Set Students Up for Success

Don’t believe for a minute that your children have to be geniuses to get mostly A’s and B’s. This is an absolute myth. What most need is a willingness to work hard, persistence in completing difficult tasks, self-discipline, a sense of responsibility and a focus on doing their best. As parents, you are the mentors who can instill in them these habits that lead to success in school.

Your involvement in their education also is essential. What families do to help their children learn is more important to their success in school than family income or education. To be involved, you need to:

– Know what your children are doing at school. Talk with them each day about school. Look at all the work they bring home whether they are in kindergarten or high school.

– Expect your children to do homework or school-related work every day for approximately 10 minutes for each year in school – starting in first grade.

– Show interest in your children’s education by attending as many school functions as you can.

– Handle academic difficulties and behavior problems when they first appear to resolve them quickly.

– Praise your children’s efforts so they know you are proud of the work they are doing in school.

– Help your children get organized to arrive at school on time and ready to learn.

Q: My son will soon be starting kindergarten. He believes that school will be a hard trial because he saw his sister doing so much homework this year in fourth grade. We’ve said it will be fun. What more can we do?

A: Your son is confusing what children are expected to do in kindergarten with what he saw his sister doing in fourth grade. Do you know any children who have just completed kindergarten or a kindergarten teacher who could describe the good experiences he will have? If so, have him talk to them. This will give him a positive view of kindergarten

Also, if he could visit the kindergarten room, he would see all the fun things there. You can also read him books that describe what children do in kindergarten.

Q: My two children are both preschoolers. I am constantly talking to them and reading them lots of books. Still, I’m worried about their being ready to read when they get to school. Are there signs that indicate the possibility of future reading problems?

A: Over time, most children are likely to become good readers. Nevertheless, it’s helpful for parents of young children to know the signs that their preschoolers could be potential candidates for reading difficulties to secure early help for them. This list from the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) helps parents know what to watch for when they are observing their preschoolers:

* Very small vocabulary and/or slow vocabulary growth.
* Often unable to find the right word and speaks in very short sentences.
* Even with age-appropriate instruction, struggles with remembering sequences such as numbers, alphabet, days of the week.
* Difficulty pronouncing simple words.
* Difficulty understanding simple directions and following routines.
* Difficulty learning colors and shapes.
* Extremely restless and easily distracted, compared to peers.
* Fine motor skills slow to develop. Has difficulty holding crayon or pencil, picking up small objects with fingers, copying basic shapes.
* Strong avoidance of certain activities, like storytelling and circle time.

NCLD also offers suggestions that will encourage your child to develop into a good reader. These include:

* Reading to your children every day.
* Pointing out words and letters that you find in your daily routine, while shopping or traveling through the neighborhood.
* Singing songs and sharing nursery rhymes.
* Going to the library and reading books together.

For more information about your child’s early reading skills, visit NCLD’s “Get Ready to Read” Web site ( or and search for “Reading” under “Preschool.”

Parents can send questions to

Categories: Early Education, Education, Sk Education