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Elementary School Expert Advice from Barbara Potts

Q: My first-grade son was doing really well in school -- his grades were never below a B. Recently he's spelled most of the words on his spelling tests incorrectly, even though I give him the same test the night before and he gets almost all the words right. When we ask him if there is something wrong at school or if there is anything we can do to help him, he just says the other kids are always talking to him. How can we help him?

A: Talk with the teacher and ask what she sees happening with your son. If the other children are talking to him and distracting him, ask that he be moved to another part of the room.

Talk also with the school counselor. Ask her to observe your son in the classroom so that you'll have an objective opinion of what is going on there. If the problem is not the other children bothering your son, but your son becoming distracted over something else, the counselor may be able to give him some individual time or include him in a small group on work completion.

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Barbara Potts has worked as an elementary school counselor for many years. She has a BA in psychology from Wake Forest University, and an M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.


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