Success by 3rd Grade for Boca Raton 3rd Graders — How to Beat 3rd Grade Retention

3rd Grade Retention is a controversial tool supported by Conservatives, led by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

Research has found that of 22 stressful situations, students found grade retention the 3rd most stressful life event after Loss of a Parent and going Blind.  At 3D Learner, we shift the focus from 3rd Grade Retention to Success by 3rd Grade.

We know who is at risk, often by 1st grade, almost always by 2nd grade and always by the summer before 3rd grade.

This impacts students in public, private and charter schools with the new Florida State Standards — Florida’s new name for the Common Core Standards.

3rd Grade Retention is a real risk for students in Public and Charter Schools, where the replacement for the 3rd Grade Reading FCAT, also known as the 3rd Grade FCAT, will be much harder.  We project that 25 to 30% of the 3rd graders will fail the 3rd Grade FCAT Replacement test with a score that will bring 3rd Grade Retention into play.

We have written a short, informative and empowering book “Success by 3rd Grade“.  We focus on what parents and grandparents can do to make the difference.

Rather than focus on School Choice (i.e.Public, Charter, Private or Homeschooling), we focus on how your child learns best and what issues might be holding your child back.  With the likely challenges being attention, visual tracking, working memory and processing speed challenges.

We would like to offer you a no cost copy of “Success by 3rd Grade“, an online assessment and a debrief, that are designed to provide you with the information, mindset and resources you need to help your child to success and to shift your focus from 3rd Grade Retention to focusing on Success by 3rd Grade for your child or grandchild.

Just go to Success by 3rd Grade and then call 3D Learner at 561-361-7495


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2nd Grade Retention or 3rd Grade Retention

At 3D Learner, our focus is on Success by 3rd Grade.

If your child failed the 3rd Grade FCAT (3rd Grade Reading FCAT) or is going to take the 3rd Grade FCAT Replacement Test the question of 2nd grade retention or 3rd grade retention is a critical one to understand

This article on 2nd Grade Retention vs. 3rd Grade Retention makes a great point — neither one works.

Quoting from the article:

“What’s One to Do?

For most students struggling to keep up, retention is not a satisfactory solution. Nor is promotion. Juxtaposing the two as if these are the only options casts the debate in the wrong terms. The challenge is figuring out what it takes to help failing students catch up. Understanding why a particular student has fallen behind points to the best course of action.

For many students, especially those who start school far behind their peers, intensive intervention, even prior to kindergarten, may be the best path to success. For students who are frequently absent, understanding and addressing the reasons for their absences might be the solution.

Retention usually duplicates an entire year of schooling. Other options—such as summer school, before-school and after-school programs, or extra help during the school day—could provide equivalent extra time in more effective ways. Without early diagnosis and targeted intervention, struggling students are unlikely to catch up whether they are promoted or retained.”

Effective intervention before 1st grade, 2nd grade or 3rd grade is far superior.  If your child got a Level 1 and failed the 3rd Grade FCAT, the best choice is still effective intervention.

For more information on how you can make the difference, go to Success by 3rd Grade or call us at 561-361-7495


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3rd Grade Retention For Students who Failed the 3rd Grade Reading FCAT

For students who failed the 3rd Grade Reading FCAT (3rd Grade FCAT) the State of Florida offers several. 

Some third graders who score Level 1 on the FCAT 2.0 Reading can be exempted from the retention requirement and be
promoted to fourth grade. This is called a “good cause exemption.” Good cause exemptions are given to only the following
English language learners who have had less than two years of instruction in an English for Speakers of Other Languages
(ESOL) program
Students with disabilities whose individual educational plan (IEP) shows that it is not appropriate for them to take
the FCAT 2.0 Reading
Students who show an acceptable level of performance on an alternative standardized reading test approved by the State
Board of Education
Students who show through a teacher developed portfolio that they can read on grade level


Students with disabilities who take the FCAT 2.0 Reading and whose IEP or 504 Plan says that they have received intensive remediation in reading for more than two years, but still show a deficiency in reading and were previously
retained in kindergarten through grade 3; or
Students who have received intensive remediation in reading for two or more years, but still have a deficiency in reading
and who have already been retained in kindergarten through grade 3 for a total of two years.
Promotion to 4th grade can work, if your child’s reading comprehension is at grade level.  Click here for how you can help your child who might be retained in 3rd grade to be promoted to 4th grade or call us at 5461-361-7495.
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Why 3rd Grade Retention Laws Make Sense

We hate the 3rd grade retention law — but there is a reason to have it.

Statistics show that over 70% of the students with a reading disability (dyslexia) in 3rd grade will still have a reading disability (dyslexia) in 12th grade.

What is even worse, for special education students in secondary schools 45% of the students had a reading comprehension level 3 to 4.9 years below grade level and an additional 21% had a reading comprehension level 5 or more years below grade level.

The real opportunity is for the smart kid who learns differently and who often has an attention and visual tracking challenge.

We have seen these bright right-brain learners gain 2 and even 3 years in their reading comprehension within 4 to 8 months and to succeed in 4th grade and beyond, because …

Their parents realized their child had the potential to do far better with the right approach and

The parents were encouraged to look elsewhere for help, because summer programs in schools tend to do more of the same

There is a better way, and that is to identify the problem early on and to shift the focus to Success by 3rd Grade, but ..

If your child scored a Level 1 on the 3rd Grade Reading FCAT there is still time to act this summer and a good chance your child can be promoted to 4th grade.

For more information go to


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For Students Who Learn Differently, Success by 3rd Grade Could and Should Be Parent Led

Why Success by 3rd Grade is so important” by Ann Murphy Paul makes some interesting points.  One is that to achieve success by 3rd grade and to avoid 3rd Grade Retention, “An ideal alternative: teachers and parents would collaborate on the creation of an individualized learning plan for each third-grader who needs help with reading — a plan that might involve specialized instruction, tutoring or summer school. Most important is taking action, researchers say, and not assuming that reading problems will work themselves out”.

We have found one major fallacy with this approach.  Most smart struggling students are right-brain learners, who learn best when the student sees and experiences information.  These students often have attention and visual tracking challenges.  Schools tend to teach one size fits all. As a result, if your child learns differently and has an attention and visual tracking challenge, the schools do not capitalize on his or her strengths, nor do they identify and address the related attention and visual tracking challenges.

3 Questions that might help to determine if your child learns differently and is a right-brain learner:

–  Does your child remember places visited, even from years ago?

–  Does your child learn best when he or she sees and experiences information?

–  Does your child have the potential to do far better in reading comprehension and high stakes tests?

If your child learns differently, you want to consider a right-brain program that teaches the way your child learns and identifies and addresses the attention and visual tracking issues that may be holding your child back

Mira Halpert, M Ed, developed and directs the 3D Learner Program (R) — their key focus is success by 3rd grade for the right-brain learner, who learns differently and often has a combination of attention and visual tracking challenges.  For more information, you can visit Success by 3rd Grade.


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Success by 3rd Grade Campaign and Reading Comprehension – It is More than the 3rd Grade FCAT

Success by 3rd Grade is important for many reasons.

In a 2010 Annie. E Casey Foundation Report titled Early Warning! Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters on they wrote

“Up to half of the printed fourth-grade curriculum is incomprehensible to students who read below that grade level, according to the Children’s Reading Foundation. And three-quarters of the students who are poor readers in third grade will remain poor readers in high school, according to researchers at Yale University.”  This will become an even bigger challenge with the new and much tougher  Florida State Standards –know elsewhere as the Common Core Standards

They also wrote, “Our current approach to testing and standards masks the extent of our nation’s problem with reading proficiency.”  

Reading comprehension is clearly the issue.  In work done by Taylor Reading Plus, they found that 75% of the 3rd graders tested this school year were 2 to 2.5 years below grade level.  Reading comprehension is the issue, and as parents and professionals, we need to focus on improving our kid’s reading comprehension and love of reading.

We believe the Success by 3rd Grade Campaign includes several elements:

–   Getting the Federal Government and the states to agree that Success by 3rd Grade could and should be a top goal

–   Driving that down to the school level, so principals have goals to increase their 3rd Grade Success rate

–   Parents also focus on Success by 3rd Grade for your child

–   In Florida, shifting the focus from just the 3rd Grade FCAT, also known as the 3rd Grade Reading FCAT, to a program focused on both reading comprehension and the 3rd grade FCAT.

We welcome comments on our Success by 3rd Grade Campaign

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The Dyslexic Advantage and Difficulty Reading the Way They Were Taught

We have seen thousands of students with dyslexia — and many are bright right-brain learners.

Then we read the following about dyslexia


Upside of Dyslexia? Science Scant, but Intriguing

“As far as research on whether dyslexics have a tendency to be more talented in areas like spatial skills, the empirical evidence for that is pretty weak. It’s weak because enough good solid research hasn’t been done,” said Gilger. “We have anecdotal reports. Those hit the press a lot. We hear commentaries about people being seen in clinics and so forth, that they have special gifts. But we don’t have really good research.”

Is a dyslexics just another myth? Wishful thinking? A bromide? Is it a red herring distracting us from the important task at hand—learning to read? Are talents in dyslexia a “neural compensation effect,” a work-around to compensate for weaknesses in a developing brain? Or are “dyslexic brains different almost from the start? (See study, Raschle, Zuk & Gaab, 2012.) Are these abilities nothing more than an “I’ll-show-‘em” response to early failure? Does the premise actually hurt kids with dyslexia by setting unrealistic expectations?

At 3D Learner, we have been helping these bright dyslexic students for 17 years.  We have seen compelling evidence:

–   The dyslexic child who wanted to be a car mechanic, until he realized he could be an architect, with the right training that capitalized on his strengths

–   The brilliant artist who gained 4 years in reading comprehension, when we leveraged his ability to visualize what he read

–    The student caught in the middle who went from the 48th to the 95th percentile with a right-brain approach

We call these students 3D LearnersDyslexia is a term that described their former challenge.

Their dyslexia was related to the way they were being taught.  They learned from whole to part and did not do well when drilled in phonics.

When they were taught to their strengths they flourished.

The 3D Learner label often describes a bright right-brain learner who is more likely to have attention and/or visual tracking issues

The 3D Learner does have a sea of strengths and challenges and it high time we respect their talents, capitalize on their strengths, identify and address their challenges and help these bright young people to be all they can be.


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