How To Support A Teenager

From time to time I get emails from parents and teachers asking me how they can better support a 14 -16 year old who is struggling with their school work.

Invariably this leads to the next question……..

How much emphasis should be put on remediating them?……

In other words teaching them reading and spelling skills as opposed to providing them with access to technology, (like text readers and speech to text software) so they can just get on with the job of showing teachers what they know.

In many cases these teens are students who have slipped through the cracks of our education system.

They are stuck without any educational support and as the years roll by they fall further and further behind.

These teens know exactly what is expected of them, but they are lacking the skills and abilities to be able to access classroom materials and complete their school tasks.

For the teen, this is incredibly stressful and worrying.

Here are some points to consider if you know a teenager who is experiencing this dilemma.

1. Teens do not like to stand out in a crowd.
2. Teens do not want to appear different to anyone else.
3. Teens in general are not good time managers.
4. Teens are often too embarrassed to ask for help.
5. Teens are often time poor and have many extra hours of homework and extra curricula activities to complete each week.
6. Teens who have learning difficulties will often have developed strategies to hide their difficulties. Symptoms of this may include; anger, aloofness, indifference, anxiety or poor behaviour.
7. Having friends is very important to a teen, often more important than doing well at school.

But get this

Your teenagers will know exactly what their specific area of learning weakness is.

Whether it be….. spelling, punctuation, grammar, handwriting or decimals and fractions.

They will also know if they are prepared to do any extra work to improve.

Remember….. you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make them drink…….And this is very true for teenagers….. I’ve got two and I know this first hand.

They’ve got to want to improve or you are wasting your breath.

To remediate or not to remediate?

This is the question and here’s what I usually recommend.

It is never to late to improve on your teen’s literacy skills. Of course the long term benefits will be far reaching as your child or student moves into adulthood.

BUT remediation should not get in the way of allowing them to keep up with the other kids in their class. Remember these teens are invariably as intelligent as every other teen, with some being highly intelligent.

By all means provide them with some technology so they can access course work and get their homework and assignments done.

Remediation should also be a consideration to improve their literacy skills and here is what I recommend. No more than 10-15 minutes per day or 3-4 times per week.

This can include 10-15 minutes of….

* Fluency training Oral reading practise
* An online typing tutor – Like Touch Type Read Spell
* A spelling program like ‘Word Shark’
* A Lucid Research software program like ‘Memory Booster‘ or ‘Comprehension Booster‘ OR The Ten Minute Tutor


When it comes to The Ten Minute Tutor, for teens who already know their areas of weakness, you can choose only those tutorials in The Ten Minute Tutor that will benefit them directly like the Punctuation & Grammar or Words & Spelling….

Oh……and when it comes to The Ten Minute Tutor always get your teen to do the Inspirational Interviews and the Tips For Life Day tutorials to increase their confidence.

A teenager is a force to be reckoned with once they have a positive direction.

Wishing you and your teen all the best.

Kind regards,

Liz Dunoon

P.S. Parents and teachers often feel at a loss as to how to support a struggling teen, but there are simple and effective ways to turn them around and get them engaged in education once again.

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