Read and Spell Blog

How to find a good tutor
Read and Spell blog
How to find a good tutor

How to find a good tutor

When kids lack confidence in the classroom, are struggling to keep up with their peers, need help preparing for exams or are dealing with a learning difficulty, parents may arrange for them to see a private tutor outside of school.

Tutors provide the extra scaffolding that less able students may require and can also encourage gifted children by introducing them to more advanced topics not covered in a school curriculum. By working one-on-one, tutors are able to go over content at a pace that is right for every child.

They can also assist with school assignments and help enforce good study habits, including setting smart targets which are specific, measurable, achievable, and relevant in a given time period.

Motivating kids to read
Read and Spell blog
Motivating kids to read

Motivating kids to read

Reading is the key to success in almost every subject across the school curriculum and research has shown that it is the biggest driver of vocabulary acquisition. The more kids read, the more words they learn from context and the more texts they can access.

Understanding how different text types work also helps them improve their critical thinking skills and engage with the ideas presented, in addition to becoming better writers. So, if reading does so many wonderful things, how do you get children to pick up a book and start reading?

Self-confidence vs self-esteem
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Self-confidence vs self-esteem

Self-confidence vs self-esteem

The terms self-confidence and self-esteem are often conflated. Confidence is a measure of faith in one’s own abilities; esteem is about our sense of self. It involves both thoughts and emotions and influences how we perceive others and interact with the world.

When children have healthy self-esteem, they tend to be confident.

Similarly, if a child has a negative self-view, which is often the case for learners with undiagnosed learning difficulties, it can cause them to lack confidence in classroom activities, particularly in tasks that involve reading and writing.

What are learning difficulties?
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What are learning difficulties?

What are learning difficulties?

Learning difficulties, known as learning disabilities in North America, are conditions that impact on an individual’s ability to gain knowledge and skills at the same rate as his or her peers. They may be due to a mental handicap or a cognitive disorder.

Having a learning difficulty does not make someone less intelligent, it just means they learn in a different way that can render traditional classroom activities problematic. That’s why people with learning difficulties often require specific strategy training and customized lessons in order to overcome challenges and make progress in an academic environment.

The importance of motivation for kids
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The importance of motivation for kids

The importance of motivation for kids

Motivation to learn correlates with success at school. That's why many parents and teachers are concerned with helping students become more motivated in the classroom. This may mean using recognition and rewards to encourage behaviour that’s conducive to learning.

However, extrinsic motivators alone don’t always do the trick. Teachers who make lessons interesting to kids and help learners get excited about school can foster a lifelong love of learning and encourage students to overcome obstacles and find success.

Dyspraxia vs. ADHD
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Dyspraxia vs. ADHD

Dyspraxia vs. ADHD

Both ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and dyspraxia can affect children and prevent them from reaching their full potential. While ADHD is a learning difficulty that often impacts on attention, behaviour or both, dyspraxia has to do with fine motor skills, language and planning abilities and is not always classed as a learning difficulty.

Nonetheless, it can show up at the same time as ADHD and have similar consequences for kids who are affected, including frustration with everyday classroom tasks. This leads to poor performance and eventually low self-esteem.

But by being aware of a child’s particular symptoms and implementing specific teaching and learning strategies, parents and educators can help dyspraxic children and kids with ADHD overcome these challenges and be more successful at school.

Improving writing skills for kids
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Improve writing skills for kids

Improve writing skills for kids

Writing is an activity with many moving parts. A child must bring together vocabulary, grammar and mental processing, and then rely on the physical aspect of handwriting or typing out the words.

That’s why it requires ample practice and extensive exposure to language for kids to develop strong writing skills.

And because young learners can’t just sit down and write the perfect draft, they need to learn the art of revision too.

Slow processing speed
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Slow processing speed

Slow processing speed

Processing speed is a way of describing how the brain receives, understands and responds to information. Not everyone thinks at the same pace. And while speed has nothing to do with how smart a child is, kids who struggle with slow processing speed may struggle to follow lessons and complete tasks at school.

Slow processing speed is also related to literacy development and math skills. It can cause a child to fall behind their peers, become frustrated, and form negative associations with learning. Often these experiences make kids think they aren’t good at school, causing low self-esteem and a lack of self-confidence.

But this downward spiral can be avoided if the symptoms are recognized early on. When students are provided with targeted strategy training and teachers adjust tasks appropriately, it gives kids with slow processing speed the best chance of reaching their full potential.

Handwriting difficulties
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Handwriting difficulties

Handwriting difficulties

When we write, we want the language we produce to be recognizable to others. Our handwriting should be legible so that it doesn't hinder the reader’s comprehension and our text must conform to established norms when it comes to punctuation, formatting and spelling.

But putting words down on paper is not as straightforward as it may seem. In fact, there’s a complex process of orthographic encoding that we rely on to help us form the letters in words and use them correctly.

If the mechanics involved in writing cause cognitive or physical strain, as is the case with most common handwriting problems, this can impact on our thought process and reduce the complexity of our writing. It also results in feelings of frustration and low self-esteem.

For a child with dysgraphia, a condition that results in poor handwriting, producing written language is a struggle that can drastically affect performance at school and get in the way of a child expressing him or herself in writing.

How to help a child with dyspraxia in the classroom
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How to help a child with dyspraxia

How to help a child with dyspraxia

Teaching a child with dyspraxia can be a frustrating experience due to the wide range of symptoms that may be present. However, while dyspraxia is a neurological condition that causes movement and coordination issues, it has no impact on intelligence.

Children with dyspraxia are perfectly capable of learning alongside their peers; they may just need some extra attention and support from time to time. Awareness is the first step and can make all of the difference in helping a child to reach his or her full potential at school.

How to build self-confidence in students
Read and Spell blog
How to build self-confidence in students

How to build self-confidence in students

It’s tragically common to find that students who have specific learning difficulties, motor skills difficulties, and physical impairments experience a lack of confidence in the classroom. This is particularly the case when learning differences go unrecognized.

The resulting situation is quite serious for children and young-adults. It colors their lives and can have significant implications for success at school, both in the present, and in the future.

Fortunately, parents and teachers can make a difference by fostering a positive self-image, encouraging independence, and helping students who are struggling get the right support and classroom accommodations.