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Elementary School Expert Advice from Barbara Potts

Q
My ten-year-old daughter has always struggled with reading and spelling. She's been getting extra help for those subjects and her teacher says she's doing very well, but when I work with her at home I don't see any improvement. It seems as if she isn't interested in learning, but her teacher says she's always the first to raise her hand and is eager to help others. When she enters junior high next year, her poor skills in reading and spelling are sure to affect her grades. What can I do?
A
Talk with the person who has been giving your daughter extra help in reading and spelling and ask what progress he has seen. Keep in mind that children this age often perform better for adults other than their parents.

You can also ask the school counselor to observe your daughter in the classroom to give you an objective opinion of what she is doing there. If the problem appears to be motivation, the counselor may be able to give your daughter some individual time or include her in a small group on that topic.

If the problem appears to continue when your daughter starts junior high, jump on it early and get her the extra tutoring or counseling that she needs. Both the elementary school and the junior high have screening tests available that you can request to determine how far behind your daughter is.

Barbara Potts has worked as an elementary school counselor for many years. She has a BA in psychology from Wake Forest University, and an M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

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