The First Four Grades
The first 4 grades of your child’s school career will have a major impact on their long-term academic success, which will determine what vocational choices they will have in the future. It can also have a major impact on their self-concept, which will have a great deal of influence on their choices, goals, aspirations and expectations now and into the future.
It is vital that your children get off to a good start in school, because it is the early years (K-3) that children develop their basic attitudes toward learning, school and their intellectual capabilities. Children who get through this period feeling good about themselves, who enjoy learning and who like school will have a lasting appetite for the acquisition of skills and knowledge. Children, whose academic and intellectual self-esteem is destroyed during these early years, develop a dislike for school, learning and sometimes even themselves.
Each grade is very important leading up to the third grade which is a major flash point in a child’s academic career. Studies show that most students who are behind at the end of third grade, especially in reading, get further and further behind as they continue through school. The reason for this is in grades K-3 children are learning to read and in fourth grade and beyond they are reading to learn. Many school districts are implementing a policy that states: If a child is significantly behind at the end of third grade, especially in reading, they cannot advance to fourth grade. It is important to note that the ability to recognize words in print is not reading. That is called word identification skills, which is not a very complex neurological task. Reading is the ability to comprehend what is being conveyed in print, which is the most complex neurological task a young child will take on.
The primary cause of most learning difficulties in grades K-3 are developmental delays in one or more of the foundational information processing systems of the brain. Delays in these systems will impact a child’s ability to process information effectively and efficiently, attend to and concentrate on the task at hand, retain information and think effectively. If these processing systems are weak, it will be virtually impossible for a child to perform up to their potential and have good reading comprehension, even if a child gets extra one-on-one assistance and tutoring.
Not only does this problem have a negative impact on many children’s lives, imagine the stress, frustration and disappointment a parent feels when their child struggles with school. They worry everyday about their child’s future. Even a student’s teacher suffers with frustration and a sense of failure when they don’t seem to be able to educate many of their students. Teachers should not even be held accountable for standardized test scores and the progress of students who are not developmentally ready to function appropriately in a classroom and learn the content of their grade.
Many parents think my child is a little behind, but I know he or she will catch-up. The truth is most won’t catch-up if nothing is done to strengthen the information processing systems that form the foundation for early academic success.
Educational systems are not going to change policy and start children in school according to their developmental age and many parents are not going expose their young children in our high tech society to the experiences that develop their child’s brain in a manner that will lead to early academic success. This is why I created the BRAIN LAUNCH programs, which speed up the development of the information processing systems that form the foundation for early academic success. Every child should have the opportunity to have success in the important early grades and beyond.
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