Reading, writing & ready for school

4 ways to ensure back-to-school success

Parents: School is back in session in just a few days. Are you ready? Better yet, are your kids ready?

“It’s not too late,” said Stephen K. Johnson, M.D., Ph.D., pediatrician with Norton Children’s Medical Group – Springhurst. “Research indicates that by investing time and effort now, you can contribute to your child’s success for the school year.”

Dr. Johnson identified four key things kids can do to prepare their brains for learning. Try these with your elementary- to high school-age kids:

Reading is like food for the brain: You don’t want your child’s brain to starve, right? Have your child spend at least 20 minutes per day reading. If your child doesn’t know how to read yet, spend those 20 minutes reading to your child. Selects book that are appropriate for your child’s ability. Have your child open the book to any page and read the page aloud. If your child struggles with more than five words on a page, the book is probably too difficult at this time and can be tried again in a few months.

It all adds up, even math: Spend at least 5 minutes per day practicing math. Depending on your child’s grade level, make a goal of having addition, subtraction, multiplication and/or division facts mastered by the end of the summer. Think outside the box — math can be found all over, including a trip to the grocery store. You can also go to (or similar websites) and print out math problems. Have your child see how many problems he or she can solve correctly in 5 minutes. Repeat the same problems every day and reward your child each time your child beats his or her best score (or improves the score by 10, 20, etc.).

Walk, swing or jump: At least one hour of your child’s day should be spent exercising or playing outside. Make this part of following the 5-2-1-0 rule to counteract obesity that is plaguing 20 percent of local kindergartners, according to Healthy Louisville.

Catch enough zzzzz’s: Elementary school-age kids need 8.5 to 11 hours of sleep per night. In addition to going to bed at the same time every night, your child should keep a consistent routine before bed. This will train your child mentally and physically when it comes to preparing for a good night’s sleep.