Readers: Close to half of the school year is over. It's a great time to take stock of how things have been going this year. Then resolutions can be made to make the second half of the school year even better.
Don't just make resolutions; bring your children in on this. Ask them what needs to be changed to improve how the year is going for them. We are not talking about major roadblocks like learning disabilities that require considerable attention from you and the school over a long period of time. Instead, we are talking about the glitches that cause your children to bring home occasional bad grades. Once they are identified, they often can be eliminated rather quickly. If your child falls into any of these pitfalls, think about making resolutions to turn them around.
? Are your children eating right? Without breakfast, their energy level is likely to be down. Plus, an unhealthy diet can lower their attention span.
? Are your children spending excessive amounts of time watching TV or on the computer? Doing so can add up to a lot of wasted time.
? Is your home a disorganized madhouse every morning? Such daily confusion can result in important papers not being turned in.
? Do your children need personal digital assistants to keep track of their activities? If so, their schoolwork may be taking second place to their activities.
? Do your children have good attendance records? Good attendance gives them the opportunity to learn everything that was taught in the classroom.
Question: What accommodations will my fourth-grader with learning disabilities get if I take him out of public school and put him in a private school? - Decision to Make
Answer: The public school district in which the private school is located has the obligation to make benefits and services available to children with disabilities enrolled in private schools. However, the public school's responsibilities to these children are different from its responsibilities to public school children. Some parentally placed children may not receive any services, while others will. If your child gets services, they will be spelled out at an annual Individual Education Plan meeting.
The local education agency (public school) has the obligation to locate, identify, evaluate and spend a proportionate share of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funds for equitable services for children enrolled by their parents in private schools in that district. They are also required to consult with the parents and private school representatives so that children with disabilities can participate in special education and related services. The services may be offered at the private school or at an alternate location.
Probably, the best way for you to get a clear picture of what accommodations your child is likely to receive is to talk to the special education coordinator at the private school where you might enroll him. You also can get more information from the Office of Non-Public Education at www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oii/ nonpublic/index.html. Parents need to be familiar with IDEA laws to make sure that their children receive needed help.
Question: My granddaughter is in first grade. She can easily read books like "Green Eggs and Ham." She also seems to have good phonics skills, as she can figure out words like "adventure." However, when she writes, she still reverses letters such as "b" and "d." And sometimes, she confuses them in her reading. Is there any way to help her stop reversing letters? - Reversals
Answer: There are several ways to help reduce reversals. However, time usually does the job. There is no real need to be very concerned unless a child is doing this beyond third grade. Most beginning readers and writers reverse some letters.
One way to help your granddaughter would be to overteach one letter that she frequently reverses. For example, you could concentrate on "b" by having her trace the letter and then write it. This will help in writing the letter.
To recognize the difference in reading frequently reversed letters, you can write the same word three times and then one that is different using the reversed letters. You could write: bay, bay, day, bay. Ask her first how the words are similar and then different. Do this with many word combinations.
Send questions to Dear Teacher, in care of Ohio Valley Parent, Box 395, Carmel, IN 46082-0395; or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.