Structure helps give direction and security to a child. Early on, close structure may be necessary. Gradually, as his or her tolerance allows, the structure may be reduced and eventually, removed. This helps the child develop confidence in himself and become aware of his own growth. Structure should be practiced in every phase of the work rather than relegated to specific tasks. For example:
* Give short assignments in a series, one at a time, and to completion; in the beginning, try for no more than 1 workbook page per day.
* Block out with a marker the specific short section of work to be done.
* Alternate short work sessions with breaks of a different type of activity, gradually increasing the length of the work sessions.
* Use color clues to indicate places to begin and stop (green for GO and red for STOP).
* Avoid complicated systems to follow in doing an assignment.
* Reread prior workbook pages before beginning new ones.
* Don't cover up picture clues to test if your child can really read.
* Break down directions into short parts, giving only one part at a time.
* Separate material for younger children into small units to avoid frustration.
* Keep the environment free from distracting stimulation.
* Sit close to the child to help him keep himself in control.
* Keep the emotional climate of the sessions calm and definite.
* Avoid pressure, but do maintain a wholesome respect for work and an attitude conducive to good work habits.
* Verbal praise works as a reward with homework. A big smile, along with a simple "well done" or a praising clap or cheer is enough.
Give them as much help as they seem to need. Don't do the work for them, but show them some of the best ways to complete the task. Teach your child how to use resources such as the library and with close supervision, the computer. If you don't know the answer to something, don't worry. Find people and places that can help both of you find the information you need.
Let your child complete the assignment, then review it and make constructive suggestions. With your child, discuss the best time and place to do homework.
Children must take responsibility for their own behavior. Help them understand the values and benefits of accomplishment. Don't bribe, threaten, nag, or punish. Help them understand the consequences of incomplete assignments. By working with your child at home, you are doing more than teaching reading and math. You are building your child's confidence, imagination, and love of learning.