. Sometimes children lose motivation because they feel overwhelmed. This is particularly true for older students who can struggle with the pressure of homework, assignments and exams. An excellent way to overcome this problem is to help students organise their school work so that it’s manageable. This may involve tidying up their work space at home, creating a wall chart for assignments or breaking down tasks into a series of steps.

These tips will help demotivated students enjoy learning again!

Career Readiness Begins in the Classroom

Career readiness is something all schools should be striving to develop. Students who have gained the skills to succeed in the workplace have a distinct advantage over those who haven’t.

While there is broad agreement that career readiness should be a key element of education, there is still some confusion about what this entails. Because many of the skills required for a career aren’t immediately obvious, many parents are concerned their children may be missing out in this area.

Below are the top five ways students gain career skills in the classroom:

  1. Team work. Being able to work with others to achieve a common goal is a requirement for most jobs. Students who’ve participated in meaningful group projects and activities will adapt easily to working in a team.
  2. Communication. The ability to express ideas clearly and to engage in discussions is essential to career success. Students gain these skills by participating in debates and quality classroom conversations. Your child’s school should provide ample opportunities for students to express themselves.
  3. Problem solving and critical thinking skills. Employers are crying out for people who can think outside the square and come up with innovative solutions. Teachers play a crucial role in encouraging students to think critically and creatively.
  4. Organisation. To succeed in any area of life, students need solid organisational skills. Good schools teach students to be organised, efficient and to take responsibility for themselves.
  5. Perseverance. This underrated skill is crucial in the working world. At school students learn to complete tasks and to concentrate on things they may not find very interesting. Even the most glamorous careers involve some boring and repetitive tasks, making perseverance a valuable trait to possess.

These skills are often referred to as ‘soft skills’ because they can’t be easily measured, but they’re vital for building a career. If you’re concerned your child’s school isn’t doing enough to develop these skills, talk to a teacher or seek outside advice.

How Can Parents Help?

There are many ways parents can help children become career-ready:


Tips to Help Students Manage Their Stress


Stress is a normal part of life, but when it’s not managed properly it can have a serious impact on a student’s sense of well-being. Prolonged periods of stress can lead to depression and burn-out, so it’s very important that students are equipped with the skills to deal with stressful situations.

These practical techniques will help students manage stress so that it doesn’t impact on their academic performance and quality of life.

Time Management

One of the major causes of stress is ineffective time management. When students feel rushed and overwhelmed their stress levels skyrocket. The best way to ensure kids are making the most of their day is to develop a schedule that allows ample time for both study and recreation.

Students who follow a schedule are less likely to leave tasks until the last minute. When they’re required to spend a set amount of time each day on school work without distractions they are much more efficient. Parents can assist by making sure kids stick to the agreed timetable. It’s also a good idea to check that electronic devices are only used for school work during study time.


Good organisational skills can eliminate much unnecessary stress. Organised notebooks and folders make it easy to locate information. Keeping track of assignment deadlines allows students to plan well ahead, ensuring they get things in on time. A clear, orderly workspace at home also helps students feel motivated and in control.

Colourful books and stationary will encourage younger kids to take pride in their work. Make sure your child’s workspace at home is welcoming and comfortable with plenty of room to neatly store books and papers.

Students who struggle with organisation have also been found to benefit from visual aids such as wall charts and to-do lists. Being able to see clearly what needs to be done will help them map out the steps to complete tasks. Breaking tasks down into manageable stages is an excellent way to combat stress.


Relaxation techniques are great for relieving stress, but student’s first need to be able to recognise when they are under pressure. Talk to your child about how they feel and act when they’re anxious and stressed. This will help them to be mindful of their stress levels and prevent negative patterns of behaviour from developing.

Experts agree that exercise is one of the best forms of stress relief, so encourage kids to be active. Spending time with friends and doing things they enjoy boosts mental health, making kids more resilient. Techniques such as meditation, deep breathing and yoga can also help students cope with pressure, especially during exam times.

Learning to manage stress is vital for well-being and academic success.

The Importance of Sleep for Learning

Getting enough sleep is essential for memory, problem solving and executive function in kids. This is supported by recent studies which have found a strong link between sleep and academic success.

Children who get the optimal amount of sleep for their age acquire information and retain it more effectively. Those who don’t get enough sleep suffer from a reduced attention span and executive function. They’re more likely to display challenging behaviours.

While most parents recognise that sleep is important for learning, the reality is that many young people today are suffering from sleep deprivation.

Getting kids to go to bed at a reasonable hour has always been a battle for parents, but it has become more of a problem recently due to technology. Electronic devices can keep children up playing games and chatting on social media late into the night, often without their parents’ knowledge. Consumption of popular energy drinks also has a detrimental impact on sleep.

Adolescents and Sleep

Adolescents are particularly at risk of sleep deprivation due to the biological processes involved in puberty which make it harder to fall asleep early and get up early.

Lack of sleep can not only affect academic performance in teenagers, but can lead to more risk-taking behaviour. The important changes taking place in the brain during adolescence mean that quality sleep is essential for growth and development.

Many teenagers fall into the bad habit of staying up late to cram for exams the next day. This is very counterproductive as consolidation of learning happens for adolescents during the REM phase of sleep. REM can only take place when teenagers have achieved deep sleep over several hours, meaning they require a solid night of sleep after studying to perform at their best.

Sleep is needed to organise memories and learning. It affects problem solving, concentration and memory. The more learning that takes place, the more important quality sleep becomes to retain knowledge. According to experts, high school students need between 8-10 hours of sleep per day for optimal health, while younger kids need 10-12 hours.

Healthy Sleep Habits

There are many things parents can do to instil healthy sleep habits in children:

Sleep and academic success go hand in hand, so make sure your child isn’t missing out.

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