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

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.

Challenging spelling words

Challenging spelling words

While most words are relatively easy to learn, every individual will encounter challenging spelling words that they frequently misspell. Making spelling mistakes is frustrating for students and can lead to low self-esteem for learners who may be labelled as lazy and penalized by losing points on written work.

For adults, having poor spelling skills can cause them to miss out on career opportunities and lose face in front of friends and family. It’s important to understand that spelling skills have nothing to do with intelligence and that there are plenty of strategies that can help. If spelling becomes a persistent problem, there may also be an undiagnosed learning difficulty to blame.

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.

Dyslexia and foreign language learning

Dyslexia and foreign language learning

For kids with dyslexia, learning to read and write in their mother tongue can be quite a challenge. When it comes time to learn modern foreign languages at school, many feel the ordeal of mastering literacy skills all over again is not worth the time and effort.

Depending on the country and school system, it may be possible for students with dyslexia to be released from the foreign language learning requirement. But there may also be some added benefits for dyslexic students who decide to pursue study of languages outside of English.

How successful they are depends on the individual student, the approach taken, and to some degree, the language students choose to learn.

How to teach spelling words

How to teach spelling words

Most children begin to learn English spelling words and spelling rules in the first and second grades, at the same time as they are learning how to read and write. And while being able to spell is not necessarily a reflection of a child’s intelligence, it’s a skill that is important to master.

That’s because poor spelling habits will follow a student as they move into higher grades and their vocabulary grows. Misspelled words are distracting for teachers who are correcting assignments and can be embarrassing for adults who still make mistakes in professional communication.

More importantly, problems with spelling can alert teachers and parents to the presence of an un-diagnosed learning difficulty, such as dyslexia.

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.

Typing programs for schools

Typing programs for schools

Do you remember learning keyboarding at school? Depending on when and where you grew up, you may have studied touch typing as part of a computer science course. That’s because before personal computers became common, a school’s computer lab was just about the only place where students had the opportunity to learn and practice correct finger placement and typing without looking at the keyboard.

This is no longer the case as kids today are exposed to keyboards on a range of devices and from an early age. Yet despite their enhanced familiarity (and a massive increase in the amount of school work which must be completed electronically), not all of them can type.

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

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.

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