Archives for January 2015

Not Up to Grade Level

4th Grader Hates to Read. Or Does He?

Sometimes it looks like a child doesn’t like to read, but as Dr. Linda Silbert tells two worried parents, sometimes it’s something different. Read on to learn what things may masquerade as hating to read.

4th grader hates to readDear Dr. Linda,

I read your column about the boy who loved books but didn’t read very well. Your comments about dyslexia and phonics explained a lot for me. But we have a different kind of reading problem with our 4th grader. He is certainly not up to grade level. Aiden’s been tested, and he isn’t dyslexic. His reading isn’t great but he can read. However he’s not up to grade level.

The problem is he just hates to read. I know you’ve written about this before but now that school is starting can you please give us some suggestions for motivating him. We’re not asking him to like reading or even to read more than his teachers require, but we do want him to do well in school.

We’ve been told there’s more reading in 4th grade. We’re afraid his poor reading will hurt his grades. We appreciate your good advice.  

Worried Parents

Dear Worried Parents,

I understand your concern. We all want our children to do well in school. And you are correct. As I mentioned last week, kids are required to read more in 4th grade and to read in subjects like social studies and science, not just reading circle. So yes, poor reading skills can affect grades.

However, with help children who don’t read or don’t read up to grade level can improve a lot. Several factors contribute to children disliking reading. For many of these children, it’s not that they dislike reading, they dislike that reading is hard for them, and that they aren’t very good at it. [Read more…]

Learning the Alphabet Case Study

Case Study: How Henry Learned the Alphabet

learning the alphabet case studyHenry, who had just turned five, came into my office with his mom. Mom was concerned that Henry didn’t know all the letters in the alphabet. She said that Henry had been in preschool since two years old and therefore had enough exposure to the alphabet that he should have learned the letters by now.

When I assessed Henry, he was in the above average range of intelligence, but only knew five letters…H E N R Y. As I watched Henry it was obvious that he became totally engaged when he was playing and having fun. So, I took out the Tiger Tuesday Alphabet Lotto game and invited him to play the game with me. He wanted his mom to join us and she did. Each one of us had four Lotto boards, each with different letters of the alphabet. Henry chose which boards each would get.

He then wanted to be the caller. Of course I was delighted. It meant more practice in learning the letters. As he picked up each alphabet card with an upper case letter of the alphabet, he quickly looked at his boards to see if he had that letter. When his mom got one of the letters he’d jump up and down and tell her that she was doing great. But, the final result was that Henry won.

I told him that he could keep the game. When it was back in the package he stood hugging it. As they were leaving, his mom told him that she was taking him to Toys R Us because he had done such a good job. He then said, still hugging the game against his chest,  “Can I take my alphabet game with me into the store? I love this game.” [Read more…]

Organizing Student Work

An Organized Student is a Happy Student

Organized student workingWhich makes you a happy parent!

This post originally appeared in Dr. Linda’s syndicated newspaper column on September 4th, 2014 at the start of the school year. Getting students organized is beneficial anytime. Helping kids get organized, especially if they have ADHD, will help improve grades and make for a happier school year for both your young student and you!

Dear Dr. Linda:

A couple years ago you wrote a column about organizing student work, especially all that paper they bring home from school. You explained a system for helping kids organize this mess. I didn’t pay much attention at the time because my kids were little. One of them wasn’t even in school yet. But now that they’re older, what a disaster. I just found a paper about a school event I would have gone to but never saw the announcement. Could you please write about your paper organization again?

Thank you. Trish

Dear Trish,

I certainly sympathize with you and am happy to explain my paper organizing system again. It’s not so bad during the first couple months of the school year, but by mid-year, all that paper can be overwhelming. And what’s worse, lost assignments, notes from teachers, misplaced instructions for science projects and so forth can affect a child’s grades. [Read more…]

Parenting Holiday Stress

Holiday Parenting Stress Tips

The holidays can add to the normal stress that parents suffer throughout the year. In this Q&A, find out what Dr. Linda recommends to alleviate parenting stress and get a free resource to help your kids learn to study.

holiday parenting stress tips for any time of year.Dear Dr. Linda,

I know the holiday season is supposed to be a joyous and fun time for kids and adults. But I have to tell you that I begin dreading the holiday season around Halloween and don’t calm down until after New Years. Every year seems to be the same. I end up getting crazy with shopping, baking, gift wrapping, sending out holiday cards, etc.

My youngest, Evan, now in fifth grade and my daughter, Maddie, now in eighth grade, always seem to start doing poorly in school at this time of the year. I know why. I usually help them with their homework and stuff, but I don’t have the time or strength to help them during the holidays. My husband is rarely around because he travels for business.

Well, this year’s not any different. Last night, Evan was so confused by his homework that he needed more help than usual. I was so stressed out that I couldn’t figure it out either. The combination of the homework and my inability to help caused him to have a total meltdown. Then this morning I got a call from Maddie’s school counselor to tell me that her teachers would like to have a meeting with me to discuss Maddie’s recent drop in grades and her attitude.

How do other parents do this?

Mom dreading holidays [Read more…]

Phonics Centered — Consistent with Orton-Gillingham — Multisensory