Q:

My daughter, who is in the fourth grade this year, is not getting good grades in social studies and science no matter how hard she tries. She simply doesn't remember what she reads. How can she be helped? -- Puzzled

A:

Check first with your daughter's teacher about the possibility of your child having a learning problem. If you are worried or concerned about this, keep a log and jot down your concerns to discuss with the school. Often, reading or other processing problems do not show up until the work gets harder, especially in fourth grade.

If your daughter's problem is simply that she does not know how to read social-studies and science materials, you will want to teach her the SQ3R method. It is used in many classrooms and helps students read textbooks and remember what they read. The letters in SQ3R stand for the different steps that students should take in studying a textbook. You will have to show your child how to follow each step. Stay beside her until she has used SQ3R enough times to become adept at using it. It is somewhat hard to do at first, but good results should come quickly. Stick with it.

"S" stands for survey. It helps students get an idea of what the reading assignment is all about. They do this by reading all the headings and subheadings in the assignment as well as the summary, if there is one.

"Q" stands for question. It involves writing a question for each heading. If the heading is "The Causes of the Revolutionary War," the question could be "What were the causes of the war?" The questions make students think about what they are going to learn.

"R" stands for reading the material under each heading to find the answer to the question. (Note, reading only occurs after students know what they should be learning from a passage.) All the material needs to be read carefully, including captions, charts, graphs and tables. The meaning of unfamiliar words should be looked up.

"R" stands for recite. Once a section under a heading has been read, the major ideas of the section should be recited aloud. Then the answer to the question should be given in the student's own words. If the student knows the answer, it should be written down. Otherwise, the section needs to be reread.

"R" stands for review. It includes skimming over the headings again, reciting the important ideas under each heading and answering the questions again. If a question can't be answered, the material as well as the answer to the question should be reread. This step should be repeated the next day and at the end of the week, as well as before tests.