Learning Success Achievement Award Directions



Learning Success Achievement Awards are Different

They teach you how to be successful. Traditional awards give recognition to individuals who compete for a limited number of awards, such as championships or being in the top 2%. The Learning Success Achievement Award, however, is given to people who set and meet their own challenging goals. The process of earning the award is based on the fact that a major key to success is the ability to set personally challenging goals, decide how they can be reached, and then become sufficiently motivated to achieve them. A Stanford University study concluded that a high IQ by itself is not a good predictor of success in life unless accompanied by other key success characteristics, such as:

  1. Social and Mental Adjustment

  2. Clearly Defined Goals and Specific Plans for Reaching Them

  3. Perseverance

  4. Self-confidence

Learning Success Achievement Awards are designed to promote these important characteristics in your child. 


Who Can Earn an Award

Usually, a Learning Success Achievement Award will be earned by a child, but also parents, partners, teams, classrooms, and/or families can work for and earn Learning Success Achievement Awards. 


Two Ways to Earn an Award

The usual way for your child to earn a Learning Success Achievement Award is for him or her to set a challenging goal and then achieve it. The second way is for you, as a parent, teacher, or other leader, to issue an award to your child for some significant accomplishment you feel deserves special recognition.


How You Can Help Your Child Succeed

Learning Success Achievement Awards not only promote positive behavior patterns in children, but also the adults who interact with them. As you help your child, you will be encouraged to act in the powerful ways research shows will have a positive and lasting influence on your child's success habits. Talk to your child about participating in his or her success. Tell him or her the key to success is the habit of setting challenging personal goals, and then enjoying the fun and excitement of planning effectively to reach them, carrying out the plan, and benefiting from the results. Discuss various possibilities in your family for recognizing each other's efforts, and which ones members of your family prefer. Review Family Activities that Make Achieving Goals Fun.


Helping Your Child with the Application

Print out a copy of the award application and explain the steps outlined. Encourage your child to choose a goal he or she can get excited about. Each person in your family may earn as many awards as desired. The goals should be challenging, but some children might want to start with fairly easy goals until their confidence is sufficiently developed to tackle more difficult ones. Both you and your child should agree whether a chosen goal is appropriate.

The application is designed to encourage a positive relationship between you and your child while training him or her to be a successful goal achiever. Most children of elementary school age are in the stage of development described by Erik Erickson as Industry vs. Inferiority. The central task and motivation at this stage is to learn and master skills valued by one's culture. Failure at mastery leads to feelings of inferiority. At no other stage in life is basic skill mastery so important to a person's self-esteem, and a person so vulnerable to the development of fear of failure. Most children at this stage want to develop their skills, want to be successful in school, and will be motivated to achieve if given a fair chance.


Application Directions


If your child has already decided on a goal, simply write it down. The goal as written here need not be specific. It is really just a way to get started. Some children, though, may not have even a vague idea of a goal, but still want to earn an award. If this is the case with your child, help him or her explore possibilities until a special interest is shown in one of them. Report cards or school papers often indicate possible goals, but remember the goals need not be academic. They can be in relation to talents, hobbies, sports, friends, family responsibilities, recreation, personal appearance, or whatever is meaningful to your child. 

Examples of Goals Set by Children

Bowl a 200 game

To get an award for a hot rod scrapbook

Multiplication facts

I want to do more book reports

Addition facts


Division facts

Learn to play and enjoy skill ball and 4-square

Write ten reports on Revolutionary leaders and events

I want to color better

Do 15 Indian designs

Learn about hamsters

Control my temper for 5 days

Starting Situation:

Most children have only a general idea of how they are doing in school subjects and outside activities. They may have a general idea of whether they are doing very well, average, or poorly, but this is insufficient to establish either a clear objective or generate the extra motivation and energy to reach it. Our experience has been there is a major increase in motivation once a child has identified his or her starting situation. Your child then has a base upon which to determine clear objectives that are challenging and yet reachable.

Examples of Starting Situations

Now able to get 72 multiplication facts correct in 5 minutes.

I don't do anything now at recess. I just sit on the bench.

Just starting to learn soccer.

I have a lot of stuff on football.

Can read 136/200 vocabulary words correctly.

Objective (when-then)

A goal as first written may be vague and mainly an entrance to the process, but the objective must be so clearly stated that anyone would be able to determine if the objective has been reached. The ability to write clear objectives may take some practice, but it is well worth the time and effort. One of the results is more clear communication between you and your child. Going from starting situations to clear behavior targets will also extend to other parts of family life. As you help your child identify starting situations and then objectives, you become more aware of his or her specific needs. You also become more aware of the motivating force of matching learning opportunities with your child's challenge level.

Examples of Objectives

Complete a multiplication fact sheet containing 90 problems in 5 minutes with 100% accuracy.

Learn how to play and enjoy 4-square and skill ball. Each day for a week play games at recess instead of sitting on the bench.

Kick a soccer ball correctly. Dribble a soccer ball 50 yards. Learn the rules of soccer and play a soccer game with classmates.

Get all my stuff organized into a scrapbook.

Read 200/200 vocabulary words correctly.

Target Date:

Help your child set a target date for the accomplishment of his objective. Many children have undeveloped time concepts. The target date develops an understanding and ability to project the estimated time needed to reach objectives. This allows for effective pacing of efforts so objectives can be reached within the selected time schedule. Target dates may be adjusted and a new date negotiated, but there should always be a target date. The continued message is that target dates are important to encourage effectiveness, but that failure to accomplish all of one's goals by a set target date is not necessarily failure. Success can still be achieved.


My Plan:

Here is where the connection between effort and success is explored. Many people fail not because their plans failed, but rather that they either had no plan or failed to carry it out. While effort is important, so the effective use of effort. Bernard Weiner and others have pointed out that some children become more concerned with avoiding failure and protecting their fragile self-esteem than trying for success. Failure-avoiding students believe success for them is a matter of luck or the unexpected ease of some tasks. For some children in some classrooms, that is probably quite realistic.

A child in the fourth grade who has not yet mastered his basic addition and subtraction facts and is faced with a regular 4th grade math program can only experience success by luck or when the task is made easy. Failure is attributed to a combination of ability and effort. To children of elementary school age, ability and achievement means the same thing. Therefore, if a child tries hard, then lack of ability becomes the explanation for failure. Ability is highly valued in our culture. It determines to a large extent a person's feelings of self-worth. Because of this, some children dare not try their best for fear of having their ability tested and found lacking.

This part of the application is designed to help introduce another factor, that of strategies. When strategies become a part of a child's equation for success, any temporary failure can then be attributed to three factors: ability, effort, and effective learning strategies. This should do two things:

  1. Free your child to try hard because failure can now be attributed to ineffective strategies rather than only to ability and effort.

  2. Introduce your child to effective strategies that can dramatically increase his or her learning power and achievement.

Your child's school may not always provide the necessary conditions for each learner with the necessary prerequisites and appropriate learning conditions for each learning opportunity. Consequently, learning strategies become even more important for school success. Even under the best conditions a learner must organize his or her own efforts and strategies to fill any possible gaps left by the school program. Much of what we call cultural deprivation may be a lack in learning those strategies. Considerable research over the last two or three decades has concentrated on how some successful families teach their children how to learn, and provide extra advantages for their children's learning success. The plan stage of the application constantly introduces your child to some of these strategies in motivating circumstances that can demonstrate to him or her that strategies do indeed increase learning success.


Home/School Comments:

This section provides an opportunity for parents and teachers to positively reinforce a child's efforts and express faith in his abilities. Research indicates that the adults in a child's life can encourage motivation by recognizing successes while paying less attention to non-successes. Children low in motivation and high in fear of failure have experienced the opposite from their parents and teachers. The comment section is meant to encourage positive reinforcement of success efforts.

Examples of Parent Comments

A great idea! Our entire family rides Hondas so the scrapbook will be of interest to us all. I'm glad you are including the library in the gathering of information.

You can do it. We'll help.

Good idea!

You are trying very hard. We are proud of you!

Well thought-out plan

Examples of Teacher Comments

A very good goal!

This is a good plan.

You can make it!

Sounds interesting! Have fun!


Your child will either reach or not reach his or her goal by the target date. Remember, he or she must show in a tangible way the goal was reached. It could be through tests, demonstrations, samples, observations, etc. If the goal has not been reached by the target date, emphasize he or she has not reached it YET. A new target can be negotiated and perhaps a new or adjusted plan. Your child could also adjust his or her objective if too high and set a new objective that would be more reachable while still remaining a challenge.  The key is to get into the habit of setting goals that are challenging, yet reachable.

This section will help your child become a moderate risk-taker which distinguishes high achievement motivation in people. If the original goal is to get 90 multiplication facts correct out of 90 in five minutes, and your child sets a target date for two weeks away, he or she may find the goal was set too high. If he or she started with 30 right and then increased it to 45 during the two weeks, it might be well to readjust the goal to 60 and set a new target date. In the process, your child gains more self-understanding and learns that it is more fun to set goals that are challenging and yet give him or her a good chance of succeeding.


Receiving and Enjoying the Award:

When your child reaches his or her goal, use one of the following links to receive the award.

If you want the Learning Success version.

If you want a variety of awards from which to choose.