Sample Questions & Parent Guides

Every spring, beginning in second grade, California students take tests that are part of the STAR Program. A few months later, students and their parents receive individual test results showing how the student is meeting the state’s academic standards.

Test results are used for student and school accountability purposes and are reflected in Sylvia Mendez’s scores for the state’s Academic Performance Index (API) and the federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).

The California Department of Education has a website with information about the California Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) program.  At, you can download parent guides for each grade and view real questions released from actual tests.

Educational Lingo

ASCD: A Lexicon of Learning

Have you ever wondered what educators mean when they refer to accountabilityachievement gap, or charter schools? This online dictionary from the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) provides definitions for hundreds of educational terms.


A Fun Way to Practice

Berkeley Unified School District has arranged for elementary students to have free access to the Compass Learning educational software, which you can easily access from home or school.  This software is aligned with state and national standards and provides a stimulating (and fun!), customized learning environment for each child: 

Compass Learning is at
User Name: LeCFirstNameLastInitial
Password: FirstInitialLastInitial
School: BUSD

For example, John Smith has a user name of LeCJohnS and a password of js.  Contact August Fern at if you are having difficulties logging in or would like to set up a parent account to monitor your student's progress.


The websites below offer a variety of suggestions on how to support children's writing. Included are websites that explain how children acquire writing skills, what good writing looks like at different grade levels, where children can publish their writing, and how parents can create enjoyable activities to help their children.

Reading Is Fundamental is a website offers educators and parents a variety of resources to promote literacy, including tips on motivating children to read.

¡Colorín Colorado! Offered in English and Spanish, this website provides parents with information on how to help their children become more successful students. It includes tips on reading and writing, activities for children, and other resources.

National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE): Writing Initiative NCTE is an association of more than 60,000 educators dedicated to improving the teaching and learning of English and language arts. This website offers parents an excellent set of primers on how children acquire writing skills.

National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE): Parents and Students This page from the NCTE encourages parent and caregiver involvement in children's reading and writing.

National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE): Tips for Parents

This page from NCTE offers ten practical tips for parents who want to help their teenagers become better writers.

Slime Kids

School Library Media Kids is created and maintained by a licensed reading specialist and school library media speciaist. Students have the opportunity to choose from many of the best literacy-related resources and educational tools found online through the use of the website. SlimeKids is designed to help connect students with print materialls through our book reviews, book trailers and author pages. Information Pertaining to Writing

This is a list of articles for parents on how to help children write well and enjoy writing.

PBS Parents: Helping Kids with Writing: Q&A with Joyce Elliott

This question-and-answer page features Joyce Elliott, a high school teacher and member of the National Commission on Writing for America's Families, Schools, and Colleges. Joyce answers questions about encouraging young children to be enthusiastic writers, fostering creativity in writing, and providing support and encouragement to children throughout the writing process.

PBS Parents: Writing Development

This website for parents includes information on writing milestones from infancy to third grade, suggested activities, and tips to encourage children to read and write.

ReadWriteThink: Web Resources Gallery

This is a comprehensive listing of resources related to writing and reading. ReadWriteThink is a partnership between the International Reading Association (IRA), the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), and the MarcoPolo Education Foundation.

ReadWriteThink: Family Message Journals

This is a lesson plan for teachers that parents also might find of interest. Children are asked to write in journals about books, school activities, and other experiences and then share their writing with family members who in turn respond.

Stone Soup

Stone Soup is a literary magazine written by children ages 8 to 13. This website provides young people with ideas about writing, book reviews, and student recordings. Children can read sample issues, link to other young writers' websites, and submit stories for review.

U.S. Department of Education: Tools for Student Success

This website provides links to several publications for parents who want to help their children succeed in school, including a parent's guide to the No Child Left Behind Act.

Book Adventure

Book Adventure is a free, reading-motivation program for children in grades K-8. Children create their own book lists from recommended titles, take multiple-choice quizzes on the books they've read, and earn points and prizes for their literary successes.

Carol Hurst's Children's Literature Site

This site is a collection of reviews of great books for kids, ideas for using books in the classroom, and collections of books and activities about particular subjects, curriculum areas, themes, and professional topics.

Children's Book Council

A cosponsor (with the International Reading Association) of the Children's Choices project, CBC promotes the use and enjoyment of children’s trade books and is the official sponsor of Young People’s Poetry Week and National Children’s Book Week.

International Children's Digital Library

With participants from around the world, this 5-year research project is building an international collection of children's books that reflects both the diversity and quality of children's literature. Currently, the collection includes materials donated from 27 cultures in 15 languages.

LD Online

LD Online is the world's leading Web Site on learning disabilities and ADHD. They offers hundreds of expert-reviewed articles and resources for educators, parents, and others concerned about children and adults with learning disabilities and ADHD.

National Institute for Literacy

NIFL is an independent federal organization leading the national effort toward a fully literate America in the 21st century.

This is a collection of math resources from a variety of educational organizations.

Pre-K & Kindergarten

First Grade

Second Grade

Third Grade

Fourth Grade

Fifth Grade

Additional Math Resources

Math Advice for Parents

Cool Math for Parents

Has some suggestions for helping with homework and suggestions to help little ones get ready for Kindergarten.

Drilling Multiplication Tables of 2, 3, 10, and 5

Teaching guide from HomeschoolMath


Links to many math games

Helping Children Learn at Home

Math and science tips for young children

Helping Kids to Thrive on Math

For teachers and parents from Math Cats

Helping your child learn math

A parent's guide

How to Teach the Multiplication Tables to Your Child

Learning Times Tables

Advice for parents and teachers from Cool Math

Little Scientists

Tips for teaching children math and science through hands-on experience

Math and Young Children

A list of links classified by age level

Math for Elementary School Kids

From Teach R Kids

Math for the Fun of It

Math, Science, And Girls

Can We Close The Gender Gap? From the National Network for Child Care's Connections Newsletter.

Math Tricks to Learn the Facts

From the About network

Math Worksheets

From ABC Teach

Multiplication Idea Bank

From Math Cats

Talk About Math

A guide to raising children who can do math [several videos are included]

Teaching Math to Young Children

This is one of a series of web pages to help students understand math, and to help parents teach their children math.

Teach multiplication

Resources from

Help Your Child Succeed in Math
You can make a big difference in your child's attitude, motivation, and math-ability.

Homework Help
Key concepts to make those homework sessions more effective, and more fun! Includes additional resources to use in daily homework sessions.

Math Education Today
Math is taught differently now. Here's help to get up to speed.