Your child is working their way up in their academic career and has matured a lot since starting elementary school. Their work has gotten more demanding and complicated, and they’re spending more time on homework than before. They are also starting new standardized tests. Any of these things can make your child nervous about school, but if their writing and reading have started to suffer, there may be more going on.
In fourth grade, most schools shift from focusing on reading to writing. Your child is expected to be able to read a variety of texts and then summarize and analyze it in their writing. Their assessments are also getting more complex, for example, instead of multiple choice questions, they now have to answer short essay questions. If your child was already struggling with reading or writing, even if their grades were fine, those problems can be much worse now.
Their struggles can stem from a number of issues. If they haven’t before, they may be starting to show symptoms of learning differences like ADHD or a written expression disorder.
They may also be struggling to add detail to their essays. Their assignments are getting more complicated, so giving the same amount of effort that they gave before in third grade may not be enough anymore. They need to have evidence to back up their ideas, which can be a big leap for your child to understand.
How You Can Help
Your first step should be to talk to your child’s teacher. Their feedback will be essential in pinning down what your child is struggling with and can be a helpful resource to get your child back on track. There could be some easy fixes you and your child’s teacher can work on to help your child in reading and writing.
You can also ask your child’s doctor for help if you suspect they may have a learning difference. Assessments from a professional are the best way to confirm any potential diagnosis, and they will know how to help your child adapt and succeed.
Another way to help is to enroll your child in Reading Genie. At Reading Genie, the teachers can help your child with anything they’re struggling with. Whether they’re overwhelmed or lack foundational skills, Reading Genie’s program allows your child the space to explore writing and reading in a safe environment. They get the practice they need while having fun, growing their skills and confidence at the same time.
You can also have your child practice writing at home. They can write their own stories or make up ideas for the characters in their favorite book. Make sure you ask them questions about their writing and have them defend their ideas with evidence like they have to in class.
No matter what your child is struggling with, fourth grade is a good time to expand their horizons with different texts and ideas. The demands for their writing are only going to get higher, so helping them right away is a good idea.1