Saturday, August 23, 2014

Reading Problems? Teacher Consultation Can Help Your Child!

You've done all you can to prepare your child for this new school year. Clothes for school have been carefully selected and purchased. The right school supplies have been bought and properly tucked away in your child's backpack. All the appropriate forms have been completed with care and returned to school. Is there anything else that you should consider as this new school year is getting underway?

These first weeks of school will be very important for your child's overall academic success. Teachers have been preparing for many weeks, even months, to create the best classroom with the most positive learning environment for your child and his classmates. You can support your child's teacher in her efforts by committing to communicate effectively with her from the very beginning of the year.

First of all, we are certainly not advocating that you become what is known as a helicopter parent, hovering over your child and over-communicating with his teacher. However, you can do much to establish a positive parent-teacher relationship by using the teacher's or school's preferred method of communication and providing important input about your child from the start.

Even though your child's school records should contain a complete history of his academic progress in the school, there may be important input you can provide to assist both the teacher AND your child for the rest of the year. If your son has a new diagnosis of a reading issue, vision problem, behavior challenge, learning difference or disability, mentioning this now to the teacher will be most helpful. This information can positively affect seating, learning style support and other important aspects of your child's learning experience. If you have found specific reading, learning or study strategies at home to be more beneficial to your child, share these with the teacher---respectfully and without a demanding tone or attitude. By doing this, you will be communicating to the teacher that you are a supportive assistant, a partner in her efforts to educate your child. This can be significant in helping to establish a very positive parent-teacher relationship that will only further benefit your child's academic progress.

The very same is true for educators. Consider sending parents a gentle invitation to inform you of any new diagnoses of a reading problem, a learning challenge or recent behavior changes. Many times, parents are reluctant to discuss such topics unless requested to do so, especially at the beginning of a new school term. Though it is early, if you have already discovered specific learning or study strategies in the classroom to be more beneficial to a particular student, please share these strategies with the parents---respectfully and with a tone suggesting you want to help rather than dictate. In doing so, you will be communicating to parents that you are a supportive assistant, a partner in their efforts to help and educate their child. This mutual effort and respectful attitude will definitely go a long way in helping establish a positive parent-teacher relationship further benefiting your child's academic progress.

This week, we have collected quite a few resources to help both parents AND teachers experience more positive outcomes when communicating with one another---especially from the very beginning of a new school year. So, please take a look at the tips, strategies and downloadable resources we have gathered to help you open the way to a great dialog with your child's teacher or your students' parents. As we all know, these positive outcomes will affect your children and students in a very good way---all year long and beyond!

Parents' Resources to Help You Talk More Effectively with the Teacher

Parenting Children with Dyslexia: Support the Teacher's Goals
by Abigail Marshall &
Helpful advice for parents is offered here in how to effectively and respectfully talk to your child's teacher about his/her reading challenges.

How to Help: Talk with Teachers to Resolve Problems -- Helping Your Child With Homework
from the US Department of Education
Homework problems often can be avoided when families and caregivers value, monitor and guide their children's work on assignments. Sometimes, however, helping in these ways is not enough. If you have problems, here are some suggestions for how to deal with them.

Talk with Your Child's Teacher
by ColorĂ­n Colorado
There are many reasons parents may be reluctant to talk to teachers. The questions and answers included here, however, can help you get the most out of talking to your child's teacher or with other school staff members. This is also an excellent resource for parents of ELL or ELS students.

What Parents Need to Know About Dyslexia (Reading Disability)
by Sheryl M. Handler, M.D.
Many parents become concerned when they notice that their child is struggling to remember letters, words, or how to read and spell. Parents often experience additional frustration because schools may not identify the problem early or provide extra help to improve it. This article is designed to provide a general understanding of reading disability, the terminology, basic strategies, resources and support to help parents of children with dyslexia.

Working with Teachers and Schools -- Helping Your Child Succeed in School
from the US Department of Education
Many teachers say that they don't often receive information from parents about problems at home. Many parents say that they don't know what the school expects from their children—-or from them. Sharing information is essential and both teachers and parents are responsible for making it happen. The questions and answers here can help you to get the most out of talking to your child's teacher or with other school staff members.

Teachers' Resources to Help You Talk More Effectively with Parents

Planning for Parent Conferences
from Scholastic Books
Helpful resources are provided here for teachers, including sample forms, tips on creating a warm atmosphere, how to communicate tactfully and more.

Parent-Teacher Conference Resources
Make your next parent-teacher conference a success with these planning suggestions, preparation advice, and conference forms. Use the great tips presented here for building positive relationships with parents to increase their involvement and improve communication.

Other Helpful Resources for Parents & Teachers

FREE Teacher Consultation about Reading Challenges
A FREE 15-minute phone conference with a certified K-12 educator is available from Brennan Innovators. Tips, strategies and tools can be recommended specifically to help your child, a student or you with reading issues. Just follow this link to access the correct phone number for the free conference:

The International Dyslexia Association (IDA)
This global organization offers many resources to parents, teachers and other adults on the tipic of dyslexia. It also has branches in cities across the U.S. Contact your local branch of the IDA through this link.

Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners
Orton and Gillingham were pioneering psychologists who first diagnosed, studied and developed treatment for dyslexia in the early 20th century. Orton-Gillingham refers to a particular approach to teaching children with dyslexia and reading difficulties related to decoding.

The best referrals come from those you know best. Your child's school should have a learning specialist, reading specialist or special education teacher who may have a list of tutors or programs to recommend for extra assistance for a learning challenge. Other parents whose children have struggled in reading are also an excellent source of first-hand referrals. For an article on how to choose a special-needs learning specialist.

For more information on customizable reading tools for various reading problems, please visit: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info & support for struggling readers

Image courtesy of:
Brennan Innovators, LLC at

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