The K5 Learning Blog follows educational issues and urges parents to be pro-active in helping their children reach their full academic potential.

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By K5 Team
posted Mar 30 2015 - 12:36pm

PrefixEvery parent wants to see their children succeed at reading. It is one of the first steps in an education that leads to a life of learning in every subject. Having a knowledge of vocabulary and how to build on existing vocabulary makes reading a more productive learning process.

A great way to help your children increase their vocabulary is to teach them common prefixes and their meanings through gameplay. Once these are mastered, reading becomes a much more fluid process because it is easy to figure out the definitions of unfamiliar words without looking to a dictionary.

By K5 Team
posted Mar 24 2015 - 11:22am

We know that committing the basic math facts to memory is a real chore for our kids. Surely there must be some logic to these sums. The answer is yes, there is. Here are some tricks for learning the multiplication math facts.

Let’s start by looking at the multiplication grid.

multiplication chart

Every multiplication has its twin. See, that 8x3, is the same as 3x8? Now, you’ll only have to remember half the table.

But there’s more.

By K5 Team
posted Mar 16 2015 - 11:45am

two to too word pairsChildren often struggle with the spelling of confusing word pairs. The confusion can arise because the words are homophones, or because they are spelled similarly, or both. A previous post, Confusing Word Pairs, offered suggestions to help your child understand the differences in meaning between similar words, but spelling them can still be a challenge. There are creative ways you can help your child remember which word is which when it comes to spelling by using association.


A frequently used example is the spelling of principle and principal.

A principle is a rule. ---  A principal is the head of a school, and your pal.

This example associates the spelling of principal with the word pal.  

By K5 Team
posted Mar 9 2015 - 12:00pm

The three most common ways to describe are parts of a whole are fractions, decimals and percents.

Fractions are often used in recipes or in carpentry to express measurements units, such as use ½ cup of sugar, or make the cut ¼ inch deep.

Decimals are often used when we describe amounts of money, in the metric system and often in scientific notations.

Percents are often used in statistics and in business for working out areas like profits.

Here’s a handy guide for making basic conversions among the three descriptions.

By K5 Team
posted Mar 5 2015 - 3:20pm

wheel of fortuneBy Laura Payne

It might be hard to believe, but you can provide your children with an entertaining way to practice reading and spelling that incorporates phonemic awareness by watching Wheel of Fortune and playing along with the contestants.

A family TV game show night is something everyone will look forward to, and children will have so much fun that they won’t even realize they are learning about reading, spelling and sounds.

Some trivia about the letters and sounds of the English language will help you understand how Wheel of Fortune is a wonderful tool for helping your children practice reading and writing.

By K5 Team
posted Mar 2 2015 - 12:31pm

factoringWhat is factoring?

Factoring is like taking a number apart. The factors of a number are all those numbers that can be divided evenly into that number. Factors are either composite numbers (a natural number that is not prime) or prime numbers (a number whose only factors are itself and 1, for example 3).

Why is it important to learn factors?

Factoring is used in algebra, which is used in pre-calculus, and later in calculus. Factoring is used to help simplify complex equations by breaking them into smaller parts. It’s important that students learn about factoring from an early stage using simple numbers, as later they will need to apply the same practice to much more complex equations.

By K5 Team
posted Feb 20 2015 - 11:17am

phonemesBy Laura Payne

Why is English spelling so difficult? Consider the following example that has been used since 1855.

What does ghoti spell?
It might never cross your mind that it could spell fish. Here is how:

gh = the f-sound from enough
o = the short i-sound from women
ti = the sh-sound from action

By K5 Team
posted Feb 18 2015 - 11:55am

By Sheila Kelly Welch

the right wordHave you ever found your mind reaching for a word but you can’t quite grab it? If you’ve turned to a thesaurus for help, then you’ll love this book, an unusual biography about a fascinating man – doctor, scientist, and lover of words. THE RIGHT WORD: ROGET AND HIS THESAURUS, written by Jen Bryant and illustrated with Melissa Sweet’s whimsical, detailed illustrations captured two recent awards: the Sibert Award (best informational book published in 2014) and a Caldecott honor (for the illustrations). Although this is technically a picture book, the subject and the visually sophisticated illustrations will be appreciated best by children over eight years old.

By K5 Team
posted Feb 16 2015 - 11:55am

By Dr. Patricia Deubel

focus troubleParents might say that their children are reading very well and developing a good vocabulary, yet when it comes to reading a math text their children are having comprehension problems.  What parents might not realize is that reading a math text is different from reading texts in other subjects.  Having taught math for 30 years, I know  that students often don’t read the text because they have never learned how.  They jump right in to doing homework problems because they rely greatly on explanations from their teachers for how to do those. 

By K5 Team
posted Feb 12 2015 - 4:39pm

two peas

By Laura Payne

Metaphors and similes - each of these figures of speech play an important role in everyday life. Unfortunately, learning about them, and learning how to tell which is which, can be quite tedious for students. It might help them to know that they have actually been using metaphors and similes almost all of their lives.

Metaphors and Similes in Everyday Life

Much of what children know is learned through the use of metaphors and similes because we explain unfamiliar concepts to children by comparing them to concepts they already know. This is the everyday aspect of metaphors and similes for example, when a child asks what a wolf is, and you respond that a wolf is like a dog, but it lives in the wild, you are using a simile.

Metaphors and Similes in Language Arts

When it comes to Language Arts, metaphors and similes are used to add descriptive flair to speaking and writing. They are a great tool for “showing, not telling” which is what instructors strive to get their students to do.  Here are some examples: