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Q: Our gifted third-grader rushes through any test that she feels is "too easy" and makes careless mistakes. Her teachers are aware of this and are implementing measures to help her slow down. Do you have any suggestions for me so that I can help her as well?
A: Somewhere along the way, your third-grader has picked up the idea that being the quickest is the best. Young students like to be the first to raise their hand and say, "I'm done!" That, combined with her awareness of her own knowledge, has allowed your daughter to develop a habit of speeding through tests.
I'm glad her teachers are taking the time to help her slow down this habit.
At home, I would put emphasis on her work's quality, not quantity. She could work on some kid-size household tasks that require attention to detail and not speed to finish. Craft work -- usually a hit with nine-year-old girls -- requires that directions be followed, and will also give her practice at slowing down. Model-building and cooking with recipes are also suggestions I make when encouraging young gifted kids to learn the value of following a process. Make it a point to acknowledge some great effort -- artwork, a building, a hand-crafted item, etc. -- that took some time and care to create.
These ideas, plus the fact that after third grade, work becomes less rote and requires more attention, may help her to take her time. Good luck.
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Noreen Joslyn is a licensed independent social worker in the state of Ohio and is a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers. She has a master's degree in Social Work, specializing in family and children, from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a psychiatric social worker in private practice with Ken DeLuca, Ph.D. & Associates, where she counsels parents and children.