- Writing -There are many software programs out there to help students with all aspects of the writing process, from brainstorming to essay organization. These programs also help students overcome the initial hurdle of "getting started." Check out Inspiration (www.inspiration.com), Co-Writer, and DraftBuilder (www.donjohnston.com).
- Reading - If your child struggles with reading, consider utilizing books on tape. Many textbooks have audio versions that allow students to listen to chapters while they follow along in their book, providing both visual and auditory input. These are available through the publishers or online. Be sure that you purchase the full text and not an abridged version. Kurzweil 3000 is a more expensive option, but it allows students to scan in book pages that are "read" to them by the computer. It also includes highlighting and note-taking features that many students find helpful.
Leave It Alone - It can be difficult to decide how much support you should provide your teen as she matures, but it can be the case that the more you "hold her up" the less she learns. Ultimately, providing too much support may cause her to fall even harder down the road. Build a strong foundation to keep her afloat, but know that high school students should function fairly independently. And remember, your teen's actions are not always a reflection of your parenting abilities. At some point, there will be diminishing returns on the work that you put into the situation. Letting your child be a self-sufficient learner may be difficult, but this is a way for her to learn and internalize new skills.
Ann Dolin received her M.Ed. in Special Education from Boston College. Ann founded Educational Connections Inc. and employs over 160 tutors, serves the metropolitan D.C. area, and has worked with over 5000 students. Ann sits on the board of CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder) and the International Dyslexia Association. Ann is also the author or the newly released book Homework Made Simple - Tips, Tools and Solutions for Stress-Free Homework. For more information visit www.anndolin.com.
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