English/Language Arts Tips for High School Parents

English/Language Arts Tips for Middle School Parents

The early years in middle school begin to build college-ready skills for students. The English and Language Arts curriculum is based on the Iowa Core standards and focuses on key concepts in reading, writing, speaking and listening, and language.

As a parent, the best thing you can do for your child is to stay engaged in their learning. Each day, take time to ask your child about their school day. Ask open-ended questions to encourage interaction. Then, you can build on their daily learning with some of the activities suggested on this webpage. Here are specific areas to focus on when working with your child.

You can also view suggested learning resources for students. These learning resources offer both digital activities and printable practice materials.

6th Grade

  • Listen with your child to a television reporter, politician, or other speakers. Ask your child to tell you the speaker’s main points (e.g., was the speaker trying to convince the audience of something? How?).

  • Visit a library or bookstore together and ask the librarian or bookseller to recommend young adult books, such as Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor.

  • Invite your child to participate in an adult gathering, such as a meal with friends, to practice his or her listening skills, and to make conversation.

  • Encourage your child to learn at the library or on the Internet what life in your community was like 100 years ago. Have your child write a story, poem, or play about that time.

Read the Iowa Core Parent Guide (English) and Iowa Core Parent Guide (Spanish).

7th Grade

  • Visit a local art museum together. Take time to closely observe the details of the paintings or other art objects and talk about what you see there.

  • Let your child help plan a family outing by using the Internet or library to research a place he or she is interested in.

  • Ask your child who his or her favorite authors are. Why does your child like their books? What ideas do the authors write about? Who are your child’s favorite characters? Why?

Read the Iowa Core Parent Guide (English) and Iowa Core Parent Guide (Spanish).

8th Grade

  • Make time in everyone’s busy schedule for family discussions about things happening around the world. Weekends can be a chance for everyone to catch up.

  • Visit the campus of a local college with your teen. Begin talking about college early. What does he or she expect from college? What high school courses will your child need to pass to prepare for college?

  • Keep books and magazines around the house that your child will enjoy reading and learning from.

Read the Iowa Core Parent Guide (English) and Iowa Core Parent Guide (Spanish).

Source: Iowa Core Parent Guides from the Iowa Department of Education.
Read the complete standards on the Iowa Core website.