coaching, homework, reading and writing skills, Uncategorized

What if your child can’t read or write well….is that it?


How to Coach Your Children to be Excellent Students m
How to Coach Your Children to be Excellent Students

A few weeks ago I met a young man in his twenties who in the course of our conversation disclosed what exactly his mother had done to help him at home  when he was young and having great difficulty learning to read and write. What she did gave him the opportunity to fulfill more of his potential than is usual for poor readers and writers. It enabled him to complete tertiary study, and find interesting work that required good reading and writing skills as well as problem-solving skills, flexibility, lateral thinking, and communication skills. He mentioned that he still found reading aloud difficult when one of his bosses was listening, because it made him anxious, but otherwise not; and that he doesn’t have any difficulty understanding the deeper meanings of text now, or writing reports.

I was very impressed by this young man. He was currently working with teens who could not read, write, or do maths well; and he showed great empathy and concern when talking about them. I also watched him engage with the young men around us, and he was warm and fun. He is exactly the sort of person you would want working with your young teen if they needed mentoring, and he was involved in many community activities, and obviously a thoughtful and hard-working man. The sort of person many employers yearn for. His mother must be so proud of him!

As this young man’s mother must have done, I encourage you to continue working with your child at home no matter what others think, what the school is currently doing to help them, and even whether your child wants you to help them. This year I have worked with several students who took a long time to realise that if they applied a little effort, and regularly practised the strategies I coached them in at home with their parents, they could master skills they had thought impossible to learn. For quite some time these particular students were not keen to work with me, and for much of the time I coached them, they were certainly not grateful or willing to learn with their parents.

writing a book
One of my excellent writers

However, we never gave up, and the penny eventually dropped for them. They realised that we were not going to stop working with them and that we continued to believe in their ability to learn, no matter how poorly they behaved. At about the same time they began to notice that they were actually enjoying doing some of the reading, writing, or maths, because the work had become easier and so much more interesting. As they began to comply with their parents and complete regular coaching sessions at home, the parents, the child, and I all noticed a rapid improvement in how fast they learned new skills. They also became less anxious, demanding, controlling and reluctant when their parents and I coached them. Instead they became keen, confident, and self-motivated students who worked willingly and with deep concentration to master skills they now wanted as badly as we had wanted those skills for them. They became a pleasure to coach!

Every parent wants their child to achieve to the limits of their ability…wherever that is. That limit has to be found, then pushed, to see if it is actually the limit to what can be achieved. I have found that we often set limits much too low for ourselves and for our children, and that the actual limits can be much further away than first seems possible.

The young man I had met a few weeks ago was lucky enough to have a mother who believed that although he had Dyslexia, which made reading and writing more difficult for him, he still could and would learn to read and write well.  She didn’t stop at just believing in his abilities though. She worked regularly and persistently with him as long as he needed her too. She read aloud to him for as long as he needed her to so that he would have the opportunity to understand and use all the ideas and vocabulary his peers were currently learning, and she helped him develop his reading and writing skills until he could read and write easily for himself.

Plan to succeed.  As that wonderful mother of that out-standing young man did, and all the other persistent parents do whom I have worked with and continue to work with right now, create ambitious and exciting goals for your child, then keep them in sight, and each week take small steps towards those  goals. Each step counts.

I’m working in partnership with you the reader and I like to know what you are thinking! Please feel free to write your thoughts, questions, and comments at the bottom of this page. 

Follow me if you like this post and want to know more about how you can develop strengths in your child with minimum fuss and effort. You won’t be flooded with emails. I only write every week or so. 

I like to share my coaching ideas with as many people as possible, so please Tweet this post or follow me on

Twitter; and share this post and the excellyourchild.com website with other like-minded families.

Warmly,

Anne

 

coaching, homework, reading and writing skills, Uncategorized

Reading – how to help your child read well and with pleasure


helping your child read

Check out this blog by a mother of 9 titled  ‘raising children is not a default chore is inspiring. As parents living in a society with many pressures brought to bear on us to be so much more than good parents, we need all the inspiration we can gather to stay focused on remembering what is really important in our lives, and to place that first. You can do this even while you are working outside the home, have little money, have many other responsibilities You just have to plan a little smarter.Write to me if you’d like to share your difficulties and triumphs. I’m there for you.

I encourage you to persevere every possible day to support your children to grow their knowledge and skills. I specifically talk about developing educational skills in my posts but if you look a little more deeply, I’m also talking about developing their emotional/social skills and although I’m not specifically targeting these areas, I encourage you to develop your children’s spirituality and physical skills as well. Strengths in all areas help them develop into strong and loving humans, and today more than ever we certainly need more of those qualities in people around us.

In the last post on reading I discussed how reading is still an important skill in your child’s future life as an adult as well as for their success at school I also suggested ways to work with their reluctance to read.

As  responsible parents we make sure that our child reads the books sent home from school. Perhaps they drone on, reading all the words more or less correctly, but they may find the whole reading process boring…and maybe you find it boring as well. And if it is boring, they will switch off and read automatically, and not really understand and remember the story the next day.

We can so easily make reading practice  something that is compulsory and important, but not fun. If something is not interesting in some way, we do not remember it later, or value it, so why should our children? Check out this post for  more information on how our children can learn and remember more easily.

Today I want to talk about the power of share-reading with your child. Share-reading is when you each take turns reading part or all of a sentence, a paragraph, or a page out loud. I suggest that you read little and swop turns often, and then your child will stay fully engaged, because soon it will be their turn. They will also be more likely to be interested in what they are reading if you are very interested, and if you also discuss it with them.

 Share- reading is fun!

You not only take your turn to read with enthusiasm and understanding, you also discuss difficult word meanings, what is happening in the story, and ideas that pop up because of the story.

  • Age does not matter. Teens can also enjoy share-reading. Share-read a book they want to read but that is a little difficult for them to read and understand.
    When it is their turn use Pause, Prompt, Praise.

    • Pause. Sit back and let your child attempt to the phonics rules and the meaning of the sentence to read unknown words. You can count up to 5 elephants (approx 5 seconds) before giving them a prompt.
    • Prompt them. Remind them to read what is there, or read the sounds from the beginning to the end of the word. Next ask them for a word that makes sense in the sentence and with the sounds they have just read.
    • Praise them. Tell them what they did right. My favourite one is to say enthusiastically, “Good reading.”

When it is your turn to read – read slowly, enthusiastically, and with expression. Move your finger along the line as you are reading if your child finds it difficult to track words, and make sure your child’s eye is following the words as you read them, or don’t use your finger if they don’t need that support and track words well. Stop reading unexpectedly (in the middle of a sentence for instance), expecting your child to immediately pick up from where you were.

Reading is to be enjoyed! It is not how many pages you read, it is how much you enjoy and understand the story. Spend time discussing what is happening in the story with your child so they read more thoughtfully, and actually understand all the hard words they are reading.

I’m working in partnership with you the reader and I like to know what you are thinking! Please feel free to write your thoughts, questions, and comments at the bottom of this page. 

Follow me if you like this post and want to know more about how you can develop strengths in your child with minimum fuss and effort. You won’t be flooded with emails. I only write every week or so. 

I like to share my coaching ideas with as many people as possible, so please Tweet this post or follow me on

Twitter; and share this post and the excellyourchild.com website with other like-minded families.

Warmly,

Anne

homework

Being positively persistent about regular homework


Are you frustrated about the lack of homework happening in your home? Do you find it hard to be consistent and persistent with your child and their homework?

persistence with a child's homeworkI’m here to encourage you to persist. As Babe Ruth the famous American baseball player said, “You just can’t beat the person who won’t give up.

Webster’s dictionary defines persistence as “the quality of being persistent”. And what is persistence? It is “lasting or enduring tenaciously, especially in the presence of obstacles, opposition and discouragement”. Just like a good coach and parent is really.

Positive persistence is when you continue to quietly and firmly make a time for homework each day. When you regularly sit down with your child doing homework, set clear and fair boundaries around when and how and where homework is done, and check carefully that it is done.

The positively persistent parent does not stay flustered, worried, angry or surprised. They may often feel those emotions, but they put them to one side as quickly as possible, and concentrate on what is important. Homework is important. Regular homework enables your child to do well in class, and now it is homework time.

It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.

Confucius

Persistent, consistent effort is the key to regular homework in your house. When, for whatever reason, homework doesn’t happen, realise that this failure to do the homework today is an opportunity to try again more successfully tomorrow. Sit down and positively plan how you can make homework happen.

This is what parenting is all about really. You have the responsibility to train your child  in the skills and attitudes they need to do well in life. An invaluable attitude you can help them develop is that good results in life take persistent effort. You have to show them this by ‘doing’ effort. Both you and your child  can put effort into making homework a habit.

Persistence about homework happening works!

To all those flustered and worried parents out there – remember that you are the ‘boss’. It’s up to you too how much, and when, and what your child does for homework. You can negotiate with them, but don’t leave the decisions up to them. Your child doesn’t earn the money that keeps your household going, nor does he or she always have the wisdom to know how important homework is for their learning future. You do. But in order to take up your rightful authority in your home, you have to assume the role of authoritatively persistent coach. And when you do, your child will show opposition, whining, crying and for some, major melt-downs. Keep a calm, cool head especially then.

It’s often the last key in the bunch that opens the lock

(Author unknown):

Your positive persistence will certainly go through a testing period. I encourage you to not be discouraged. When you see your child sitting down doing their homework without any effort on your part you will understand through your own personal experience what it means to endure tenaciously, especially because the ‘obstacle, opposition and discouragement’ will probably be having a meltdown right before your very eyes.

Persisting in spite of the resistance you find from your child, your own self, your busy life isn’t easy, but it’s worth the battle scars. If you positively persist, your children will learn a life skill on how to persist and succeed in spite of obstacles, so they continue to succeed beyond others’ and their own expectations.

Check out my other postings for more ideas on how to support your child to do well. My next blog will give further ideas on how to successfully help your child do regular homework.

I’m working in partnership with you the reader and I like to know what you are thinking! Please feel free to write your thoughts, questions, and comments at the bottom of this page. 

Follow me if you like this post and want to know more about how you can develop strengths in your child with minimum fuss and effort. You won’t be flooded with emails. I only write every week or so. 

I like to share my coaching ideas with as many people as possible, so please Tweet this post or follow me on

Twitter; and share this post and the excellyourchild.com website with other like-minded families.

Warmly,

Anne

coaching, goal-setting

Take control: Help your child’s reading, writing, and Maths skills.


I’m going to give you a way to work gently and firmly with yourself and your family so that the coaching happens regularly and you help your child succeed at school.

Think about what you can do: Expand your circle of influence

Stephen Covey in his book ‘First things first’  talks about the difference between the have’s (“If only I had…”) and the be’s (“I can be…”). He and I both agree that focusing on what you don’t like (if only I had….) is disempowering, and that focusing on what you can do  to help your child succeed at school is proactive and empowering. He suggests you examine what you can do instead of worrying about things over which you have no control. teaching your chilod to succeed

First notice all your concerns about helping your child succeed at school.

Then, among those concerns, determine where you can take action to help your child do well at school.

When we think of ways we can act, our circle of influence will enlarge and our circle of concern will shrink.

 

How to expand your circle of influence.

Create coaching goals to help your child succeed at school that are exciting, achievable, and interesting. Ask yourself the following simple but powerful questions in order and write down your thoughts as they pop into your mind.

Why do I want my child to improve these skills? Keep asking ‘why?’ or ‘why else?’ to each of your answers until you know you have discovered the core reason you deeply wish your child to improve those particular skills. You will know when you find the core reason. You will feel full of energy, urgency, and excitement.

What can I do to coach my child to improve ……………skills?

  • Write down all the things you could do. Write down even the ones you might think won’t work.
  • Don’t judge any of your ideas until they are all written down.
  • When you can’t think of a single more idea about what you can do – order your ideas. You can write numbers besides them in order of importance and ‘do-ability’.

The other ideas about helping your child succeed at school might be useful later, so keep them too. I’ve been impressed with the book on ways to set goals we will achieve calledThe Magic Lamp . Keith Ellis has wonderful ideas. Here is one of them.

 Begin today what you regret not having done yesterday, and you will avoid that regret tomorrow

What do I need to change so that my child and I can coach regularly together during the week? Write down only the things you have the power to change. We can only take responsibility for our own actions, and work within our own circle of influence.

When you change how you are thinking and acting, those around you change too. Here is a website that summarises his ideas. Stephen Covey calls this expanding your circle of influence so that your circle of concern will over time become smaller. My website has some good ideas to help you set goals so that you help your child succeed at school. Check out more of my ideas on how to help your children become excellent students at this blog site here.

Warmly,

Anne