The Right Brain Kid & the Grade 4 Slump


You know what I hated about teaching grade 7 & 8? Graduation.

All the kids in their fancy outfits filled with a sense of hope and accomplishment didn’t blunt out the fact that there were far too many who we had failed.

That’s right. I failed them and so did the school system. It made me sick to shake the hands of kids on stage when so many of them were going into grade 9 and were lucky if they could read at a grade 3 reading level.

And it’s not because we didn’t know. The school system and the parents knew this kid was struggling for years.

The Grade 4 Slump

You know when I am most likely to get a call from a mom who is concerned about her child’s reading difficulties? When her child is in grade 4.

Kids with reading, writing and general learning difficulties easily slip through the cracks in the first few years of school – especially if they are not a behaviour in class.

In fact, a lot of kids with a right brain overdevelopment and left-brain deficiency are well-behaved kids in the classroom and may try hard to please their teacher in their early years.

Around grade 1 and 2, they will start falling behind but not enough to sound the alarm bells because they are not a behaviour problem. At this point they are only a little behind, are perceived as being ‘weak’ and just need extra practice.

Why Kids Slip Through the Cracks

It’s often not until grade 4 that suddenly parents and teachers become aware that there is an obvious learning difficulty. At this point the child is usually several grade levels behind in reading.

In grade 4 kids are no longer learning to read, they are reading to learn, and this means their poor reading is now holding them back from being successful in most subject areas.

As these kids get older, this imbalance becomes more pronounced as the right brain continues to develop and the left brain falls further and further behind.

When Self-Esteem Starts to Take a Nosedive

Not only do these kids start to become so discouraged that their motivation dwindles, but the right brain is also more emotionally driven.

This means these kids may struggle with motivation when they just don’t feel like doing something – especially something that feels pointless and makes them feel worse about themselves.

At around grade 4, kids start reflecting on how they fit into their peer group and start comparing themselves to others. This is the age that their initial enthusiasm starts to dwindle, and their self-esteem starts to take a nosedive.

These kids start coming home and telling their parents they hate school and they are ‘dumb’ and this may even lead to discipline problems in school.

Enter Top-Down Approaches (That Don’t Work!)

This is where the merry-go-round of tutors, special education classes, remedial reading programs, IEP’s, behaviour modification plans and even medication starts since it is not uncommon for these kids to be misdiagnosed with ADHD.

This is because their boredom in a class they can’t keep up with looks like poor focus and their frustration with themselves and the school system may look like hyperactivity and impulsivity.

Auditory Processing and Left-Brain Underdevelopment

When it comes to learning, the left-brain deficient child may have poor short-term memory, trouble blending sounds or following a series of instructions.

The auditory cortex is on the left side of the brain which is why these kids are often diagnosed with some version of auditory processing disorder (closely linked with learning disabilities, poor phonemic awareness and the difficulties associated with dyslexia).

This is why it is not uncommon for these kids to have difficulty with music, singing in key or challenges with rhythm and rhyming.

Mental Health and the Left-Brain Deficient Adolescent

As these kids enter puberty if the problem is not addressed, they may start to shut down and give up on school altogether as their reading, writing and learning abilities continue to fall further and further behind their peers.

These kids are also more vulnerable to depression since the right brain is more emotional and more highly associated with feelings of depression. 

I’ll admit, I hesitated writing this last part because the last thing I want to do is worry a mom anymore than she already is.

…but who am I kidding. Almost every single mother who reaches out to me tells me that her greatest concern is the impact that her child’s learning difficulties will have on their self-esteem and motivation.  

This is precisely why I am so passionate about early intervention and addressing the REAL PROBLEM – undernourished and weak connections in the brain. This is exactly what I do in my 6-month program, The Full Potential Formula, and addressing the various factors that were contributing to weak connections in Adam’s brain, Adam was making progress like never before with his reading and writing.

His memory was sharper, and he finally felt like he was able to learn like the other kids in his class. Adam’s confidence soared and so did his motivation.

Are you ready to try an approach that actually goes beyond the conventional approach of band-aid solutions?

If so, book a free Clarity Call to learn more about my program and how it can help your child rise to their full potential – and how you can finally have peace of mind (and time to yourself!).

In Health & Wholeness,

Lorraine XO