Interpreting what your kid’s teacher says
As you head into conferences, or any time you talk to your child’s teacher, listen for these red flag phrases:
“I know he’s smart, but …”
- His work doesn’t show it.
- He makes sloppy mistakes.
This phrase is a good indicator that several cognitive skills are very strong, while others are deficient and causing a bottleneck for learning.
“He’s below grade level in reading.”
Studies show 85 percent of all learning-to-read problems are caused by weak phonemic awareness skills, which give us the ability to hear, blend, unglue, and manipulate the smallest sounds in a word. Reading struggles can also be caused or compounded by deficiencies in visual processing, memory, attention, and processing speed.
“He takes a long time to…”
- Finish schoolwork.
- Answer questions.
Some kids take longer because they’re perfectionists, but weak cognitive skills are generally to blame if a child is always the last student done with an assignment, can’t seem to complete tasks, or takes hours to wrap up standard homework loads.
If you hear any of the red flag phrases at conference time, or if the teacher says your child has several of the above signs, it may be time to schedule a cognitive skills assessment. After determining which skills are weak, you can focus on the most effective way to target and train those skills.