Most children learn to read despite the method used; however, approximately 20 percent of school-age children demonstrate significant struggles learning to read. As evidenced by the work of Sally Shaywitz, M.D., this struggle in reading is no longer viewed as a hidden disability. Dr. Shaywitz reports a difference in the activation of neural pathways when comparing skilled readers to those with dyslexia. She reports that skilled readers demonstrate strong activation in the back of the brain and less activity in the front. In contrast, as struggling readers age, brain imaging studies reveal increased activation in the frontal regions.
Most of us are excited to begin summer activities that involve being outside and going on vacations. Physical outside activity is crucial for a child’s development; however, it is important to identify additional activities that will keep your son or daughter learning.
For the sake of full disclosure, I’m also going to share with you what is potentially my greatest weakness. What amplifies this weakness even more is the fact that it is also one of the things in life that brings me the most excitement and enjoyment. My greatest weakness (and my all-time favorite food) is pizza. Pizza does no wrong in my world. I could literally walk away from a five-course meal feeling full and completely satisfied, stumble upon a pizza or be offered a slice, and wholeheartedly accept (and eat) it with pure joy. I simply have no control over myself in the presence of pizza.
While growing up with three siblings, forcing me to apologize had no real value. At that time, I had no research to support my negative feelings about forced apologies; I just knew that forcing me to apologize sometimes resulted in me getting angrier or made me feel that I had lied because I may not have been sorry for hitting my brother. In addition, I sometimes felt that if I just apologized, even if it was a meaningless “sorry,” it erased my wrongdoing.
In this day and age, it is easy to want to protect and shield our children from the hardships of life. At times, this can lead to unintentionally hindering a child’s ability to develop independence. When children are encouraged to work through a task independently, they develop critical thinking skills, perseverance, and the ability to handle frustration and failure. Many times, we go to great lengths to prevent a child from having to experience the disappointment of failing. It can be painful to watch; however, experiencing frustration helps children to develop emotional resilience (Patz, n.d.). Rather than view a difficult situation as a source of suffering, try to view it as an opportunity for growth.