Archive for the ‘help children read more’ Category

Monitoring Your Child’s Use of Media

February 23, 2014

KidsTech1Children today are spending an average of seven hours a day on entertainment media, including televisions, computers, phones and other electronic devices.

Studies have shown that the excessive use of media can lead to attention problems, school difficulties, sleep and eating disorders, and obesity. In addition, the Internet and cell phones can provide platforms for illicit and risky behaviors.

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers some recommendations that parents might find helpful in overseeing their children’s use of media and helping them make wise media choices:

  • Use established ratings systems for shows, movies and games to avoid inappropriate content, such as violence, explicit sexual content or glorified tobacco and alcohol use
  • Limit screen time and make educational media and non-electronic formats (books, newspapers and board games) readily available
  • Watch television with your children and put things you watch into context
  • Establish “screen-free” zones at home by making sure there are no televisions, computers or video games in children’s bedrooms
  • Turn off the TV during dinner
  • Children and teens should engage with entertainment media for no more than one or two hours per day, and that should be high-quality content
  • See that your kids spend time on outdoor play, reading, hobbies, and using their imaginations in free play
  • Television and other entertainment media should be avoided for infants and children under age 2. A child’s brain develops rapidly during these first years, and young children learn best by interacting with people, not screens.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at:


Teaching a Love of Learning

October 16, 2013

lovelearning3It’s parents who play the biggest role when it comes to instilling a love of learning in their children. When children take joy in discovering new things, it will transfer to their schoolwork and boost academic achievement. Following are some things you can do to encourage your child to learn …

Connect what your children are studying to what is going on in their lives and the world; discuss a newspaper article or newscast that relates to subject matter they are learning in class.

Ask about what your children are learning in school, not about their grades or test scores. Have them teach you what they learned in school, in their own words.

Never discourage questions. Each time you answer your child’s questions, he or she is learning.

Be an example. If your children see you studying, reading and learning, they will “see” that seeking knowledge is normal behavior and they will want to imitate you.

Point out the new things you learn with enthusiasm. Discuss the different ways you find new information, whether you’re looking for gardening tips on the Internet or taking a night class in literature.

Focus on strengths, encouraging developing talents. Even if your child didn’t ace her math test, she may have written a good poem in English class. In addition to a workbook for math practice, give her a writing journal.

Introduce your children to science museums, natural history museums, zoos, historical sites, national parks, and even forests. Much of learning is achieved through experiencing.

Praise your child when you see him or her reading or studying. Let them know they are doing a great thing!

Educational DVDs and videos are great for introducing your children to new science and history topics; use the “pause” button to stop and discuss what you are watching and answer questions.

Show enthusiasm for your children’s interests and encourage them to explore subjects that fascinate them.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds’ customized tutoring programs by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at:

Summer Learning Loss

June 28, 2013

summerreading1The American ideal of lazy summers filled with fun has an unintended consequence: If students are not engaged in learning over the summer, they lose skills in math and reading. For over a century, scholars have recognized that summer vacation is a period when students’ rate of academic development declines relative to the school year. Summer learning loss varies across grade level, subject matter, and family income.

Research shows that students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning of summer vacation. According to a report by the RAND Corporation, the average summer learning loss in math and reading for American students amounts to one month per year. On average, students lose approximately 2.6 months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months.

Furthermore, the learning loss is cumulative, summer after summer. It has a tremendous impact on students’ success, including high school completion, post-secondary education and work force preparedness.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Consider enrolling your child in Optiminds’ Cognitive Camp this summer to keep them mentally challenged. Or you might consider an Optiminds’ Reading/Writing or Math Strategies program.

Learn more about Optiminds’ customized tutoring programs by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at:

Tutoring Can Help Foster a Love of Reading

February 22, 2013

boysread2Helping a child become a reader is one of the greatest gifts that an adult can give, a gift that continues to pay dividends throughout life. Children who acquire strong reading skills at an early age often enjoy a more successful academic experience.

But getting children to read is becoming more difficult with the proliferation of movies, television shows, computer games, sports and after school activities vying for kids’ attention today.

Instilling a love of reading comes as much from reading to your children when they are very young as from your child’s own confidence in his or her reading skills. If you feel that your child may need help with their reading skills, tutoring is a great way to support and cultivate a love of reading. And remember, reading skills can be improved at any age.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds specializes in tutoring reading at all levels. Dr. Stewart and her staff will develop a customized, results-oriented reading program tailored to your child’s needs. One-on-one instruction in a comfortable atmosphere will quickly help improve your child’s reading performance, comprehension and vocabulary. With newfound confidence in their reading abilities, your child will be well on their way to becoming an avid reader.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the study, reading, math and cognitive skills of students of all ages. Learn more about Optiminds’ customized tutoring programs by calling Dr. Stewart today at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: And be sure to visit the Optiminds website at

Early Tutoring Can Be a Real Asset

September 22, 2012

An important resource in ensuring your child’s academic success is getting the help of a tutor. Dr. Jane Stewart offers tutoring services for students of all ages at her two locations—Optiminds in Southfield and The Brain Development Center in Novi.

Tutoring used to be thought of primarily as a remedial tool. If a student was struggling or made some mistakes  along the way, working with a tutor was a way to get help and make a fresh start. But nowadays, working with a tutor is often treated like having an academic personal trainer and, as such, is enlisted by even the best of students. Good students know how to take advantage of the possibilities of good tutoring and to get started early in the semester before trouble starts.

With the new school year just getting underway, here are some reasons why starting tutoring early can help:

  • Real learning takes time and starting early gives your student a chance to learn concepts slowly and solidly.
  • By being proactive, your child has a chance to grasp foundational concepts on which more difficult work is built.
  • Student and tutor have time to get to know one another and establish the rapport that can make a difference in how they work together.  The more a tutor works with your child, the more they get to know strengths, weaknesses, and learning styles.
  • Early work means that early homework assignments will be done correctly. This translates to a higher grade average and less jeopardy occurring later in the semester.
  • A tutor will hold your student accountable for completing work.
  • A tutor provides constant feedback on the work, which helps a student stay on track with subjects.
  • Tutoring builds confidence in a person’s learning abilities, increasing motivation to continue to do well.

Dr. Jane Stewart specializes in helping people of all ages improve their study, reading and cognitive skills at two locations: The Brain Development Center in Novi and Optiminds in Southfield. Contact Dr. Jane Stewart at (248) 496-0150 or email her at:

You can learn more about The Brain Development Center at: and Optiminds at:

Keep Children’s Brains Engaged This Summer

August 15, 2012

Summer vacation always seems to go by quickly. But from an academic perspective, three months off from school is a long time and can cause kids to lose some of their academic edge.

Research shows that the biggest impact on student academic achievement is made when families engage in learning activities that reflect the work children do in school. The summer break is an excellent opportunity for parents to reinforce their children’s learning and help prepare them for the year ahead.

You can help minimize learning loss over the summer months by staying engaged in your children’s learning.

Most public libraries have summer reading programs that are free and families can take advantage of other free library resources even if they don’t participate. If you know what books your child will be reading in the fall, you can help her by picking up other works by the same author or books from the same era. Have your child write a short book report discussing the novel she read.

Take your child camping near a lake, river or at a national park. You can introduce the forest, lake or wetland ecosystem to your child. Ask him what he knows about the food chain in the forest and which animals he can name from the ecosystem.

You might take the kids on a guided tour of a historical landmark or of the old part of a city. Choose a tour that introduces the history of the area or landmark and have a discussion with your child about life at that time. You can also take your child to a history or war museum and explore the different exhibits together.

Put aside some time for your kids to express themselves artistically. If they are interested in music or visual arts, get them an instrument or a paint set or take them outside to paint from nature.

And there is always the zoo or natural history museum.  Discuss the animals, their habitat, food and place in the ecosystem. If you are taking your child to a natural history museum, you can also introduce or discuss the science of evolution and the fate of extinct animals like the dinosaurs.

To give your child an additional boost, contact Dr. Jane Stewart at (248) 496-0150 or email her at: Dr. Stewart and staff help students of all ages improve their study, reading and cognitive skills—now at two locations: The Brain Development Center in Novi and Optiminds in Southfield.

You can learn more about the Brain Development Center at: and Optiminds at:

Dr. Jane Stewart Opens the Brain Development Center

August 5, 2012

Dr. Jane Stewart, owner of Optiminds, an educational and cognitive training service in Southfield, is proud to announce the opening of her second location, The Brain Development Center, in Novi. The Center is located at 23985 Novi Rd., Suite B-104.

“With the opening of the Brain Development Center, we hope to make our proven cognitive training techniques and tutoring services available to an even wider audience,” says Dr. Stewart. The Center offers customized programs designed to improve the cognitive abilities of students of all ages and ability levels. Some areas of focus include improvement of speed reading, visual stamina, visual attention, organization and home school support. The Center even offers daytime programs for seniors to improve cognitive functioning and working memory.

For more information about The Brain Development Center , contact Dr. Jane Stewart at (248) 496-0150 or email her at:  You can visit The Brain Development Center online at:, and Dr. Stewart’s Optiminds website at:

Tips to Encourage Your Child to Read More

July 27, 2012

Studies show what common sense tells us: the more kids read, the better they read and the more pleasure they get out of reading. But what about children who read very little? If this is the case with your child, you need to know why your child doesn’t like or want to read so you can decide what will work best in motivating your child to discover or rediscover how much fun reading can be.

Here are some suggestions to help overcome resistance to reading:

  • Expose your child to reading material related to their interests; use their interests and hobbies as starting points
  • Help them rearrange their schedules to make more time for reading
  • If your child is having a hard time reading, talk with his or her reading teacher. They will help you determine if your child may have a learning disability; and they can point you to interesting books and materials written at a level that matches your child’s reading ability.
  • Don’t nag about the value of reading and don’t bribe your child with a reward for reading.
  • Leave all sorts of reading materials including books, magazines, and colorful catalogs in conspicuous places around your home
  • Notice what attracts your children’s attention, even if they only look at the pictures. Then build on that interest; read a short selection aloud, or simply bring home more information on the same subject.
  • Let your children see you reading for pleasure in your spare time.
  • Take your children to the library regularly. Explore the children’s section together. Ask a librarian to suggest books and magazines your children might enjoy.
  • Present reading as an activity with a purpose—a way to gather useful information for, say, making paper airplanes, identifying a doll or stamp in your child’s collection, or planning a family trip.
  • Encourage older children to read to their younger brothers and sisters. Older children enjoy showing off their skills to an admiring audience.
  • Play games that are reading-related. Check your closet for spelling games played with letter tiles or dice, or board games that require players to read spaces, cards, and directions.
  • Perhaps over dinner, while you’re running errands, or in another informal setting, share your reactions to things you read, and encourage your children to do likewise.
  • Set aside a regular time for reading in your family, independent of schoolwork—the 20 minutes before lights out, just after dinner, or whatever fits into your household schedule. As little as 10 minutes of free reading a day can help improve your child’s skills and habits.
  • Encourage your child to read aloud to you an exciting passage in a book, an interesting tidbit in the newspaper, or a joke in a joke book. When children read aloud, don’t feel they have to get every word right. Even good readers skip or mispronounce words now and then.
  • On gift-giving occasions, give books and magazines based on your child’s current interests.
  • Not all reading takes place between the covers of a book. What about menus, road signs, food labels, and sheet music? Take advantage of countless spur-of-the-moment opportunities for reading during the course of your family’s busy day.

 Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has been helping to improve the study, reading and cognitive skills of clients of all ages. Find out more about Optiminds brain fitness programs and cognitive skills training by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or email us at: And be sure to visit our website at


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