Signs of Trouble in Fourth Grade

Signs of Trouble With Learning in Fourth Grade

Boy bored with homework
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Note: Please see Signs of Trouble in Second Grade and Signs of Trouble in Third Grade as this list of concerns is in addition to those previously outlined.

Fourth grade is a year when children are expected to take on new challenges, both socially and academically, and it's important to be on the lookout for signs of trouble in either of these realms. Signs of trouble in fourth grade vary depending on your child's development, but if your child is consistently showing some of these signs, it's a good idea to check in with his teacher or pediatrician for a closer look at what's going on.

Your child may have trouble in 4th grade if he can't:

  • Handle and work with fact families automatically.
  • React to other students and staff in an appropriate manner and follow basic behavioral rules.
  • Organize his time to study for tests and complete homework, including long-term projects.
  • Write legibly, either in print or in cursive.

Your child may have trouble in 4th grade and might need further evaluation for possible developmental delays or learning disabilities if he shows some of the following signs:

  • Continues to have an awkward or uncomfortable pencil grasp. Often students with a poor grasp will complain of their hands "getting tired" or "hurting" after an extended period of writing.
  • Avoids tasks that require writing or drawing.
  • Consistently speaks too loudly or too softly.
  • Is unable to repeat directions that have just been given or retell a story that has just been read.
  • Cannot stay on topic when speaking and uses the wrong words in his speech, either due to grammar errors or not knowing the meaning of or how to use a specific word.
  • Mispronounces words, drops or inverts syllables when talking. For example, says "fustrated" or "supposably" instead of "frustrated" and "supposedly" (or "probably").
  • Doesn't understand how to use or interpret idioms, metaphors or similes.
  • Is a non-fluent reader.
  • Cannot grasp or identify basic themes and ideas when reading or listening to a story.
  • Doesn't use cues to work out unfamiliar words in text and prefers to guess at them instead.
  • Isn't able to self-correct or proofread his own work, for spelling errors, messy writing, incorrect grammar or punctuation.
  • Writes in  disorganized, unconnected thoughts and paragraphs and show difficulty outlining those thoughts.
  • Struggles to learn basic multiplication and division facts.
  • Doesn't align math problems (tens, ones, etc.) correctly, resulting in incorrect computation.
  • Cannot seem to verbally express his feelings.
  • Doesn't "get to the point" when he talks. His sentences may often be filled with many irrelevant details that he seems unable to omit.
  • Is consistently doubtful or disparaging of his strengths and abilities.

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