Last month I referred parents of high school students to Kaplan resources for SAT help. The parents of pre-school children can start now! Hold on! I’m not sending your child to a cram class. Much of what these tests and other academic placement tests require can be taught early. The first step is to introduce your child to reading from the first week of his life. Many parents wait until the peak interest is past or give up too easily because their child does not seem to have a reading interest. Read, read, and read to them. Use any and all resources available to you to interest your child in literature, words, and oral language. Dr. James Dobson states the ultimate importance of reading this way: “Make certain your child has learned to read by the end of his second school year. I’m convinced that self-esteem has more frequently been assassinated over reading problems than any other aspect of school life. And it is all so unnecessary! Educators have developed many creative approaches to remedial reading involving teaching machines, simplified alphabets, multi-sensory instruction, and other techniques. Every child, with very few exceptions, can learn to read if taught properly. It is absolutely critical to your child’s self-concept that he learn to read early in his school career, and if the professional educators can’t do the job, someone else will!” (Hide or Seek, pp.89-90). The ugly truth is, and any teacher will verify this, a child who does not learn to read is made fun of and is put into slower classes in many subjects simply because reading is so critical to all learning and school work. Once he realizes he is not reading with the other children, his self-esteem takes an irreparable giant leap backwards. There is also the stigma attached to his records and persona which is sometimes the hardest to get rid of. Once a child has been “labeled,” studies by the National Education Foundation show that there is little hope of erasing that label throughout the entire K-12 years.