Home > School and Learning > Your Child's Performance in School > Academic Achievements > Lack of Motivation or a Learning Disability?
|

Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Lack of Motivation or a Learning Disability?

Education Expert Advice from Peggy Gisler, Ed.S. and Marge Eberts, Ed.S.

Q: My seven-year-old son is repeating first grade this year. He is still having problems reading and completing assignments in the classroom. When we do his homework together, he's able to complete it with very few problems, but if he's left alone he has trouble. What can I do to motivate him to be a better student? What signs should I be looking for to see if he has a learning disability?

A: One of the reasons that we are not too enthused about retention is that little is done to provide retained children with the specific help they need. This seems to be what has happened with your son. No one has addressed why he is having problems with reading.

Your son probably started off well this year because he was able to handle the easy and familiar work. However, when reading became more challenging, once again he was facing the same problems that went untreated last year.

Motivation is not the issue. Go back to the school and talk to the teacher and/or principal to insist that your son be immediately tested to pinpoint why he's still having problems learning to read. Then, the school can use test results to formulate a plan to improve his reading skills. Your son may need to be taught using a different method. Perhaps he needs more phonics instruction or would thrive with a whole language approach. His reading problems could be so severe that they will need to be handled by the school's reading specialist instead of his teacher.

Children should not be labeled as learning disabled just because they're struggling with a subject. Your son could have a learning disability that's causing him to have problems with reading. Discuss this possibility with his teacher. Either you or the teacher can request that he be evaluated for a learning disability.

More on: Expert Advice

Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts are experienced teachers who have more than 60 educational publications to their credit. They began writing books together in 1979. Careers for Bookworms was a Book-of-the-Month Club paperback selection, and Pancakes, Crackers, and Pizza received recognition from the Children's Reading Roundtable. Gisler and Eberts taught in classrooms from kindergarten through graduate school. Both have been supervisors at the Butler University Reading Center.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

highlights

Vote Now for the Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards
Voting is open now through May 3 for the Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards — the only national book awards program where the winning author, illustrator, and books of the year are selected by young readers. Encourage your child to vote for his favorites today!

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!

8 Products to Help Your Family Go Plastic-Free
How can you minimize your family's exposure to harmful chemicals and lessen your impact on the environment? Try swapping out some of your everyday plastic products with these non-plastic alternatives.

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks