Imagine a Fresh Start | Turn Student Struggles into School Success
Why Is My Child Struggling In School?
“My teacher hates me!” Jamie exclaimed as she threw her backpack onto the kitchen floor. “She always calls me out for talking or not paying attention, but I am paying attention!”
It can be disheartening for parents to hear that your child is having a hard time with a teacher, or that they may have difficulty staying on task. And when their grades are poor, too, you may wonder, “How do I help my child improve in school?”
Intervention Ideas for Struggling Students
Talk to Your Student About Why School is Hard
Start by gathering more information about what specifically is challenging for your child at school. Ask your child for examples of what happens at school while acknowledging their feelings. “It sounds like you had a rough day at school. I’m sorry to hear that. Help me picture what happened. What did your teacher say? What was happening right before that?” Take notes on activities or subjects that cause difficulty in school. Make mention of the emotion your student experiences, is she stressed at school or bored, frustrated or disinterested in learning?
Develop Strategies for Promoting Positive Behavior in the Classroom
Use imagery language to help your child picture what they could do differently, based on what the issue may be. “I know you were so excited about going to the movies over the weekend. When do you picture is the best time to tell your friends? During homeroom announcements or during recess?” Offering choices can make it easier for students who have difficulty verbalizing their thoughts or are hesitant to talk about how school is going. Picturing the right choice to make can help a child with behavior problems in school.
Communicate with the Teacher about Supporting Your Struggling Learner
Start a conversation with the teacher about how to help your struggling student. Because tone can often be misinterpreted, it’s often best to meet in person. Sending a brief email to set up a time to chat may be helpful. Keeping a positive and respectful tone may help keep things productive: “Jamie seems to be having a tough time meeting the classroom expectations lately. I would love to meet one day to discuss what I can do to help support her in school.” The teacher may be able to shed light on the times of day or activities that are tricky for your student. She may suggest homework and assignments you can help with at home, which would help your student feel more prepared in the classroom. There may even be extra help available in the classroom or after school.
Signs of a Deeper Issue: Supporting Struggling Learners
Despite everyone’s efforts, students may continue struggle with school work. A renewed focus on your child’s homework can often reveal difficulties with the material; weakness in learning and literacy skills may seem more apparent. They may also start to share more detail about their classroom struggles.
How To Help Struggling Learners
For many struggling students, behavior problems often begin in the classroom when the workload becomes too hard or when they realize they aren’t able to read as well or as quickly as their peers. They know they can’t always do the assignments presented to them, so it becomes easier to find new and clever ways to avoid tasks. Gifted children can present behavior issues in school when expectations don’t align with performance. Students with a high IQ for example, often are labeled “lazy” because it is assumed that they should be able to read and comprehend well. For these bright students, it’s especially tough to see how much easier reading is for their peers.
No parent wants to feel like their child is falling behind in school. For many, the first step in helping struggling learners succeed in school is addressing underlying learning challenges. If the foundational sensory-cognitive skills for reading are not in place, students may struggle to reach their learning potential.
Learning Challenges: Symbol Imagery and Concept Imagery
A cause of difficulty in establishing sight words and contextual fluency is difficulty in visualizing letters in words. This is called weak symbol imagery. A primary cause of language comprehension problems is difficulty creating an imagined gestalt. This is called weak concept imagery. This weakness in comprehension causes individuals to get only “parts” of information they read or hear, but not the whole.
Signs of weak symbol imagery can be easier to spot in struggling students (slow, labored reading, difficulty with spelling) than those of weak concept imagery (difficulty with following directions, answering open-ended questions, grasping humor, mental mapping). Students struggling with symbol imagery often have difficulty reading words but can comprehend, and maybe labeled dyslexic. Weakness in comprehension can often present as low motivation or a short attention span in students struggling in school.
How to Help a Child Struggling with Reading
Finding the right intervention can make all the difference for children struggling with reading and comprehension. Individualized sensory-cognitive instruction can address the specific learning challenge of each child and help them find success in school.
Watch the video below to hear from a mom whose daughter was struggling at school and wasn’t able to read despite being extremely bright. She describes how Lindamood-Bell instruction changed their family’s life: “She took a final assessment at the end, and the results were just incredible. More than what I had hoped for.”
Learn more about how Lindamood-Bell instruction can turn this school year around for your struggling student. An accurate Learning Ability Evaluation is the first step in teaching individuals to learn to their potential. Click here to find a Learning Center near you.