In This Issue

Summer is here! Our summer programs will begin soon, so it is your last chance to sign up for our fun (and educational, shhh!) programs:
Ready Reader Foundations:
Work on phonological awareness, spelling, and reading fluency skills.

Ready Reader Building Comprehension:
Improve reading comprehension and analysis skills. 

Learn strategies to assist in every step of the writing process, including pre-writing, researching, drafting, revising, and editing.

Build confidence in math skills including: basic math (grades 3-8), pre-algebra, algebra, geometry, and calculus.

A great way to have your child engage in summer reading!

Prepare for a successful start to the school year and beyond by tackling the most annoying, yet critical, parts of gearing up for school, including back-to-school shopping!


A group program to develop problem-solving and executive functioning skills through fun, hands-on challenges. 

A group program involving real-life practice of executive functioning skills by planning a trip to a DC area landmark, museum, or sporting event.


Prepare to apply to college by focusing on setting priorities and goals; making and revising plans; and initiating, executing, and completing the different tasks in the application process .

Going to college is an exciting new chapter, one that is fast-paced and requires a new level of independence. This program helps focus on the key areas that tend to get overlooked while preparing to head off to college. 

JUNE 2018
Learning to Use Your Voice: The Importance of Self-Advocacy

By  Kristin Backert

For some students, there is nothing more frightening than admitting that they need help. Sometimes, students feel pressured at school, and seeking outside assistance may seem daunting. However, learning how to advocate for yourself is a crucial skill not only for school, but for the rest of your life. Other people can be fountains of knowledge and show us ways to better grasp information that was once confusing.


Self-advocacy begins with the meta-cognitive skill of understanding one's own strengths and weaknesses, and then seeking help from the appropriate sources. If your child is unsure whether she needs to seek help for her academics, here are some warning signs:

Your child consistently receives low exam grades. Sometimes, helping your child understand her academic content may be beyond your scope. If your child is struggling to pass exams, this may be an indication that she does not comprehend the material and needs to meet with her teacher.

Your child constantly has missing assignments . There are a variety of reasons why your child may not have completed an assignment - she forgot, she did know it was assigned, she completed it but did not turn it in, she did not understand the material - and the first step is to identify why your child has not been completing her work so that you can put in place the appropriate support system.

Your child dreads going to a particular class; she also becomes defensive. Often times when students are struggling with a class, they become defensive when asked about it. This attitude, coupled with poor exam or homework grades, may be a sign that your child needs extra assistance with this class.


If you notice the above warning signs, it is time to sit down with your child and encourage her to seek help for the class she is struggling in. To make sure she does not feel as though you are attacking her intelligence, have her follow these steps:

Reflect. To identify strengths and weaknesses, ask your child to think about the school subjects she enjoys and those that she finds difficult. After making this list, have her think about why she finds certain subjects more complicated than others; for example, does the teacher move through the information too quickly? Is your child not interested in the material?

Plan. Next, have your child create a list of potential sources she could seek help from. These sources can include teachers, tutors, parents, classmates, and more. On this list, encourage your child to provide a rationale for why she believes a particular source would be a good resource.

Organize. If your child has evidence of her struggles, such as old tests or homework assignments, have her gather these together. That way, she can use these documents to point out exactly where she becomes confused when she meets with a support system.

Execute . The final step is to have your child reach out to a source. To make sure she does this and feels comfortable, sit with your child and have her email her chosen source. In this email, she should explain the situation and offer availability for when she could meet with her source. 


There are many ways to self-advocate, and the method may vary from subject to subject depending on the type of help your child needs. However, there are a few tried and trusted methods your child can use:

Set up a meeting with the teacher. In most cases, having your child meet with her teacher is the best way to help her better grasp the material. Sit down with your child and have her email the teacher; in the email, your child should note which topics she is struggling with. Prior to the meeting, have your child create a list of topics she does not understand and gather past exams or homework that she can use to explain her confusion.

Form a study group. If your child is too shy to meet with her teacher, forming a study group with trustworthy classmates may be exactly what she needs. By working with peers, she may feel less pressured to voice her confusion.

Attend help sessions or set up weekly meetings with a tutor. Many schools offer help sessions or tutoring, either during lunch or after school that are run by teachers or peers, and this is an excellent service for your child to take advantage of. This one-on-one help can move at the perfect pace for your child.

Work independently. Whether your child decides to ask her teacher, classmates, or a tutor for help, she cannot just work with them once a week and expect to gain instant mastery over a subject. Every night, your child should do a little work on the subject that is giving her trouble; whether it is completing extra worksheets, watching videos, or re-doing old tests, she will only become more comfortable with material if she engages with it on a daily basis.


Asking for help can seem difficult, but learning how to use your voice and advocate for yourself is one of the most important skills an individual can gain. There are dozens of sources out there that can demonstrate innovative ways to understand a topic, and these sources are more than willing to sit down and take the time to explain a concept in a way that your child best understands. Asking for help illustrates a high degree of maturity, and your child's confidence will soar after she advocates for herself.