Understanding learning as a process with several stages can help you identify where your child is struggling in school. Learning is a complex interplay between input, processing, retention and output. Most students have strengths in several areas, and a difficulty in one area is all it takes to make school exceptionally challenging.
The Reading Clinic offers a battery of tests to help us pinpoint areas of breakdown in this learning process. For more information, check out our assessments page.
Input – how information comes in through your senses
Does your child seem lost in class? Do they have a distinct difference in processing information when it is spoken or written? Do they have difficulty reading? Do they have difficulty getting started on tasks because they don’t know what they should be doing? Does their teacher complain about their attention during specific tasks?
- Have their eyes and/or ears checked.
- Get specific information from the teacher about when your child’s attention is wandering
- Listen to your child read and try to get a sense of the effort it takes them to read.
Processing – what your mind does with information. This can vary in speed and by type of input.
Does your child take a longer time to think about certain types of information? Do they know information but have a hard time accessing it? Do they think they understand something but it comes out muddled? Do they remember details but have difficulty summarizing, giving a main idea or answering inference and prediction questions? Do they struggle with critical thinking and conceptual information? Does it take them hours to complete their homework?
- Talk with your child about what they learned in class that day. Focus on the difficult subjects.
- Read aloud to them and talk about how you are thinking when you read. A newspaper article at dinnertime works great with older students.
- Write movie or video game reviews, with plot summaries and ideas for sequels. This can be an activity for the entire family.
Retention –There are many forms of memory including short term, long term, working and visual.
Does your child do well on tests, but have no idea what they learned once the test is over? Do they have difficulty recalling specific details? Do they have difficulty memorizing spelling words, math facts, vocabulary words?
- Practice memorizing by associating words with very silly stories or visuals.
- Check that they understand the concept behind what they are memorizing.
- Play online games or board games that require mastery to get to a new level.
- Reminisce about family vacations and funny stories.
We welcome questions and comments you may have about your child’s learning process.