My children have been in school now for several weeks. How can I reinforce the importance of getting good grades? -- Worried and Concerned


Good grades really do matter. They lead to special opportunities, including entrance into gifted and talented programs as well as placement in honors and AP classes, which give students a solid preparation for admission to college. Good grades are also essential for playing on sports teams and participating in some extracurricular activities.

Older children probably understand that good grades are important. You will want to point out to all your children, however, that good grades do unlock the door to success in school. For example, a good grade in math at any level indicates mastery of the subject and will lead to continued success in math. On the other hand, a poor grade shows there are holes in what a child knows about math, which will cause trouble in the next grade. Plus, good grades usually bring good standardized test scores, which may be used to make decisions on promotion to the next grade.

For ideas about how to help your children get good grades, visit our website, DearTeacher.com. You might also want to read "Doing Their Best: Encouraging Children to Earn Good Grades" -- a book devoted to the ways that parents can help their children succeed in school.

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