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covers so they match the subject colors in the notebooks. Let your child pick the colors they think best match the subjects. Just for fun get together some craft materials and have the student personalize their notebooks with their own art. From the book Learning Outside the Lines by Jonathan Mooney and David Cole comes one of my favorite suggestions for sprucing up a note book: Think spray adhesive and fake fur. The more unique the notebook the less likely it is to be lost and not return. (Works for back packs as well)

Set a time for after school homework but the first and last part of that time should be for organization. First off, students should punch and sort all loose papers and put them in the proper place in the notebook. Then when completed all homework should be in it's proper place as well. If you can help your child get into this habit, it will do wonders for their organization. Nothing is more devastating for a dyslexic child than losing their homework. The wasted effort, the panic, confusion, the anxiety of the failed search, the reaction of the teacher, and the anticipated reaction of the parents, all can combine to make learning impossible for a time. Before the child recovers, they are usually behind in class and then the cycle can start to feed on itself!

Another excellent way to save time and reduce confusion for students is by using color Post-it® tabs. The tabs are strong, removable, reusable, and come in assorted colors. Use one color tab to mark the current chapter in textbooks, the start, and end of reading or study assignments can be other colors. Using these tabs a student can easily flip open their books with out having to refer to page numbers, saving time and confusion in school and at home. They also make great hard to lose bookmarks for reading books too.

You should start these get ready activities with your child during what will become their normal homework time. This way they will get in the habit of working at their desk or work area every day at a specific time. Let them do the work while you help and explain the setup as you go.

For students transitioning to middle school or high school or when younger students change schools, it is also very important to help them learn their way around the new school. Getting lost on the way to the next class or rest room is a sure way to cause frustration and embarrassment. The results of getting lost and being late for a class can be devastating, as these stresses will always increase dyslexic symptoms. I know from my own experience stress and confusion can build to a point where learning is impossible. For more information and transitioning articles from middle school up through College, via the Internet try:


Always try to communicate to your child that the only real failure is to not try. Even if things do not go well, if they have made an effort then they are not a failure. This "keep trying" attitude can help foster resiliency, a trait that will serve them better in life than many things they learn in school. Self-advocacy is another important skill that helps build healthy self-esteem and empowers the child when things do not go well. Students need to be able to go to the teacher and ask for extra time or extra help when they do not understand. They need to know that there is no shame in asking for their modifications! Also always, make sure your child understands the WHY of class rules. When students truly understand rules and why they are in place, they are much easier to follow. Some "cause and effect" and "big picture" explanation of rules can go a long way to avoid behavioral problems.

Getting Yourself Ready (Parents)

Part of preparing your child for school is to prepare yourself. Knowledge is power so, the more you know the better. You need to understand the laws and how they work. You also need to know the schools and how they work, and very importantly, how standardized testing and scoring work. Also, you need to know yourself.

Many parents, like me, have our own demons and ghosts left over from our school days. They produce very strong emotions that can hinder our relationships with teachers and schools. However, even parents that breezed through school can have trouble with the emotional aspects of their child struggling in an education system not geared to teach the way these children learn. Working on controlling your own emotions is extremely important when dealing with teachers, school officials, as well as your child.

Although the laws give our children special rights, parents must advocate for their child to guarantee they get an appropriate education. For more information on the laws and advocacy, please go to the advocacy articles at wrightslaw.com. You can find everything from how schools view us and our children, Learning problems; Who's fault is it?, to writing non-emotional letters, The art of Writing Letters, to one of my favorites, Understanding


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