Stowell Learning Center

Reclaim Self-Esteem by Overcoming Learning Challenges

I was at the ice rink to watch a hockey game, but a 4-year-old girl and her 2-year-old brother totally upstaged the game as they exuberantly raced up and down in front of the bleachers! Aren’t little kids great!  They embrace life with gusto and pull everyone around them into their adventure. As kids grow, [...]

My Child’s Spelling is Atrocious. What Does it Mean?

I have some avid game players in my extended family, so when we get together for the holidays, we play all kinds of games, particularly word games, of which my mom is a wizard! For a dyslexic child or adult, word games can be an absolute nightmare. I met a neurosurgeon once who shared with [...]

It’s Almost Time for the Holiday Craze!

It’s coming!  It’s inevitable.  So we might as well get on board and enjoy it!  I love the winter holidays, but they do come with their own special set of challenges. For kids with learning challenges, the excitement of the holidays may be laced with anxiety.  Schedules and activities at home and at school are [...]

Rrrrrr….This is my “Reading Face”

Have you been to a pumpkin patch yet?  When my kids were young, this was one of our favorite Fall activities.  Such excitement and such a hard choice – picking exactly the right pumpkin! In addition to pumpkins and Breast Cancer Awareness, October is Dyslexia Awareness Month.  I find that our dyslexic students are some [...]

More Reading is NOT the Answer

Chris Botti is one of my favorite artists.  When asked the key to success as a musician, he said, “Four things – Practice, Practice, Practice, and being friends with Sting!” It is generally accepted (and generally true), that if you want to be good at something, you have to practice, practice, practice.  In his book, [...]

Not Enough Change!

I learned something this weekend.  I was in New Hampshire and while I didn’t expect a foliage change yet, many people that we ran into were apologetic for the lack of colorful fall leaves.  They sadly predicted that the leaf change this year would not be as good as expected because it is too dry.  [...]

A Teacher’s Dilemma – What Do I Do with a Non-Reader in My Classroom?

Last week, I got to spend some time with a dear friend who is a third grade teacher.  This friend was not only my college roommate, but is also a phenomenal teacher.  School had already started for her and she was telling me about a little boy in her class who was the most delayed [...]

School’s Barely Started and He’s Already Distracted

With Back-to-School excitement waning and the reality of the new grade level expectations kicking in, struggling students are probably starting to become apparent.  The first and most obvious symptom of a learning challenge is poor attention. This may cause worried parents wonder if their child has ADHD. In our experience, attention challenges can mean many [...]

7 Easy Organizational Strategies to Help Students Start off the School Year Right

People are creatures of habit.  If we create structure and habits around homework from the very beginning of the school year, there will be fewer battles and negotiations later! Important Note:  These may seem obvious to you, but they are not obvious or easy for many students.  Each strategy will take instruction, practice, and monitoring [...]

DON’T Get LOST on the First Day of School!

I woke up this morning a little bit panicked from a dream I was having about the first day of school.  I was attending a new school that was essentially cabins spread out in a huge area in the woods.  (I know – crazy – but it was a dream)! My mom was with me [...]

I’m Ambidextrous! Isn’t that cool?

Have you ever tried to write your name with your non-dominant hand?  It’s pretty funny, right?  And really challenging! So when we see a person who is ambidextrous and can use both hands equally to do things, it's seems pretty amazing.  In baseball, switch-hitters (players who can bat either right-handed or left handed) are in [...]

Is My Child Dyslexic?

Dyslexia is coming to the forefront as more and more states are looking at legislation around dyslexia and education.  Most sources now site 20% of students as being dyslexic. Here are some questions to ask parents that will help them determine if dyslexia testing is warranted: Is there a family history of dyslexia? Was there [...]

“I Want My Son to Love School Again”

“I just want my son to love school again,” said a mom at a recent parent information meeting.  She went on to share that the summer before her son began kindergarten, he was so excited about starting school that he asked repeatedly, “Can I start today?” That’s how learning should feel!  Like an adventure that [...]

Some Random Thoughts About Dad

On a rest stop on a beautiful river road bike ride yesterday, I found myself skipping rocks in the river and thinking about my dad.  I have a very special memory of my dad teaching me to skip rocks on a lake when I was probably 7 or 8 years old. Yesterday was Father’s Day, [...]

A Student’s Perspective on SLC

I just have to share this with you.  This is an email I received from a 16-year old student on his last day at Stowell Learning Center.  This was a boy, who at 15, when he came to us, was so shutdown, and had such challenges with language and comprehension, that he didn’t look at [...]

7 Common Mistakes Parents Make When Their Child Has Difficulty With School Part 7

We’re finishing up our series on common mistakes that parents inadvertently make when their child struggles in school.  I hope you’ve found it helpful.  As parents we always do the very best we can for our kids, but often, having a bright child struggle with reading or some other aspect of school is new territory [...]

7 Common Mistakes Parents Make when their Child has Difficulty with School Part 6

When smart kids struggle in school, it’s confusing and frustrating for all involved.  In my experience both as a parent and working with thousands of parents, we suffer along with our kids and we will do anything to help them be happy and successful. But since kids don’t come with instruction manuals, we have to [...]

7 Common Mistakes Parents Make when their Child has Difficulty with School Part 4

When smart kids struggle in school, it’s confusing and frustrating for all involved.  In my experience both as a parent and working with thousands of parents, we suffer along with our kids and we will do anything to help them be happy and successful. But since kids don’t come with instruction manuals, we have to [...]

Spring Flowers and Special Stressors for Struggling Students

We are getting one of those rare rain showers here in Southern California this morning.  It’s pretty amazing to me how instantly the hills and lawns green up with a little bit of rain.  Spring showers really do bring flowers! Year after year, we have seen that spring also seems to bring with it some [...]

JFK, Sir Isaac Newton, and Making Real Changes for Children with Learning and Attention Challenges

My husband, David, writes a business tip for private practice owners every week.  I thought I’d share part of this week’s tip with you because it’s about change –  something we all want for our struggling students, yet something that comes with it’s own set of ups and downs. He writes (and I concur)… Recently, [...]

App Attack- Movement and Learning

I just saw a commercial on T.V. that terrifies me a little bit.  It shows a proud young couple with their toddler who is learning to recognize numbers and letters and even learning to read through an app on his iPad. Wow!  A toddler learning to read!  He’s going to be great in school, right? [...]

Just Give Me My Sweet Kid Back!

Don't let dyslexia and other learning challenges rob your child of confidence! Periodically, I get the pleasure of hearing from former clients or their parents.  Last week, I got a call from a parent with an update on her son who is now happily married and a brand new father!  He attended college and is [...]

I Can’t Read a Thing, but My Teacher Thinks I’m A Reader

I Can’t Read a Thing, but My Teacher Thinks I’m A Reader                         -Dyslexic Second Grader How is it possible for a dyslexic non-reader to fool her parents and teacher to the point that they honestly believe that she can read? Dyslexic learners are [...]

22 Simple Strategies for Supporting Students Who Struggle with Learning And Attention

Do you need simple strategies that you can implement immediately to help your struggling students? Do you wish you could help students with ADHD improve their attention? Then save this date:  November 11, 2015 at 7 - 9 p.m. Jill Stowell, founder and executive director of Stowell Learning Centers, Inc. will be presenting at the [...]

What Does a Meltdown Mean?

Jessie, was a cute 7-year-old girl when she came to work with us at the Learning Center.  But her behavior wasn’t so cute.  In fact, when I think back on her first several sessions, I think of the Charles Schultz character, Pigpen, NOT because she was messy or dirty – far from it – but [...]

“I’m Not a Reading Person”

Last week I had the pleasure of testing two very bright and very different dyslexic students.  One was 9.  We’ll call him Chris. Chris had tremendous confusion with letters.  He not only reversed b and d, but most other similar-looking letters, such as h and n; i and l; and t, f, and j.  He [...]

“I Don’t Get It. What Do You Mean?”

Understanding and Correcting Comprehension Challenges My daughter has learned that volunteering to wait for the next flight when hers is overbooked is a good way to add to her travel funds.  And since she has an insatiable desire to travel, she makes a habit of asking. When flying home from Japan a few weeks ago, [...]

Parent Education Classes and Registration

Need strategies for helping your child with homework or schoolwork?  Check out these Parent Education Classes held at SLC Chino. For more information and steps to register: click, download and print from the link below! Parent Education Classes and Registration

DYSLEXIA or ADHD?

Inattention is often the first and most obvious symptom seen by teachers when children struggle in school. This drives parents to their healthcare providers with the question, “Does my child have ADHD?” The challenge behind this question is that inattention, squirming in the chair, staring into space, slow to get started on tasks, poor listening, [...]

Back-to-School Apps Support Organization and Learning

There are Apps for absolutely everything these days, and sure enough, there are even Apps for Back-to-School! With so many students going back to school today or at least very shortly, I thought I’d share this article by John Patrick Pullen from Time Magazine: 6 Must-Have Back to School Apps http://time.com/3982036/back-best-school-apps/ This article highlights some [...]

The Auditory Processing – Emotional/Social Connection

Last month at Stowell Learning Center Chino, 25 students participated in our SLC Science Lab – AKA Big Fun Mess and Parents’ Night Out.  Only one of four experiments worked exactly as planned, but the night was a big success. The students had a good time working together to make a liquid kaleidoscope, and homemade [...]

“Mom, I Need Adderall”

A parent recently shared with me that her high school son came home from school one day saying, “Mom, I need Adderall.”  Adderall is a medication commonly used to manage Attention Deficit Disorder / ADHD. It’s easy to blame attention for students’ struggles in school because that’s often what it looks like in class and [...]

Walking In Their Shoes

5 Things Parents and Teachers Should Know About Their Struggling Learner AND 5 Ways to Support Them We recently held a Simulation and Strategies Event at Stowell Learning Center, Chino.  The parents and teachers who attended got the opportunity to see what it might feel like to be a student in class with dyslexia, auditory [...]

What Do I Say To My Child About His Learning Difference?

  A mom walked by with a baby who was wearing a soft helmet.  Being an unusual sight, I and most other people they passed glanced a little longer than typical at the baby. Why was a baby wearing a helmet like that? The question was quickly answered by the statement printed in large colorful [...]

I HATE Feeling Crazy!

My father-in-law loved instruction manuals.  He would pour over the manual for any item he bought because he wanted to know exactly how it worked, all the things it could do, and what problems and solutions to expect. But kids don’t come with instruction manuals.  So we all step into parenting a little blindly.  It’s [...]

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The Teacher Says My Child is Struggling. Now What?

The Teacher Says My Child is Struggling.  Now what? When I was teaching in public school many years ago, I happened to teach in an area where most of the parents spoke only Spanish.  Therefore, my parent-teacher conferences were held in my far-less-than-perfect Spanish.  I remember that the parents were so gracious about it. One [...]

Dreading Parent Teacher Conferences?

Loving Fall but Dreading Fall Parent Teacher Conferences? The East Coast does Fall right!  Crisp weather; brilliant red, yellow, and orange leaves on the tress, and pumpkins everywhere! There’s just something special about Fall.  A change in the weather - in most places!  (So. Cal. seems to be a bit stuck on the heat of summer).  [...]

DYSLEXIA or ADHD?

We tested two boys last week with very similar learning strengths and challenges.  In testing, they both had good attention, but one became squirmy in his chair whenever he had to read. The squirmy little guy had been diagnosed with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder without Hyperactivity).  He was never a problem in class, but was [...]

“This is So Boring!”

"I  hate History. It's boring." “I don’t want to do this homework.  It’s so borrrring!” (Said in a whiney voice) If you’re the parent of a school age student, you’ve probably heard this before.  If you’re the parent of a child who struggles in school, you have probably heard this, or something similar, more times [...]

Homework Blues Already?

At our Parent Information Meeting this week, a parent shared that her son spends 5 hours a night on what should be less than an hour of homework. Another parent said about their son, who also seems to do nothing but homework once he gets home from school, “We just want him to have his life [...]

It’s a Turtles Life

Turtle Lessons Lesson #1 Standing on the beach in one of my favorite spots in the world, Honokawaii, Maui, I saw a giant sea turtle lazily sunning on the shore. With the start of school, most families are feeling anything but lazy.  But as I watched the turtle, it was a good reminder that no [...]

Laughter- A Good Attitude Adjuster!

Today is my sister-in-law’s birthday.  Growing up, my children always loved visits from Aunt Nancy because she was so much fun.  She would make them laugh and they would do anything for her! Laughter makes us feel good!  Laughter supports our health.  Laughter is just plain fun! Victor Borge said: Laughter is the shortest distance [...]

Voracious Reader

Yesterday at a baby shower, I ran into the mom of a former student who shared with me that her son, now 31, came to Stowell Learning Center when he was 7. She said, “We’re so grateful.  I don’t think he would ever have learned to read if it hadn’t been for his time at [...]

Take a Break!

Recess is NOT just for school If you’re like me, you’re frantically trying to get presents wrapped and packages sent.  Here’s a gift you can give yourself and your kids in this last week before Christmas, and going forward into the new year:  a quick break to refresh and regroup. Learning to take a break [...]

Great at Sports but Lazy at School?

At Starbucks not too long ago, I overheard a group if young teenage girls talking about a softball tournament they had just participated in. They talked excitedly and knowledgeably about the game for a while, and then the conversation turned to school. One of the girls said about her performance at school, “I’m really lazy [...]

Football and Fresh Starts

I’m not really a football fan, but I have to admit, the sound of football on TV brings a smile to my face.  It signals the end of summer and the beginning of autumn. Don’t get me wrong, I love summer, but each new season, especially Fall, seems like a new beginning – a fresh [...]