Back to School: Strategies & Tips for a Successful School Year
For many students, back-to-school season comes with the promise of a fresh start and another fun and successful year of learning. They eagerly fill their backpacks with sharpened pencils and new notebooks for each subject. But for students who struggle in school, they may instead be preoccupied with anxiety, stress, and waning self-confidence as another tough school year looms on the horizon.
It can be frustrating for both parent and student when conversations about report cards dissolve into tears, or discussions at the dinner table end in arguments as your child insists there’s no need for help practicing spelling words. Does your son constantly leave his math book in his desk? Is your daughter able to give great verbal summaries but freezes when she has to do a written assignment? While these struggles may have been buried under the sand while your family vacationed at the beach this summer, they are likely to surface as you transition back into the school-year routine.
When searching for ways to help support your son and/or daughter this school year, one of the best things you can do is be proactive about giving them the tools they need.
Make Homework Easier
Kids with learning or attention issues can have a tough time with homework, no matter how hard they try. As a parent, you know the importance of completing homework and developing strong study skills. But it can be hard to know how to be supportive without doing too much. Students should get the learning benefit from the assignment. Check out tips in Help Your Child with Homework
Fill Your Tool Kit
In the age of the Internet and social media, you’ll find a wide variety of free and varied resources to help you best understand, empathize with, and support your student. Take advantage of the lighter homework load in the beginning of the school year and start gathering information:
- Join Facebook groups for parents in your area, to swap tips about the best local tutors or upcoming events.
- Balancing extracurriculars and school work may lead to cranky, sleep-deprived middle and high schoolers. The Child Mind Institute offers tips for helping your teenager get more sleep.
- Email may be the easiest way to reach out to your child’s teacher — set up a time (even before Back-to-School Night) to discuss her expectations for the school year and learn about any recommendations she may have for supplemental materials or other educators. You can also share information about your student’s strengths and strategies that have previously worked well for him or her in the classroom.
The Right Instruction
As the school year continues, it may become clear that your student is struggling to keep up. Choppy reading fluency or trouble recognizing sight words, despite seeing the same words in the previous paragraph, may be due to a weakness in symbol imagery (the ability to visualize letters and sounds within words). Weak symbol imagery will cause difficulty in establishing sight words, contextual fluency, and spelling.
A student who has trouble following directions, comprehending what she’s read, or organizing her time may have challenges with concept imagery, or the ability to image a gestalt (whole). She may be able to read quickly and accurately but struggle to understand and describe what she’s read or answer critical thinking questions about a given text.
At Lindamood-Bell, we are committed to teaching all children and adults to read and comprehend to their potential. The first step in understanding your child’s individual strengths and weaknesses is scheduling an evaluation, which you can learn more about here.
Watch as one parent, who describes our reading instruction as a “mythbuster,” shares his son’s experience with our approach:
Lindamood-Bell Academy | K-12 Instruction
A private school that provides both content-focused curriculum and process-based remediation tailored to a student’s individual needs, Lindamood-Bell Academy (LBA) is a perfect option for students who haven’t been able to thrive in a traditional school setting. Offering both in-person and online instruction, LBA allows students to access grade-level content in areas of strength while simultaneously receiving 1:1 support in subjects that prove challenging. Students of all ages and abilities can receive individualized support with a curriculum tailored to their unique needs.
To find out more about how Lindamood-Bell can help you best set your son or daughter up for success this fall, please contact your local Learning Center.