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How can i help my son get caught up in math and reading comp. ?


bsmith46932 October 2, 2009

My son is behind a whole grade level in math and reading. The school was supposed to be helping him get caught up but now they are saying he skipped all of 3rd grade math! Being in 4th grade now he is totally lost! they want to bump him back down to 3rd grade math but the problem is he will miss out on the 4th math while in the 3rd grade class thus putting him farther and farter behind. what do i do! i have bought books on 3rd and 4th grade math and reading. we are working with ihm trying to help him but i feel the school is letting him down. they say he is immature and add but the teacher says i dont see either. should i let them send him back to 3rd grade for this or make them help him where he is at?

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healthy11 October 3, 2009

You mention that the school says your son is immature and has ADD. My son has attention deficits and learning disabilities, too. Have you ever asked your son's doctor about it? (The school may have teachers fill out rating sheets about your son's behavior, which can help the doctor make a diagnosis, but schools are NOT able to diagnose ADHD: only a medical provider can do that. ) If he does have ADHD, there are treatments available that can really help a child to focus better. As someone explained to me, the best tutors/instructors in the world, using the best methods, still won't be effective if a student isn't able to pay attention to what they're trying to teach.

You mention that you don't see your son's difficulties, but I'm wondering if you've had many opportunities to observe him in the classroom? I was able to volunteer at my son's school, and I could see how he behaved compared to other students, and it really helped me to understand the difficulties.

What kind of testing did the school do, to determine that your son was a year behind in math and reading? Does your son have an IEP? I'd like to suggest that you join Greatschools Learning and Attention Difficulties Group at, and repost your information with test results there, and more people will be able to see your questions and assist you.


TeacherParent October 3, 2009

Schools aren't always able to help students catch up without bumping the child back down. Schools tend to do things in groups and they look to put children into groups and rarely work with children on an individual level.
You say he's 'totally lost' - in reading as well as math?
The reality is he can't do 4th grade math without having done 3rd grade math first. Either he needs to be pulled from his 4th grade math class and given 1on 1 instruction in math until he's caught up or he needs to be put into a different class.
I''m sure you're right in that it's the school that's letting him down but schools are places that are very slow to change and as slow to admit responsibility. A lot of time can get wasted if we try to argue with schools and even more if we try to make schools acknowledge what they're doing wrong.
If your son is a year behind in reading as well as math, know that closing gaps in reading levels usually takes a great deal of time. I'd recommend you read aloud to your son every night for 15-20 minutes - being read to help children to become better readers and have him read in an easy book for another 15-20 minutes.

Good luck with your decision. I hope you'll post back and let us know.


bsmith46932 October 4, 2009

i read to my child almost an hr a night if we miss a night its ok we do it the next night. he loves to read. he can do some of the math but its the algebra and other types he is lost on. i have bought some 4th grade and 3rd grade math books now and a reading readiness book to help catch him up. as for the add thing. nope asked his dr to do a short eval to see if he really indeed needs to be tested. pediatrician says i do not see any tendencies towards add or adhd. he says in all honesty he doesnt appear to be behind much at all. so he suggested we take and have him tested for learning disabilites not so much to test for a disability but to see where he really is in school. we are going to do this to see what they have done as far as teaching and what he really knows. my son can focus and stay right on track at home with other kids running around and playing. He reads very well at home and can tell me what he reads and can say what its about. his teacher feels its a case of he just doesnt know the math. but if they continue to pull him out of 4th grade math he will lose out on that as well thus putting him farther and farther behind. at some point where is it going to stop? thanks for the replies!


healthy11 October 4, 2009

bsmith, if you do not as yet have any formal test results to show what your son's capabilities are or what level he's currently performing at (which are typically identified through IQ and achievement testing) then you absolutely need to have those evaluations done first. Without a baseline, and knowledge of what his strengths and weaknesses really are, it's virtually impossible to know how to proceed. When you get your son's test scores, please post them and we can give you our insights, as well.


akagabby December 13, 2009

My son is also in 4th grade and is very much behind in reading and math. If he can not read well then this affects every subject. We have already retained him once and that really did not help. I had one teacher suggest to me that he was add. Often times this is the first response from the school. As a mother I wanted to make sure I had tried everything I could before I put my child on that strong of a medicine. my advice is to always ask for a second opinion on everything they tell you. You as a mother know whether or not your child has add. A child who has add not only shows this at school but at home as well. Reading to your child every nite is a great thing; however at this age it would be better to spend more time having your child read to you and you ask him questions about what he just read. Always encourage him. Try having your son read for only 15 minutes, and then have him write about what he read for 15 mintues. A child will lose interest after 15 to 20 mintues. I understand the frustration you are going threw. It is true that boys mature later than girls this does not mean your child has add. Keep praying and working with your son and accept any tutoring the school offers. I have been told that when it finally clicks for him everything will be okay and that this might take some time. In the mean time work on his level. One thing that has worked well for my son is flash cards of often used words. Words like add, subtract and other key words that make it really hard for your son to understand what the assignment is asking for. I am very open to any suggestions, so maybe together will help our sons acheive their goals.


healthy11 December 14, 2009

akagabby, as I mentioned earlier, I am the parent of a child who has both ADHD and LDs in reading and writing. My son is now in college.
ADHD and LDs are not the same thing, but a large number of students with one condition also have the other issues. If a child has an attention defict disorder, it can prevent them from focusing on what the instructors are trying to show them/teach them. If a child has LDs, they already are less likely to learn the same way as other kids in a regular classroom, and probably require more individualized and multisensory instruction. A child who has both ADHD and LDs needs to be able to focus on all the instruction available, and it's not just a matter of "give it time and things will click."
Studies show kids with ADHD seem to act about 30% less mature than their peers. It means a 9 year old may behave more like a 6 year old, but a 12 year old might still act more like 8. They will not "catch up" overnight as one waits.
I do understand your hesitancy to accept an ADHD diagnosis, but if he has it and retaining your son once already has not helped as much as you hoped, and he is still struggling, I urge you not to let your medication concerns prevent you from trying them. There ARE also negative "side effects" from not doing everything you can to help him, just as there can be side effects from some medication. Younger children may not suffer from self-esteem issues, or worry about what other kids think, but as your son is entering his pre-teen years, I would not want him to fall further behind and start to "give up" trying. Please do join the Learning and Attention Difficulties Group at for more support.

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