There are several variables that influence academic achievement. Some are the parents’ level of education (college educated parents tend to be better equipped to help children with academic concepts), the amount of reading materials in the home (the existence of books, magazines and newspapers is often a sign that learning is important), gender (girls tend to do better on reading and writing, while boys perform better on more analytical subjects), presence of positive role models (positive adult role models can help pave the path to achievement by setting standards and expectations) and valuing education (students who see and believe that education is a means to achieve something higher tend to do better in school).

A close, positive friendship is another important influential factor. An article in the Wall Street Journal, “Wanted: A Best Friend,” brought to mind this fascinating concept — one that many educators (myself included) and parents alike often overlook: the relevance of close friendships and how they relate to a child’s success in school.

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