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Q: Progress reports just came home, and these grades aren't what I expected. What do I do?
A: First, talk with your child about what's going on in their classes. Do they understand the teacher? Are they really trying their best? Are they keeping up with homework and other assignments? Do they struggle to understand concepts, or do they think they know what's going on but flunk the quizzes and tests? Once you isolate the problem, you can come up with solutions. Ask the teacher if they have any extra credit work or after-school tutoring available. Help your child stay on top of all assignments, and help them study every night (even 5 minutes helps!). If the problems persist, or if there is a fundamental lack of understanding, hire a tutor.
Q: My son is a slow reader. How can I help him get better at reading?
A: Like anything else, good reading skills require practice, practice, practice. However, you should ensure some fast success to increase the enjoyment your child gets out of reading. Nobody likes to be frustrated, especially with school work. Go back to the basics. Find books one or two reading levels below your son's current level, and have him read for fluency: no errors, no stumbles. Read with an eye for those commas and periods, too-- understanding the pace and flow of a passage builds comprehension and shows the author's tone. Good luck!