Back-to-School Tips
for Parents

By  Laurie Hunter

Updated August 7, 2018

Attend Parent Orientations at the Beginning of Every School Year

At the beginning of every school year, each school hosts an orientation for students and parents. Sometimes it is called Back-to-School Night, Open House, or Meet the Teacher. These back-to-school events are valuable opportunities for parents to learn essential information about our children’s classroom experiences. More importantly, we should attend so we can start building a relationship with our children’s teachers and the school staff.

Write a Parent Letter

We can also start building a rapport and advocate for our children at the beginning of every school year by writing a brief letter to our children’s teachers. We will have the most impact if we deliver it within one week after Back-to-School Night. Also, our letters should be about one page, no longer than two! Below is a Back-to-School Letter Sample.

Sample Back-to-School Letter

September 3, ____
To: (name of teacher)
Re: (name of student)

It was nice to meet you on Back-to-School Night. I’d like to take this time to provide you with relevant information regarding my child, (student’s name). 

Brief History
At the end of 1st grade, (student name) was identified with dyslexia. Every year, he has received intervention and 504 Accommodations for his dyslexia. He has become a high-functioning dyslexic student, progressing in reading and other areas in school. In 5th grade, he made AB Honor Roll and was in Safety Patrol and Art Enrichment. 

Challenges/Work in Progress

(student’s name) experiences difficulties in the following areas:

  • Reading fluency rate
  • Copying down information from a distance
  • Spelling
  • Organizing and sequencing sentences in compositions
  • Writing in cursive
  • Sequencing of steps in multi-step math problems
  • Rote memorization of multiplication tables
  • Self-confidence

Section 504 Accommodations
I attribute much of (student name)’s success in reading to the phonics intervention he received and his 504 Accommodations. I attached his 504 Accommodations for 6th grade. 

What Works
I attribute (student name)’s budding self-confidence and increased competency to some of the strategies his previous teachers have used during their instruction. Over the years, the following strategies have made the biggest difference for my child. They address his difficulties and prevent anxiety and frustration, which have significantly decreased undesirable classroom behaviors:

  • Deliver explicit and systematic instruction in Reading and Math
  • Break down processes into clear individual steps, starting from the beginning; use checkboxes, diagrams, or visuals
  • Think Alouds – the teacher would talk out loud to the students, explaining from beginning to end, discussing the rationale
  • Anchor newly learned information to visuals
  • Use colors to distinguish similarities or differences
  • Incorporate the students’ interests into lessons 
  • Check for understanding 
  • Oral administration of the Math STAAR

(Student’s name) knows he is dyslexic and he is still learning how and when to advocate for himself. He is shy and does not want to call attention to himself, so it is difficult for him to self-advocate. Please encourage him to self-advocate in the following ways:

  • Sit in a desk closer to the board and other visuals
  • Ask questions to make sure he understands what he is reading
  • Ask questions to make sure he understands what he is writing (ex. class notes and agenda book)

As you get to know (student’s name), you will find that he is hard-working, conscientious, motivated, and imposes high expectations of himself. He wants your communication and guidance. He is creative, scientific, constructive, and inventive.

In the interest of time, I tried to be brief and concise. Don’t hesitate to ask me to expand or clarify. Let me know if you have any questions. Also, if you have any suggestions, you can always express yourself honestly with me. I welcome your input. 

Best regards,
(your name)

Our children do not have to be identified with a learning disability in order for us to write a letter to a teacher. The purpose of writing a letter is so that teachers can become acquainted with our unique children and, hence, provide the “right” instruction for everyone. As a consequence, our children will become more successful. And if our children are more successful, then our teachers will be more successful also.