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The purpose of our blog page is to provide resources, ideas, and suggestions to assist parents in guiding their children as we believe parent involvement is the single most important part of a child's success in school and in life.

Signs of Academic Difficulty

Thaddeus Falana M.ed - Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Signs of Academic Difficulty

 

Often times, parents watch their child get pushed through grade levels without properly identifying the child’s learning gaps or seeking appropriate interventions from the child’s school or outside agencies such as One On One Tutoring Service, located in Philadelphia, PA .  I have met with countless parents who had no idea what their child’s weaknesses were.  The end result is that the child’s learning gaps continue to widen as he or she gets older making it more difficult, expensive, and a lot more time consuming for interventions to be successful.   It is strongly recommended that parents assess their child at least twice a year, in the beginning of the school year and the end of the school year, in order to know where he or she stands in accordance to his grade level and age.   Usually, schools have the ability to provide such testing, however, a wiser choice would be to allow an outside entity such as One On One Tutoring Service, to administer achievement tests that will identify not only your child’s instructional level in reading, writing, and mathematics, but also identify weak skills that may be affecting your child’s progress in the classroom.  In addition to periodic testing, (Misunderstood Minds n.d.) suggests some signs to look out for if your child is struggling in reading, writing, or mathematics:

Reading (decoding):

  • trouble sounding out words and recognizing words out of context
  • confusion between letters and the sounds they represent
  • slow oral reading rate (reading word-by-word)
  • reading without expression
  • ignoring punctuation while reading

Reading (comprehension):

  • confusion about the meaning of words and sentences
  • inability to connect ideas in a passage
  • omission of, or glossing over detail
  • difficulty distinguishing significant information from minor details
  • lack of concentration during reading

Writing:

  • difficulty getting started on writing assignments
  • poor use of lines on the paper
  • organizational problems
  • uneven spacing between letters
  • many misspelled words
  • poor letter formation
  • transposed letters and spelling omissions
  • poor narrative sequencing
  • lack of transitions
  • poor vocabulary
  • many misspelled words
  • frequent capitalization, punctuation, and grammar errors
  • trouble generating ideas or elaborating on them
  • difficulty developing and organizing ideas
  • lack of opinion or sense of audience
  • difficulty with writing tasks that require creativity and/or critical thinking

Mathematics

  • be unable to recall basic math facts, procedures, rules, or formulas
  • be very slow to retrieve facts or pursue procedures
  • have difficulties maintaining precision during mathematical work
  • have difficulties with handwriting that slow down written work or make it hard to read later
  • have difficulty remembering previously encountered patterns
  • forget what he or she is doing in the middle of a math problem
  • have difficulties sequencing multiple steps
  • become entangled in multiple steps or elements of a problem
  • lose appreciation of the final goal and over emphasize individual elements of a problem
  • not be able to identify salient aspects of a mathematical situation, particularly in word problems or other problem solving situations where some information is not relevant
  • be unable to appreciate the appropriateness or reasonableness of solutions generated
  • have difficulty with the vocabulary of math
  • be confused by language in word problems
  • not know when irrelevant information is included or when information is given out of sequence
  • have trouble learning or recalling abstract terms
  • have difficulty understanding directions
  • have difficulty explaining and communicating about math, including asking and answering questions
  • have difficulty reading texts to direct their own learning
  • have difficulty remembering assigned values or definitions in specific problems
  • be confused when learning multi-step procedures
  • have trouble ordering the steps used to solve a problem
  • feel overloaded when faced with a worksheet full of math exercises
  • not be able to copy problems correctly
  • may have difficulties reading the hands on an analog clock
  • may have difficulties interpreting and manipulating geometric configurations
  • may have difficulties appreciating changes in objects as they are moved in space

Misunderstood Minds. PBS.  n.d. Retrieved from: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/misunderstoodminds/intro.html

 

 

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