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charlotteb

Need advice re: research papers and learning differences

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I need advice for my youngest daughter.  A little background- she was adopted from foster care at almost 9 years old.  I have homeschooled her since then, starting in 3rd grade.  She came very far behind in many subjects.  I had to re-teach alot of materials and while she has caught up well in math and reading ability, but still struggles with vocabulary and expression.  We have used a few programs such as "English from the Roots Up" and different materials from IEW over the years to aid with these.  She is now in 10th grade and we are attempting to cover research papers.  She is really struggling, and I can tell shes trying to get it, but she doesn't.  I think its her vocabulary problems that make it hard for her.  When she needs to find and use a source, she often can't understand what they're trying to say because of the big words that she doesn't understand in there.  Any advice? I sit with her and give lots of guidance, but she seems to have reached a point where she cannot do it.  What would they do in a public school setting with a child like her? Should I have her tested? Try a different curriculum?  Wait until maybe 12th grade and try again? 

Edited by charlotteb

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When you say you're doing research papers, what does that mean? What does it look like?

My first thought is that you may want to separate the tasks. Make research a task for one project/topic/assignment and make writing - where all the necessary information is provided - a totally different task.

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Just me, but I'd probably try and separate the two topics and work on them separately.

For doing research, use children's nonfiction books and children's encyclopedia websites -- simplified language, so you can focus on how to pull out key points, re-write in own words, organize into paragraphs, do citations, etc.

For vocabulary, just plug along with whatever is working, and if it helps, provide a lot of definitions "in context" and "on the fly" as the two of you are reading.

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As others have said, use simpler sources. If the goal is to teach how to write a research paper, then you have to use sources that the vocabulary can be read and understood. If her vocabulary is lower, then I'd just use lower level reading material. 

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Can any of you recommend a resource that would be gentler? Or for a younger child that I could adapt to high school?

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2 hours ago, charlotteb said:

Can any of you recommend a resource that would be gentler? Or for a younger child that I could adapt to high school?


This Scholastic article "Step By Step Research Reports for Young Writers" walks you through the whole process -- it's at a grade 3-5 level, but it's the same process used for high school. (This link is different from the Scholastic activity linked by previous poster.)

This brief article by a teacher "Helping Students Learn to Cite Their Sources" is a very nice explanation of how to introduction citations to middle school level students. Here's a pdf guide about citations, written at a middle school student level.

Edited by Lori D.
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