Who's Fault? Is it his fault that he lacks confidence with word problems? Not entirely. Our actions, as educators, seem to imply a belief that solving word problems should come more naturally than simpler operations like arithmetic and algebra. Many parents and teachers feel justified in encouraging (i.e. forcing) a child to work hundreds or thousands of math worksheets, drill multiplication tables, long division... but few encourage solving hundreds of story problems. One suspects that the relative ease of creating and checking ordinary math worksheets keeps the focus of math education on simple, atomic operations at the expense of more holistic story problems.
His arithmetic skills are awesome but when presented with a math story problem, he falls apart, helpless. No matter how many times I suggest that he read the problem carefully. note down the givens. assign names to intermediate and final values. form equations. activate his Kumon engine (brain), he just can't get past the read_the_problem_carefully step.