School Communications


How to Teach Your Kids Spelling

April 27, 2021










What you’ll learn:

As you read about how children expand their spelling skills, you’ll learn about:

  • The five stages of spelling development
  • How to teach spelling easily

Some children in Crystal, Minnesota, begin developing skills by the time they are five years old, while others may not be ready to read until a few years later. Understanding the stages of spelling development can help you determine where your child’s skill lay and what type of spelling lessons they are ready to tackle.

Emergent Spelling

Most children learn their ABCs between three and five years of age but may not understand that letters stand for specific sounds. As spellers progress, they learn about the sounds and begin writing their letters left to right. 

Letter Name Spelling

Children begin matching written letters to letter sounds consistently between ages five and nine years old. As they advance, they use vowels in the middle of words and vowel patterns correctly. Learners start recognizing word families and using consonants at the beginning and end of words.

Within Words Spelling

Children between six and 12 years old typically become comfortable spelling short words and begin recognizing words with an uncommon spelling pattern, such as “wait” instead of “wate.” Spellers also understand “oi” and “ou” vowel patterns in most one-syllable words, such as soil and found.

Syllable Juncture Spelling

Spellers eight to 12 years old apply short-vowel patterns and letter sounds to multi-syllable words. They learn the rules about doubling consonants, changing the “y” to “i,” adding suffixes, homophones, and compound words.

Derivational Constancy Spelling

Learners age 10 and older learn the Greek and Latin roots of words and the importance of patterns and sounds. They explore the relationship between meaning and spelling. This is the final stage of spelling development in Crystal, Minnesota, and it continues through adulthood.

How to Teach Spelling to Your Child

Whether your child is struggling or you want to help them move through the learning stages confidently, you can use the following ways to teach spelling:

  • Trace, Copy, & Recall – This technique uses three columns on a piece of paper. Write the words in a list on the left. Have your child trace the letters. In the next column, have him or her copy the word. Hide the first two columns and have them recall and write the word on their own.
  • Word Jumble – Use plastic letters, blocks, or scrabble tiles to spell a word, then scramble the letters into the pile and have your child spell the word on their own.
  • Flashcards – Use index cards to write the words your child is learning on the front and the definition on the back. Help test them by asking them to say and spell the word out loud.
  • Memorization – This is a traditional method for teaching your child how to spell. Show them the word written on paper. Walk her through how to visualize the word in her mind. Have her close her eyes and picture the word letter by letter. Ask her to spell the word out loud before opening her eyes to see if she’s correct.
  • Fill in the Blanks – Write a list of spelling words on a sheet of paper, replacing some letters with blank spaces. Have your child work through the words, filling in the missing letters. This helps reinforce vowel and consonant patterns.

Spelling word origami, word catchers, and personalized crossword puzzles can be fun ways to help your child learn spelling words. Contact us to learn more about the differentiated instruction and academic support we offer students at Beacon Academy in Crystal, Minnesota.

Featured Image: Nilobon Sweeney/Shutterstock


Math Strategies for Struggling Students

April 7, 2021


  • Math intervention lessons provide students with extra time and resources.
  • Using tactics tailored for your student’s needs can help them catch up and excel in math.

Studies show that American students in grades four through eight struggle with math. While performance often improves in the fourth grade, it dips again when concepts increase in complexity. It’s not uncommon for there to be a wide range of math abilities in one Crystal, MN, classroom, from students who excel to those who struggle to grasp basic concepts. Children frequently struggle to understand what is being taught and keep up with their peers.

What Are Math Strategies for Struggling Students?

Students often become frustrated and depressed when they don’t understand the equations they are assigned. As a result, they avoid the problem by neglecting homework and finding ways to avert attention in class. Regardless of the different learning styles and speeds, several strategies are effective in helping all students succeed.

Hands-On Math

Engaging multiple senses can boost learning and retention. When you combine a hands-on or visual element with a math concept, they can touch and see it. It becomes more than just a scary abstract concept. Math is the science of patterns. When children can see the patterns they may not have noticed before, they gain a deeper understanding of concepts and become actively engaged, rather than remaining spectators.

Personalized Pace

Students in Crystal, MN, who have the opportunity to learn at their own pace, without feeling rushed, often learn complex concepts faster and easier. Giving each student the time they need to understand the problems allows them to succeed and become more confident.

Show and Tell

Using whiteboards, videos, animations, and other multisensory teaching methods can communicate the material in an engaging way. Incorporating storytelling can ignite the imagination and interest of students who struggle to understand how math is used in everyday life. Sharing information and knowledge by showing how to use the new concepts can help students see how they apply to a particular situation.

Learning to think their way through a problem is a critical step for understanding equations. Encourage them to talk through it out loud, describing the process and reciting the steps necessary for solving the problem. This can help you pinpoint where your student is struggling and help you find the right strategy to prevent them from falling behind in class and help him or her excel.

How Do You Help Students Who Are Struggling with Math?

Math intervention lessons provide struggling students with additional time and resources. By taking an incremental approach, you can enable your student to understand and master basic skills, moving toward increasingly complex concepts built on the previous material. This “no-gaps approach” allows your student to learn the contents of one lesson or concept before moving to the next in logical steps.

Children’s attention tends to wander, so having short lessons regularly can help them stay focused. Start by using tools and activities that engage their interest. Sessions that last 15 to 20 minutes five days a week may allow them to accomplish more than longer lessons that occur less frequently. Every child is different, so you may need to reduce or increase the length and frequency of the classes based on their needs.

Contact Beacon Academy in Crystal, MN for More!

Use encouragement and praise often. Your child can become discouraged easily, especially when the focus is solely on results. Teaching math for struggling learners in Crystal, MN, is challenging. Taking it one lesson at a time, reviewing the work, and offering feedback and encouragement helps students become active participants in the learning process.

If your student struggles with math, contact us to learn more about how our tailored curriculum and flexible programs can make a significant difference and help them excel.


Featured Image: Phil’s Mommy/Shutterstock

help your child read aloud

Help Your Child Enjoy Reading Aloud

March 2, 2021

When children only practice their skills in school, they may associate reading with work instead of fun. Snuggling up at home in Crystal, MN, and enjoying a story with your child can create not only a love of learning but also a strong foundation for success. Read aloud strategies for students don’t have to be complicated to be beneficial.

What are the Benefits of Reading Aloud?

Despite technology and new teaching methods, sharing stories aloud is one of the most important activities parents can do with their children. This quality time spent together with no television or other distractions can strengthen your relationship and help them develop their communication, social, and interpersonal skills. Additional benefits include:

Stronger Vocabulary

Young children learn language skills primarily through listening. When they hear new words read to them in different situations, it builds their vocabulary. As they get older and can read for themselves, it creates a stronger connection between the spoken and printed word. With practice, they begin recognizing the difference between printed text and the spoken word.

Sharper Focus

When reading aloud, children put their energy into the task at hand. This focus strengthens verbal and mental skills, increasing their attention span. The more often they read aloud, the more they exercise the connection between the mind and their voice, resulting in greater cohesiveness when communicating thoughts and relating past events. By speaking aloud, children learn the potency of words and often understand and engage with the material more deeply.

Strengthen Comprehension

Well-written books expose children to sophisticated language. When they read consistently, they learn how to apply their cognitive abilities to understand the text. Emotion often comes with understanding. By reading out loud together, your child may feel more comfortable discussing their feelings.

Tips on Reading Out Loud

Although reading aloud at any time can be beneficial, here are some tips that may help enhance the experience.

Schedule Reading Time

Make reading part of your daily routine, whether it is in the afternoon or just before bedtime. Not only will your child look forward to the time they spend with you, but it also sends the message that reading is important and has value.

Choose Books Wisely

Just because they are written for children doesn’t mean the storylines are sloppy or boring. Many authors write age-appropriate entertainment, while others use stories to help deal with various issues, from anger-management and abuse to handling sadness about the death of a loved one. Reading aloud can bring out laughter and joy as well as more serious emotions.

Make it Interactive

Instead of just reading the words, encourage your child to get involved in the story. Describing pictures, making predictions, and talking about issues addressed can help promote discussion. This can make them more comfortable having conversations with you and others throughout the rest of their lives. Allow time to discuss the book and what interested them the most.

Praise Often

If the book is frustrating or uses language unfamiliar to your child, be patient and encouraging. Let them know making mistakes is ok; they are part of learning and understanding. When a story catches their attention and imagination, they may want to ask questions as they go. This can help them expand cognitive skills quickly. Praising them on their thoughtfulness and asking questions of your own can make them more open to critical thinking and in-depth conversations.

Beacon Academy Charter School

Our small class sizes, personalized instruction, and academic support provide students with a well-rounded education. Data-driven curriculum and highly qualified teachers help children build a strong foundation in learning that can serve them throughout their lives. Contact us today to learn more about our Crystal, MN, programs, and whether our community-built culture is right for your child.

Image Credit: Shuttershock/Skolova