Category Archives: Interventions

Assist Your Child With Spring Cleaning Their Backpack

Spring is here! It can feel so good to open the windows in your home to the warm breezes after months of cold weather. Spring is the time when many of us give our homes a thorough cleaning. And it is also a wonderful time to encourage your child to clean out their backpack and stay organized in the final stretch of the school year.

Ideally, students should clean out their backpacks once a week. Often I work with students on organizational skills and a backpack clean-up has uncovered completed but never turned in homework, signed permission slips that never made it to the teacher, and other assorted important paperwork.

Staying organized is one aspect of Executive Functioning skills. The three main areas of EF are working memory, flexible thinking, and self-control.  We need our EF skills so we can pay attention, organize/plan/prioritize, start tasks and stay focused until completion, regulate emotions, understand different points of view, and self-monitor our behavior.

Keeping a backpack organized, keeping a planner up to date, getting completed homework from backpack to the correct bin, and bringing important school documents home from school all require executive functioning skills. Some students need support so that they can internalize these skills.

The following are tips to help students keep their backpacks organized:

1.) Only put water bottles in outside pockets to prevent leakage onto books/papers.

2.) Keep an ID card with student’s name and phone number in an interior pocket in case backpack is misplaced.

3.) Use a zippered pouch for pens, pencils and erasers to reduce “floating items” in backpack.

4.) Use a large clear plastic bag for dirty PE clothes.

5.) Designate one area of backpack for pencil bag, wallet, etc. and a separate area for textbooks, folders, and binders.

6.) Keep a lightweight 3-hole-punch in backpack so all important papers can be immediately 3-hole-punched and placed in binder in appropriate area.

7.) Make a copy of permission slips that are to be returned to school and tape them on refrigerator as a reminder of event.

Encourage your child to take everything out of their backpack on Sunday evenings in preparation of the upcoming week. Help your child create a system for binder organization. For example: TKO – Toss any unneeded papers, Keep important papers for test prep in school binder behind designated dividers, Organize papers in a keep-at-home binder that may be needed later in the semester.

Be patient with your child. For some people, executive functioning skills are easily mastered while challenging for others. Remind your child that while EF skills have absolutely no correlation with intelligence, staying organized can help make school life more manageable.

If you would like to talk about how to assist your child with executive functioning skills, I am here to help! Please give me a call or send me an email at




Why 20 Minutes of Reading Every Night Is Too Important To Skip!

Thank you to Sandy Eiges of L.A. School Scout for having me as a guest contributor to her newsletter with the blog post below!  You can learn more about Sandy’s School Placement services at

After a full school day and afternoon activity, most kids understandably want to get their homework done as fast as possible and then chill out. But parents, please don’t skip the 20 minutes of nightly reading! Reading develops literacy which is vital for communication, perspective, problem solving, and finding new areas of interest.

A study of elementary school students revealed that students learn word meanings from context during daily reading. It was determined that daily reading results in reliable gains in knowledge at all grade and ability levels

This is demonstrated by examining three 6th graders: Alice reads for 20 minutes each day. By doing so, she will have read for 3600 minutes and read 1,800,000 words during the school year. In comparison, Betty reads 5 minutes each day, which means she will have read for 900 minutes and read 282,000 words during the school year. And for further comparison, Carol reads for 1 minute each day, which means she has read for 180 minutes and read 8,000 words per school year.

By the end of 6th grade, Alice will have read the equivalent of 60 school days. Betty will have read for 12 school days and Carol will have read for three hours of a school day. Which student is likely to have a bigger vocabulary? Which student is likely to have more success in school?

So have your child read to themselves, read to you, or you can read to your child. If your child is an emerging reader, you can take turns each reading a page. The key is to make nightly reading pleasurable! If your child enjoys being read to, allow them to choose the book and cuddle up as you read. By being read to, your child can enjoy the book without the stress of decoding the words. If possible, choose a hardbound book because the tactile component allows a child to “see” the beginning, middle and the end of a book. Make daily reading part of your child’s day. The payoff is truly measurable!

If making sure your child reads for 20 minutes a day is making you feel overwhelmed, let’s talk about it! Please give me a call at 310-849-6751 or send me an email at

Best,                                                                                                                                                                                    Jeri




Summer Interventions to Maintain/Increase Reading Skills

I had the distinct pleasure of attending the IDA-LA Pasadena Parent Group on April 12. IDA-LA is the International Dyslexia Association, Los Angeles Branch, a non-profit organization with the mission of raising awareness and understanding of dyslexia, promoting effective practices and supporting individuals with dyslexia, their families and professionals. At the meeting, Educational Therapists Barb Langeloh and Janel Umfress shared the following suggestions for summer interventions for children and teens with the goal of maintaining and increasing reading skills:

Overall Goal: The enjoyment of reading and the development of literacy. Janel defined Literacy as more than just reading and writing, but as a form of communication, perspective, problem solving and an avenue to explore areas of interest.

Key: Read aloud to your child. By reading to your child, you can create a love of text without the burden of decoding. When reading is pleasurable, it feels less threatening.

Key: Provide your child hardbound books as doing so encourages deeper thinking, according to research. The tactile component is vital; it allows the reader to see the beginning, middle and end.

Key: Take your child to the library or bookstore and allow them to choose their own books. Use the “5 Finger Rule for the Right Fit” strategy: If there are five words on a page that a child is unable to read, the book is not the right fit.

Key: Barb suggested that, if at all possible, have your child work with a trained interventionist in a one-to-one session. The method that the interventionist uses (Orton-Gillingham, Slingerland, Wilson, Lindamood-Bell, Barton) is less important that having a TRAINED interventionist who uses a sequential and multi-sensory method.

Key: Plan ahead for summer interventions. For true progress, your child needs to meet with interventionist at least three times per week at a consistent rate throughout the summer. When finding the right interventionist for their child, parents should ask interventionist for a “try-out” session (short session, 20-30 minutes) to see if it is a good fit.

For more information about IDA-LA’s Parent Support groups, please visit

If your child has dyslexia, or you think your child may have dyslexia, and you are feeling overwhelmed, I am here to help! Please give me a call at 310-849-6751 or send me an email at

All my best,                                                                                                                                                                   Jeri