Parents, children prepare to go back to school

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

School, library officials offer tips to help children acclimate

As summer fun comes to a close, it's time to start buying school supplies, clothes, completing forms, and making all the necessary preparations for children to return to school.

Jill LeCompte, assistant superintendent for the Cassville school district, said since children typically do not have a set routine over the summer, one of the most important preparations parents can make is helping their child acclimate to a new schedule.

"We've got two weeks, as school starts Aug. 14," she said. "One of the things parents can do is to start not letting kids sleep late. Start getting them up gradually toward their school time, eating breakfast, those kinds of habits. That way, it's not such a shock to them when school starts. Teachers have to do the same thing."

Richard Asbill, superintendent, affirmed the importance of routines as the beginning of school draws near.

"Two of the things I look at, even in our own household for back to school, are routines and safety," he said. "Parents need to start getting students back into those schedules and routines, when they need to go to bed and get up. It's always a challenge the first week or two of school.

"And, we want to encourage people to remember to tell their neighbors and friends that school is starting, so they need to be looking out for children at bus stops and sidewalks. So we want to slow down and take time, so safety is first."

In addition to winding down for the summer and adjusting to new routines, parents may be wondering where to find a school supply list for their children.

LeCompte said parents can find supply lists for their child's school at a kiosk in Walmart, which supplies a list for all area schools. Parents can also find supply lists for their schools in the back-to-school tab of the Cassville Democrat, which is inserted in today's issue.

On Aug. 10, Cassville schools will have a supply drop off and meet-the-teacher event from 4-6 p.m. for grades K-8 at the primary, intermediate and middle schools.

"We'll also have handouts and information if parents need it, including free and reduced lunch forms, and that way the kids don't have to bring all their supplies on the bus the first day," LeCompte said.

Another thing parents can do to help children prepare for school is to help them brush up on reading skills. If children have not been reading over the summer, they still have two weeks to catch up.

"Studies have shown if children only read four books over the summer, they would be pretty close to where they were when school got out," said Cheryl Williams, branch supervisor at the Cassville Branch Library. "It should retain their reading level. If they don't, they lose it and will have to play catch up.

"People forget that reading is a skill. Like basketball, football, or driving a car, if you don't practice, you will lose the skill."

For children who have not been reading over the summer, Williams advises parents to help their child get busy reading over the next two weeks.

"You can read anything," she said. "A newspaper, magazine, a comic book. Reading is reading. Road signs, billboards, reading is everywhere. You're not going to go straight into a basketball game without warming up, so warm up your reading skills."

Williams, a previous teacher, compared reading to backing up a car.

"When I was teaching, I told kids I do not like to parallel park," she said. "I can get through life without parallel parking, but I've got to know how to back up my car. So, you have to practice it until you're comfortable."

Williams also reminded parents to utilize the library's resources for their child during the school year.

"The best school supply list they can get is a library card," Williams said. "We have things the school libraries don't have. Because of funding, we have lots of things and materials that the school can't get. And, we can borrow things nationwide. If you need a book that's in Alaska, we can get it for you. And we've got free Internet and ebooks."

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