Why smart kids secretly fall behind–and what parents can do


Why smart kids secretly fall behind and what parents can do

I was watching him read words out loud from a page when I noticed it–

There was a slight pause, a tap on a different word, and then he read the word out. The trouble is, he read it correctly.

Notice that he didn’t know how to read the the word, he figured it out by looking at another word he knew. Mission NOT accomplished.

And that’s the trouble: some of the most brilliant students are just barely able to come up with the right answer. They haven’t truly learned it. There is NO mastery. 

They’ll coast on by for now–until they have to build on their skills. After third grade when reading by itself, or basic math by itself isn’t the point, that’s when the problems start. Suddenly no one can understand why this bright student isn’t getting Algebra, or why she struggles with essay writing.

Even by the time they are in high school, it’s still 100% possible for you to help as a parent:

Remind them: getting the right answer is only PART of the point.

Tell your kid she’s also going to have to be so good at doing this that she can handle it when her teacher adds another two steps on top–and then some!

Mention it at the beginning of the year or semester, or whenever she starts a new unit. (Don’t be surprised if they don’t seem to listen now–usually they have to make the mistake before they remember your words).


Get help EARLY.

When you see your daughter (or son) struggling a lot to get the right answers on homework–or expressing that she feels defeated–it’s a good sign that something basic is missing.

Make sure her teacher knows she’s struggling with this subject–chances are she’s not the only one. Her teacher can re-explain it to the class for her and everyone will benefit. Or ask for extra practice sheets before a long break.

Most of the skills are the foundation for the next ones–so whatever she’s not understanding now is going to make it painful to learn the next step.

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