Test your child to see if he/she is being taught on his/hers instructional level. Take a homework assignment in reading comprehension and have the child circle all the words that he/she cannot read. Then have the child read it to you to see if he made the correct self evaluation. If he circled more than five words to the page, the assignment is on his/her frustration level instead of his instructional level.
Take a copy of his/her reading test. Have the child circle all the words that he/she cannot read. Then read the test with him/her to double check the accuracy of their self –test. He/she should miss no more than five. Insist the administration place the child on his/her instructional level by placing him an appropriate class that is working on his/her instructional level.
Take the child’s science, health, and social studies books and see if he/she misses more than five words to the page. The child needs to be on an instructional level where he/she is comfortable. If the child is on the frustration level, he has to be read to. I would prefer placing the child back a grade or grades until he can function on an instructional level and be comfortable with his work.
Drill your 5th graders on the math facts. If he/she does not know these facts instantaneously, you need to decide whether to put them back into 4th grade or to remediate. Fifth graders cannot do fractions until they have learned their multiplication and division tables.
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Take index cards and cut them into thirds. Use a hole puncher and punch holes into one end. Make flash cards of 10 math facts that need to be learned. Put the problem on one side and the answer on the other. String them with yarn and tie them to your child’s wrist or belt loop. As the child runs and plays or rides his bike, he can flip his cards and review his facts. This works for vocabulary, spelling and languages too.
If your kindergartener is not on at least a seven level (based on the Horry County kindergarten curriculum, which has 13 levels in kindergarten} by the end of kindergarten, I would advise you to have him/her repeat kindergarten. Repeating kindergarten will take your child off the frustration level in 1st grade and place him/her on an instructional level for another year of kindergarten. This way will allow your child to be better able to cope all of his life and increase his/her self esteem by allowing him/her to accomplish his/her goals.
A child is entitled to a free, appropriate, public education. Too many of our children are working on a frustration level at school in their class work, their assignments, and their tests. This has to be stopped. Our k-5 curricula are not appropriate for many students. I hope that the parents will demand better. Our children deserve a childhood.
The writer lives in Conway.