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Ask the Experts about fourth-graders

Find answers to your questions about academic problems and school-related behavior.

By GreatSchools Staff

Questions and concerns

My son befriended a troublemaker

Is my child being bullied?

After five years in special ed, my child is still behind

How can I help my fourth-grader communicate better?

My child says the teacher yells at the class

My fourth-grader complains about another student

My 9-year-old is a bully

My fourth-grader doesn't test well

My fourth-grader has separation anxiety

My child won't turn her work in

My son's behavior has gone down hill

My fourth-grader is forgetful

My fourth-grader struggles with reading

How can I help my angry child?

My son rushes through his work

My child needs help with fourth-grade math

How can I motivate my struggling child?

How can I help my child with sequencing?

How can I help my shy son?

Help! My daughter's friends are leaving her school

How can I help my child talk less in class?

Am I overprotective of my 9-year-old?

My child laughs at everything

My child is getting teased about wearing glasses

I think my son's teacher is playing favorites

My fourth-grader needs to get organized

Comments from readers

"My fourth grade daughter started school last week. I went to drop her off and she started to cry and shake. Three of the five days she has been in school has been the same! Help!! I tried talking to her, but she won't open up and tell me what is going on. I wan't to help her, but am not sure how to get her talk to me about the issue she is having. Any suggestions?"
"My son, a 4th grader is very soft and will not talk much. He is getting picked up easily. Right now every body in his class says he has germs ( not sure about the reason but he is a healthy kid) and none of the kids in his class talk to him and play with him in recess. When he says that, my heart gets broken. I spoke to his teacher regarding this and she spoke to one or two kids and told them not to bully my son. Still all the kids in his class does not want to talk to him or play with him. He became a loner. I do not want to this to be continued next year. Please help me what to do with this."
"My 4th grader is having issues with his main teacher. Several time a week he is made to leave class for things that seem minor, like not taking his backpack off or asking questions about an assignment. Somethings are warranted and others are not. I have has several meetings with the staff since he started the school in second grade. They seem to think he has an 'anger management problem'. His anger only comes out at school. He has a strong personality and at times he doesn't think before he acts. He has been written up and suspended for various things due to the 'zero tolerance' act. Right now we are seeking counseling. He butts heads with the teachers and various student at the school. Sometimes I feel like I am at my wits in with him and the school. Any advice as to how to handle this? I seriously thinking about moving for he can have a fresh start at a new school."
"My son is very intelligent, but one month into fourth grade, his teacher has informed me that he is not paying attention in class. He is respectful, not disrupting in any way, but often she has to redirect him (i.e.: to the board, versus the pencil he may be rolling on his desk). His teacher has said she believes he is capable of high grades (he's usually an A student), and is a very smart boy. Many things, such as reading, spelling, and anything regarding history or a topic that interests him, come to him easily. She has also made a point of saying that she doesn't even suspect ADD or ADHD. But she has asked me for suggestions on how to correct this (she's only known him app. 1 month). My thoughts, subjective & partial of course, are that he simply has no interest in certain subjects, and would rather think about building a new LEGO design or an idea for his next comic book creation. I do believe he is very intelligent, but he openly admits that he does not like school. Essentially, I am wondering what to do to encourage him to pay attention and stay focused on those topics about which he couldn't care less. We offer him rewards for good grades on his report card, whereas we used to give him rewards for good test grades. The rewards simply got out of hand though. Any suggestions you could provide would be greatly appreciated."
"Hello i wonder if you could help me my daughter had bad handwriting and she can spell a word out loud but when she has to write it down she can't spell it or she can spell it one day and the next day she will spell it wrong do you think she has a peoblem.Thank you for your time and help"
"My son is doing well in school except for his reading comprehension and writing. He reads well and understands the story but when I ask him what it means, he repeats the book. How do I help him interpret what he reads?"
"My son is in Fourth Grade and has an IEP. He's doing good with his IEP, and gets good grades. But the school says he only gets good grades because he's only measured against himself because of his IEP. They say in actuality, he's behind everone else and is not meeting the requirements to move onto 5th grade. They want to retain him. I don't know what to do. What good is an IEP if he does great, but not great enough as everone else in his grade? What if I do retain him and they say the same thing next year? What benefit is an IEP if at the end of the year, they say, sorry, we gave him the extra help because he has a learning disability, but it's not good enough to move on to the next grade? Please help!!"
"My daughter has always struggled with school even in Kindergarden. There were areas that she was strong in like knowing and being able to write her alphabet before entering Kindergarden and colors, but there were other areas she struggled in like speech and numbers. Even at the end of Kindergarden due to her lack of knowledge and how behind I figured she'd be I wanted her held back, but of course they wouldn't do it. Going into first grade she struggled constantly. We moved during 1st grade and the new school went off testing. She failed one test but passed another so they promoted her. The beginning of second grade her teacher asked me why she was in second grade that is how behind she was. The end of the year they didn't think she would pass the tests and would be held back, I was actually happy about that. But there again she failed one, but barely passed another test so they promoted her. I wrote a note to the principal asking for her to be held back, but due to! her having an IEP (Independent learning plan) they wouldn't do it. Finally she was held back in third grade. Her reading was at 1st grade level and her math was barely in 2nd grade level at that time. She made great strides at the end of the second time in 3rd she was just about to 4th grade reading level (supposedly) her math was still pretty behind 2nd grade level. I have a friend who has had many of the same problems with her son. They just found out at the end of his sophmore year in high school that he has dislexya (not sure on spelling). My daughter seems to display alot of the same signs as my friends son, but the school won't test her. They think I'm tring to add another tag to her, which is the furthest thing from the truth. I want to be sure that this isn't part of the problem. Because if it is then there may be other ways of teaching her that haven't been tried. She works hard all the time, but I see her starting to get stressed out and starting to los! e the fire to perservere. She's never been fond of school, bu! t she ma kes the best of it. She's always had struggles and it has taken us many years to have the little bit of self confidence that she has. I don't want to see her get further behind or lose anymore self confidence. What should I do?"
"To the parent who has a child in 4th and has adhd. The one who's being pushed to the side. Get a lawyer. To any parent having any problems i say get a lawyer if you can afford one. Unfortunately as sad as it is it's the only way to get things done anymore. Teachers are supposed to love our kids unconditionally and want to teach them unconditionally!!!! No matter how different, or annoying. Yet i encounter the same experiences at my childs school. I don't think it's the type of school really but, the type of people you have in it. I recently moved to cheektowaga and my oldest goes to union east and they are the same there, and lancaster where we came from was amazing. The people really bent over backwards. As much as i hate to say it people here in this district just don't seem to teach their kids right from wrong anymore and reinforce it. The school seems to not even care, and have this we don't care our hands are tied attitude saying and i quote ' we can't control how peopl! e raise their kids, we just have to deal with it!' Not me i raised my son now for 10 hard years to ensure he's not a cruel bully, or a slacker as far as his grades. however being in this school has completely broken him. He no longer wants to go to school for fear of being bullied verbally, and physically. And he feels everyone who he is supposed to feel he can come to for help has abandoned him because his problems never stop only lessen for a couple of days and come back even worse later. I used to be the parent who sat in front of the t.v. and said who what the heck could make a kid want to shoot up his school, or something worse. Now i think i am starting to understand how they could feel that close to breaking. By no means am i saying anything could justify doing any such thing of course but, honestly try to put yourself in a young, confused, scared, and beaten childs shoes. If we can't expect to be able to beat a animal back into a corner what makes our people view or! kids any differently? They are just as confused, scared, and ! panic ri dden. They also have they're breaking point. How can we say they are in charge of they're actions when they are only 1-16 yr. olds. For lack of better words they are stupid to reality. No matter how you educate a child if you or someone is not there to provide safety for them when they need it they lose hope, faith, and take matters into their own hands. Just as any human would if they were tormented, and tortured. This is why we see what we do on the news. Because not enough people especially in schools care anymore to do anything about paying attention and acting. Then they want to cry when they or someone they care about gets hurt. It's nice to know in the end they are still only feeling sorry for themself! Unfortunately i can not afford a lawyer but, if you can get one!!!! I plan to, and until then any help or advice is greately appreciated. Good or bad i'm open to all opinions as i'm not a expert or by any means always right:) Nikcole"
"My son is in the fourth grade, I realize that fourth grade is all about indenpendence, my son has an A in science and and A in spelling, D in math, D in reading ( my son loves to read, and loves to go to the library, he is an avid and excellent reader), and F in social studies and history. I have had several meetings with his teachers, and I have asked for their assistance. They have told me that they cannot share what he is learning in history/social studies because they only have it 3 days per week. Yet they continue to test him on tough subjects that I cannot reinforce at home, so therefore he continues to make those F's. They continue to emphasize that he needs to be independent. She stated that she gives lectures for social studies and history, yet in order for him to retain the knowledge he should take notes. She said that even though she has not taught the students to take notes, they are on their own with that. Those that know how to take notes can take notes; those ! that can't simply lose out. She is cold and unresponsive to me, the principal says she supports her teachers and they can not share what he is learning, nor provide extra material that can be reinforced at home. Is this normal behavior for teachers? This is a private school, they feel that he needs ritalin, I took him to pediatrician, Dr. says he's fine, he does not have behavior problems, he is respectful of adults, he loves school, can't wait to get there. What should I do to get the teachers to help me help my son, why is it such a secret to tell me what he is learning? This is a private christian school, they are very controlling, unresponsive, and I also feel as though I have been bullied around by the staff re: the ritalin drugs they want my son to take so he can get A's, I let them know what the doctor said, I also said that if my son can get C's w/o medication that's fine with me."
"My son is 10 going on 11 he has ADHD and has severe problems in school,he is in 4th grade,all teachers have problems with him,dont want to teach him,push him to the side,I have been dealing with this ever since he started school.What do i do?"