When Should Kids Learn to Read, Write, and Do Math?
Your child starting to read is just one of many educational milestones to watch for as a parent
When kids don't learn: Seek help
How can you know if your child needs extra help? Often a child who's
struggling will show signs of unhappiness, says Horowitz, giving you a social
or emotional barometer that clues you into their frustration. "That's when you
definitely jump into motion."
To find out if there's really a problem, work with your child and gather
data, says Horowitz. "If you're concerned about whether your child is reading
or spelling at the level he should - with the accuracy and precision he should
- investigate. Read with your child and see. Write with your child and see.
Does it take three times longer? Then talk with your child's teacher about
Graham agrees. But base your assessment of writing on at least three
compositions, he says, since a child who's struggling may have missed key
instructions the first time around.
Some kids simply have minor lags in learning. But even when parents suspect
a learning disability, they tend to wait almost a year before seeking help,
often to avoid stigmatizing their child. But early intervention can help.
Research shows that the best time to help a child with reading challenges, for
example, is in the first two years of school.
It's up to schools and teachers to be on the lookout for children with
learning disabilities. Federal law requires schools to test children with
possible learning problems and develop remedial programs so that children can
succeed. If you're concerned about your child's performance, ask your school
for testing to see if an intervention is needed.
As a parent, it's wise to keep an eye on milestones. But use a child's signs
of struggle to motivate you to investigate, not to press the panic button.
Remember, reading, writing, and 'rithmatic include a range of complex skills to
learn. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither are a child's three Rs.